Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Why no speed should ever be ‘too slow’ to run.

Netty Edwards told she cannot finish Spen 20 race

I'll start with this image. Because it is the absolute truth.

I’m not usually one for ranting (much) but I read an article made me angry on a whole other level.

A woman, Netty Edwards, doing the Spen 20 race (a 20 mile race based in West Yorkshire) was told whilst just over a mile into the race that she was going too slowly and if she kept at that pace, she would be unable to finish. She was ‘too slow’.

*Breaths*

What an absolute JOKE. This woman paid her entry fee. She turned up on the day, probably well aware that there would be runners completing the race faster than her (anyone who decides to run 20 miles for fun is probably pretty clued up about these things and knows their own pace compared to that of others) and she was there, ready to run. Because that’s what happens when you go to one of these organised events. You go, you run, you cross the finish line, you go home again. Simple.

But no. The event organiser, Frank Reddington, said in a statement that he spoke to Ms Edwards at just past the 1 mile point and informed her that if it took her over 2 hours to reach the halfway point, she would be asked to withdraw from the race. After expressing her dissatisfaction at this, Ms Edwards turned back then, as she knew she would not complete it in this time.

Mr Reddington also stated that the race is for those with a ‘reasonable level of fitness’. Anyone who can run 20 miles, at whatever pace, has a more than reasonable level of fitness. He also stated that there is no time limit specified.

So what, I hear you ask, was his reason for informing her that she couldn’t complete the race? It wasn’t fair on the marshals to make them wait for one person.

I understand that marshals on races tend to be volunteers (in this case they were) and that for them, it might be a bit of an inconvenience to wait around for a single runner. But that is what they signed up for. Ms Edwards paid her entry fee. She had every right to finish that race. The point of these races is getting supported all the way to the finish, it’s about encouragement and celebrating achievements.

Personally, I think the attitude of the organiser is disgusting. If this happened to a child at sports day, there would be absolute hell on, so why is it seemingly OK to tell an adult that they’re not good enough?

Unlike Ms Edwards, who clearly can run, I’m not very good at it. I know that. When I did my first 5km Park Run, I was absolutely bricking it. I came third from last and I got lapped by kids, dogs and people pushing pushchairs. Was I told to stop? Of course I wasn’t. When I finished, a good 15mins after a lot of children/dogs/people and their pushchairs, I was cheered on. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE.

Nobody should ever be told they’re ‘too slow’ as there is no ‘too slow’ when it comes to running for fun. Nobody should EVER be made to feel like they’re not good enough when they’ve turned up to take part.

I still remember to this day being taken aside after completing a cross country run at school and being told by a PE teacher that I was too slow and would die if I didn’t get fitter. Did that make me want to do it again? No. I went home and cried to my Mum.

I felt like shit.

I really really hope that Spenborough and District Athletics Club seriously rethink their actions and apologise to Ms Edwards for the way she was treated as nobody deserves that.  


If you would like to read the full statement of Frank Reddington who was the race organiser, please click here and for a screenshot of what Ms Edwards wrote on her personal Facebook please click here

I'll end this post with this video. It's the #ThisGirlCan campaign.



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