In response to WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE HALF MAKES MAJOR AMERICAN PLEDGE post of March 15th outlining race director Steve Nearman’s decision to donate $1.00 from every entry to help support U.S. distance running training camps, yesterday another D.C. area race took up the challenge. As Steve wrote in the comments section of the post yesterday:
“BIG kudos to American Running Association Executive Director Dave Watt. Dave is also the race director of the Battle of the Potomac Cross Country Meet for high schoolers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.
Said Dave: “We will up our registration fees and tell all the high school athletes that they are supporting America’s distance runners who are seeking to compete with the World’s Best.” Dave estimates $500 from his 500-runner field.
Who’s next? Is this a no-brainer?”
This is exactly how political movements take form and gain momentum, from the most modest of beginnings. Instead of waiting for the Gordian knot of federation constituent entanglements to be undone, or expecting other trade organizations who are more focused on the health of their business members to re-engage in what was once their raison d’être, it has been left to the grassroots to help restock the American racing stable.
The sport has been attempting to address this issue for a generation, but has always run into the old NIMBY shiboleth, Not in My Backyard. Steve Nearman continues:
“So, which Event Directors out there will join the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in building the next generation of U.S. World Champions and Olympic medalists? All you small and mid-size races can make a major difference, too, if we all come together. The time is now – our athletes need you. Stop making our aspiring elite runners work on the feet 8-hour days at local running stores selling running shoes to 8-hour marathoners.”