Wednesday, September 7

Sexist new rules

This morning I learned that the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), the record-tracking agency for all things running, just ruled that only:
"World Records for women to be recognised in women only races. The IAAF shall keep a separate list of “World Best Performances” achieved in mixed Road Races.”
Their logic: women run faster in co-ed races, so those should not count toward record setting. (So by this logic all marathons should be run on closed courses with no hydration support or cheering crowds, right?)

According to Running Times, the only issue remaining to be decided is
whether the rule will be applied retroactively. USATF’s Glenn Latimer seems to think so, and that Joan Benoit’s 2:24:52 at the 1984 Olympics will become the American record. In this case, note also that Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 would no longer be the world record, as she had male pacemakers during that race (as did Deena Kastor when she ran 2:19:36). The Road Race Commission member also thinks existing records set in mixed races will be thrown out.
I have never heard anything so sexist or ridiculous in the running world.

Tracy, over at Go, Tracy, Go! wrote a much more eloquent analysis than I can right now. (I'm almost too mad to type.) So for more details, please see: Tracy's post.

Am I overreacting, or is this ruling unfair?

Image courtesy of digitalart /


  1. I don't even know what to say. It's sickening.

  2. This topic has generated quite the controversy on my FB wall... I've seen a few good points on the "no using pacers" side of the argument, but no one has yet convinced me that there's a legitimate reason for a gender-specific double standard.

  3. Not overreacting. Unfair. Thanks for calling it, and here's hoping others do the same.

  4. That is total bullshit! I just don't see any logic in that? It's so insulting. Running with the boys makes the time illegit?

  5. I wouldn't call this sexist, just silly. Sexist is when they don't allow men to win awards in women's only races, or the fact that they hold women's only races, in the first place.

    I tracked this down a little more too. Your explanation of the logic is somewhat speculation and distorted.

    Keep running with men.

  6. Which part of the logic is distorted? The IAAF changed the rules because male pacemakers make women run faster. That was their logic. (Important point of note: male pacers make males run faster, too. Female pacers can still be used, and a woman could have 2 pacers -- each running shorter than marathon distance -- to achieve the same "unfair advantage.") The IAAF is not outlawing rabbits, just one particular, gender-based combination.

    My quip about not allowing cheering was hyperbole to suggest how silly it is to outlaw pacers of one gender for another but not ban pacers altogether. That's the sexist part.

    Unless you can prove to me that the IAAF has outlawed pacers for men, too, my opinion remains unchanged.

    (See April 20 entry:


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