While I thought my recent commentary about Cross Fit would generate some conversation, it was actually the post about the Nike Women's Marathon controversy that got everyone talking. That topic elicited more reader comments than my posts about cheaters, race victories, or hookers and blow. Since the race and is still a topic of discussion, I thought I'd post the response from USA Track & Field.
Perhaps the quality about competitive running that people most love is its purity: the first person to the finish wins. Normally, the first to the finish has the fastest time. Simple enough - right?
On October 19 at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, that purity was muddled a bit when it was determined that the first person to the finish line wasn't actually the fastest person in the race: a woman who had started with the "pack", in an official gun start 20 minutes later, ran a time 11 minutes faster than the person who had won the "elite" race. Race officials didn't know it until the "chip times" - the times as recorded by electronic chips in each competitors' shoes - revealed it to be the case.
This raises an important philosophical question: In any given race, who should be considered the winner? Is it the first person across the line, or the fastest person in the race? How do you define victory?