Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Friendly Competition

Most of us enter races for the fun of it; for the personal sense of accomplishment; for the socialization aspects. Occasionally, the 'harder core' among us do so to actually race up in the front.

At SwimCoachDirect our hats go off to all of you regardless of your motives. We applaud participation vs. the art of spectating!

Now and then some interesting twists occur when events are held that cater to both groups. At the recent San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon an unusual but not unheard of conclusion occurred - the winner of the Women's Elite field - the one awarded the money and receiving the accolades didn't actually post the fastest time. Yikes! You read correctly - Arien O'Connell, an elementary teacher from New York City running in the general runners group and not the Elite group, posted the fastest time.

Nike overlooked this detail and awarded the the first place recognition and trophy to Nora Colligan. When O'Connell asked the race officials about it Nike told her that "we've declared our winner." With the subsequent media attention Reebok, Nike's competitor, jumped all over the opportunity. Reebok awarded O'Connell a trophy, a free pair of shoes every month for a year, T-shirts for all her students and a $2500 donation to her school. Nike, then back peddling as fast as its shoes would go, gave her a crystal Tiffany plaque.

Often in swimming and triathlons weekend warriors get to race with the pros. It is fun and stimulating, especially for the weekend warriors. At swim meets across the country there are many youngsters who get to compete in events that also include some of the fastest swimmers in the country or even the world. If occasionally some of the 'pros' get their comupance then so be it. It doesn't happen very often but when it does it should be noticed accordingly.

Congrats to O'Connell for lifting the spirits of us all!

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