When we were not at the stadium, my father would watch the games on television while listening to live commentary on two radio stations, simultaneously. He would consume post-game shows both on tv and radio for the rest of the weekend. He subscribes to more football-related cable channels than any human can possibly watch.
This week I am stuck on the incredible importance of two stories that highlight the deep-seeded issues in my (much-smaller, infrastructure-lacking) sport which
manages to cultivate
in spite of itself
: distance running.
The decision to delay the World Championships so they could be held in Doha matters for reasons you can read
Arguably, neither fans
were considered in this decision, which was
unfair to both
Why does this happen? It's complicated. The short answer is infrastructure. Distance running is a (mostly) individual sport, a community movement that has grown into a business; its governing bodies
each race is its own business
. "Going pro" in running (or any area of T&F) is far less lucrative than going pro in any league sport; at the pro level each runner is its own business.
The sport is completely disconnected from the athletes as well as the fans. The pipeline is broken.
The second story, is the treatment of two athlete/influencers at the Berlin Marathon. Martinus and Latoya shared their experiences both on their I
and on their podcast, 300 Pounds and Running. If you haven't yet, you need to hear the latest, "
Do Better Berlin
." It's jaw-dropping. I don't want to race Berlin after hearing that. I'll save my money for Amsterdam.
I've always said that distance running is the most egalitarian sport in the world, the sport a person can
pick up later in life, and dominate
. It's not uncommon for fans to morph into my dad, watching marathons on tv and wanting to run #alltheraces. Each participant in a marathon is living their own story; races are in the business of selling
. And signing up for a race and leaving with no medal and no shirt because organizers decided not to order anything over XL (bigger sizes cost more) is not the experience these people signed up for.
You can ignore the player experience, you can ignore the fan experience, but you really can't afford to ignore both.
I have no idea where to start in making it right. I'm just gonna thank God I'm not elite and start focusing on ways to put my runners front and center. If you have any ideas, my ears, and inbox, are open.
You are Coached. You are Loved. And you ARE #winningatlife