BAA OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT TOWARD 2014

BostonStrong     Below is a copy of a press release issued today by the Boston Athletic Association regarding the status of the 5000 runners who were unable to finish this year’s Boston Marathon after two bombs were set off near the Boylston Street finish line at 4:49:44 and 4:49:54 on the first-wave race clock. 

     It will be a difficult year ahead for the B.A.A. and the city of Boston as they walk the fine line between security, safety, and the open road of welcome that has always been the hallmark of the world’s oldest marathon.  This decision is an excellent first step. Continue reading

WEATHER CONTINUES TO DOMINATE BOSTON DISCUSSION

     The prospect of high heat and motivated marathoners has prompted the Boston Athletic Association to offer their 26,700 starters a chance to defer running till next year’s marathon.

“Knowing that people who are here will run, we just wanted to reinforce that it will be very warm,” said BAA media man Jack Fleming. “This will allow them to defer till next year when they pick up their race number.”

Accordingly, the BAA issued the following statement to its entrants.

Due to the unusually warm weather forecast for the Boston area on Monday, the B.A.A. will defer the entry of those official entrants to the 2013 Boston Marathon for participants who decide not to race.

This applies to official entrants only who either have claimed or will claim their bib number packet at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo through Sunday evening at the Seaport World Trade Center in South Boston. Runners must claim their bib number for deferment to be an option.

In order to receive a deferment for 2013, race participants may not start the race. No refund for the 2012 entry will be given.  All entry fees for 2013 must be paid.

In addition, the B.A.A. will keep the finish systems open an additional hour on race day until approximately 6:00 p.m. Continue reading

SAME AS IT EVER WAS

     As we approach this weekend’s USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, once again we find the advance stories focusing as much on the politics of the sport as on the competition itself.  The wedge issue currently roiling the sport – as it has since the USATF annual convention in St. Louis last December – is over the number of sponsorship logos athletes can display on their competition singlets, the size of those logos, and at which competitions those regulations will be fully enforced by USATF, the sport’s governing body.

According to stated USATF rules, which follow international IAAF regulations, an athlete can only display two commercial logos or one club logo and one commercial logo.  But as reported today on LetsRun.com, in a nod to athlete demands, USATF has agreed to allow athletes with a club logo to have two commercial logos on display, as well. For their part, athletes want the right to display one club and three commercial logos.

Regardless, while USATF and the athletes go back and forth over number, size, and where the uniform rules will be enforced, the USATF Board’s legal counsel Larry James wrote a memo to the Board stating his concern that any deviation from the stated rules might be seen by Nike – sponsor for the USATF Indoor and Outdoor National Championships  – as reducing the value of its own contract with USATF, and thereby, under the terms of that contract, would allow Nike to pay a lesser amount to USATF for its own visibility.  And since more athlete logos appearing on athletes’ singlets might thus be interpreted as a reduction in value by Nike, USATF is forced to implement its uniform restrictions, irrespective of the gentleman’s agreement they came to in St. Louis with athlete legal counsel David Greifinger to hold off on the implementation at domestic events.

You can read the whole account on LetsRun.com, but the bottom line according to David Greifinger (the former legal counsel to USATF, by the way) is, as currently worded Nike can argue anything reduces the value of its contract. “Taken to its logical extreme, Nike would have veto power over the composition of USATF’s Board and committees, USATF’s Bylaws, Regulations, and Competition Rules, and all matters pertaining to competitions and athletes’ rights.”

That a kerfuffle like this is still taking place 34 years after the institution of USATF as governing body for track & field, road racing, youth running, masters running, trail running, race walking is evidence enough of the limitations of the institution.  However, history, too, may be instructive for the current situation. Continue reading

CROWDING THE NUMBERS

     Thus have Prince William & Catherine been joined in Holy Matrimony in London’s Westminster Abbey with the eyes of England and the world upon them.  And as with each of these generational royal weddings – 1947 Elizabeth and Philip, 1981 Charles and Diana – the good and worthy media has informed us that the throngs lining the processional route from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace swelled to, verily, one million strong to witness the drenched opulence of it all.

Indeed, such bold estimates echo those made during our very own major marathons as they stretch and wind through the 26.2 miles of our lordly cities.  But how faithful are such estimates, truly?  Let’s do the math.  Continue reading