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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why I am getting rather fed up with multisports races

Photo: Tara Ashworth
 Have a look at the two photos to the right.

Spot the difference

That's right: No winner's tape in the first photo!

Here's my earlier article about the Upper Murray race:

The first photo is of my brother, Gordon, winning the 2012 Upper Murray Multisports race outright, in the worst conditions ever and doing so in record time.  Breaking the vet teams record, the open teams record and the run section record.

The second photo is of super athlete, Jarad Kohlar, finishing in second place to win the individual mens.

Now Jarad ran an incredible race and I don't want to detract from his win, but the difference of the reception given to Jarad as compared to Gordon insulted me.

(This article is my opinion - not that of my two brothers).
Photo: Tara Ashworth

As Gordon came into view there was a bustle of excitement as someone cried out, "Here comes the first runner!"  The reporters grabbed their equipment and the time-keepers readied the tape.

Then the Race Director said, "No its not the winner, its only a team runner".  The reporters put their cameras away.

I yelled out, "No, its not just a runner, its my brother, Gordon, and he's in the lead".

One photographer, Tara Ashworth, (bless her) said something like, "I don't care who it is, I'm getting this" and positioned herself.

So, Gordon came in with just a few claps and congratulations, mostly from his team mates.  We hung around and waited for Jarad to come through and congratulated him shortly after.

Jarad got the works, cameras flashing and videos whirring, as well as the sponsors tape.  While he did the usual glad-handing and media interviews, we decided it was time to leave and go have a shower.

That was that.  Bit of an anti-climax if you ask me.

Here's the key points about our performance:

  • We broke three records in the worst conditions in the ten year history of the competition.
  • We beat the two pro athletes who have almost completely dominated the competition from its inception.  As far as I can tell, a team has never beaten the individual Pros - until now.
  • We are three brothers, all over 50, who work full time and do this sport as a past time.

Read the news article and you will see a brief mention about us towards the end:

Have a look at the photos towards the end.  You will see one of Gordon as he crossed the line and then several of Jarad.  You can see where all the accolades were directed, can's you?

They got the story wrong.  The headline should have been this:

"Grandad Brothers beat the Pros and smash course records in appalling conditions"

I am not a publicity hound.  What I do expect is fair recognition of a creditable effort, especially after coming all the way from New Zealand to do their race.  

I did feel insulted at the end of the race by the way our performance was dismissed and I felt for Gordon as he flew across the line after hammering out a record run time in cold, muddy and slippery conditions.  He got nothing other than a few claps and possibly a hand shake, but I did not see one.  There was no schmoozing up to him, or any of us.  Not that we wanted any - just due credit for a good performance.

Just to be fair, the Race Director went some way to make up for things at the prize-giving, but the damage had already been done as far as I was concerned.

I wrote this article a few months ago:

It started with this quotation:

"...if you’re going to split the men and women into two separate pools for each grade, and then congratulate the winners, shouldn't you also be congratulating the winning women?"

Things do not change do they?

I think I'll do a different race next year.

Here's my earlier article about the Upper Murray race:

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