Sorry for the delay today. Slight meltdown in WordPress land this morning and I lost everything I’d written.
IRF/AJW: With Jim’s 50 mile record complete, AJW turns his attention to a few 100 mile North. American records that have stood the test of time. A few points: Jim O’Brien’s AC record is not comparable to today’s marks on such a different course. That’s one that’ll live forever. And in terms of women’s ultramarathon and trail records, I predict we’ll see a full turnover in the next few years…women’s involvement and advances in the sport are progressing at a much higher rate than men’s and many of the current records will fall. (Though I don’t see Tomoe Abe’s 6:33 100k road record going anywhere…ever.) Also, I’m hoping that the issue I write about slow holds no bearing on these records.
Now for a fun game outside of the 100 mile confines, which other ultramarathon records will remain in ten years? I’ll go first: I can’t imagine anyone breaking Yiannis’ 24 hr (188 miles) or his 6 day (638 miles) ever.
Beer Mile: Go ahead, someone. I dare you. Beef-flavored, non-alcoholic dog beer. Imagine that coming back up.
Outside/Stephanie Case: Stephanie makes the Case (sorry, had to) for the Western State’s policy for transgendered athletes. Three things first. Yes, I recognize that this is an entirely different subject than the Caster Semenya case and we need to do our best not to conflate them. (Here’s an excellent, thorough, and fair take by Steve Magness on her case in particular. and male/female issues in general.) While they’re similar (especially when the IOC’s policy is mixed in there), they’re still very different issues. Also, I couldn’t care less what adults do with their bodies. You want to identify as a different gender or be a Mahu in Hawaiian culture, knock yourself out. I’ve got your back and I’ll help you pick out your mumu. And finally, the trail community is probably the most inclusive and accepting sports communities I’ve ever encountered. Tall, short, fast, slow, run the trails, don’t be a dick, and we’re cool. I think it’s because of this desire to allow everyone in that situations like this are so tough…we want everyone to have a place and to be treated fairly.
I do however draw a line at sports and think in an attempt to be all inclusive, Stephanie’s piece was lacking in inclusion. For every study cited that shows there’s no retained biological advantage (recognizing, of course, that we’re talking about a minuscule sample size) after treatment, I can show an equally convincing study that shows organ size and imprints can’t be discounted. For every person looking to earn woke points for inclusion for inclusion’s sake, I’d direct readers to two women who know a thing or two about competition and being the best…Martina Navritalova and Paula Radcliffe, and urge them to consider their perspectives. And for every person who says publicly that they think genetic males should compete with women, I’ll show you a person who’s afraid of the inclusion police launching a shame campaign. In short, I believe more people are afraid of any “transphobic” backlash than there are people willing to stick up for women’s sports, and I see that as a sad commentary on our society.
While I disagree with the Board’s decision, I do commend them for getting in front of the issue and creating a reasoned, respectful, and preemptive policy. In issues of “fairness” like this, it’s impossible for both sides to be content, but this is a discussion that needs to be had in a complete and respectful way and outside of a few extremists on the outskirts of each end, it has been. This is a complicated issue with emotions, nuance, medical ethics, legal implications, and a lot more depth than I’m admittedly capable of diving into. Like with most people, it simply doesn’t pass the common sense test, and while I fully support our trans neighbors right to run and race, lines have to be drawn somewhere. I believe the current hyper-inclusion atmosphere has the potential to be looked back at as an era that was inherently unfair to cis women and will be replete with asterisks. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.
LiveTracking: Ten Days at the Fair started yesterday in NJ and there’s a live tracker following it all. Ten days. Ouch.
I’m interviewing Zach Ornelas this afternoon and he’s got some “big trail news” to share with us. I don’t know what it is, but stay tuned!