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Monday, December 15, 2014

Bell Ringer 50K Rant

 UPDATE: So, the results have been posted online and it looks like all has been rectified. I'm not sure how it happened. But, I'm just really freaking glad it got fixed. I think it's pretty ridiculous that this whole ordeal went down the way that it did, but at the end of the day, they got it right (finally) and that's all that matters. I MIGHT take this post down... but, for now, I'm going to leave it up. 

I ran the Bell Ringer 25K this weekend, and I will post a full race report of MY race experience another day this week. Spoiler Alert: It was AWESOME until it wasn't.

After I had recovered from the race, I put on about 15 layers of clothing and headed outside to watch the 50Kers finish.

After 2-3 men finished, a woman came blazing up the steps. We were all cheering for her and watched her run up the hill (the finish to this race was just ridiculous) to the finish line. I was happy for her, but admittedly, a little disappointed that my friend, Meredith, hadn't been the overall female winner.

I didn't have much time to think about it though, because pretty soon I saw a familiar red shirt and blue cap start weaving its way through the woods and I started screaming my head off... It's the KoB, it's the KoB! So I ran over and started yelling at him. And then, right behind him was another guy. So, we started yelling at The KoB to run faster, there was someone behind him!!! He ran by our little cheering section and I started jogging/waddling behind him all the way to the finish. He even pussyfooted around on his way to the finish line. When he finished and turned around and saw a guy immediately behind him... he was... like... "Oh, I thought you guys were kidding."

And then he looked at me puzzled and said... "I've been watching my back for the last few miles... no one was behind me... where did he come from?"

We stood around the finish line for a little bit and then our friend and Sonofabitch, Jeff, finished. And he was pretty fucking pissed. He said that the guy that finished right behind the KoB had been let out of a Park Ranger's truck about a mile back.

I immediately was like... ohh... well, he must have just DNFed or something. Although, it did seem weird that he was running pretty hard on his way to the finish. And, if you had DNFed, why would you even run through the finish line?

After another minute, The KoB asked... where's Meredith? And I told him that she hadn't finished yet. And he was like... "ohhhh shit. She took a wrong turn." She had been in front of him the whole race and he had never passed her. So, he knew she had gotten off course.

Sure enough... a couple minutes later, she came up the hill and finished and she had gone the wrong way at an intersection. She ran on that wrong trail until the trail dead-ended and she realized her error and ran back to the intersection and got back on course.

Damn, it sucks, but ya know... it happens all the time and not just in trail races. How many times have you heard of the head of the pack runners either getting off course on their own or even being led off course by a the pace bikes that ride with the leaders? It sadly happens all the time.

When the awards were handed out, we found out a shocking discovery...

The Female Overall Winner had also taken that wrong turn. (Not the shocking part).
And a Park Official picked her up in a truck and dropped her off further down the trail ("where she would have been if she hadn't gotten lost" they said). She then hopped out and finished the race. And won.

I'm just going to let that soak in for a minute.

The Obvious:
If you ride in a vehicle during ANY part of a race. Ummmm... that should be an automatic DQ. You shouldn't even be allowed to have a finish time, let alone be the overall winner.

The Esoteric:
What trail runner actually ACCEPTS a ride in a vehicle and then just finishes the race and accepts her finish time and her award? WHO FUCKING DOES THAT? You know, I once got into a van during a race. And that race was a DNF for me. Anyway she was PISSED. She was pissed that she had gotten off course. Well, you know who else got off course and didn't get a ride? Ummm... the REAL Women's winner. The person who actually ran the entire way.

Honestly, I kind of understand the Park Ranger's error here. I mean, if you're not a runner... you might think that if they get lost, yeah, it's okay to give them a lift. It was the first year for this race and to my knowledge, none of the Race Directors or organizers are runners. They all work for the State Parks Dept. (which was pretty obvious during a lot of the race, but, more on that during my race report). So, I could see him offering her a ride. (And apparently others, too, since other people like the guy who finished after The KoB, did the same thing). But she took it. And she's not a first time trail runner. She has ran many trail races before. WTF?

I HAVE to believe, that she was just pissed and delirious and underfueled after the race to have agreed to accept not only a finish time, but the overall winner award. And I have to believe that she got home afterwards and was like... holy shit, what am I doing? I didn't win the race.

The Fallout:
The prizes for 1st and 2nd overall? A four night all-inclusive stay in CANfuckingCUN. I mean, if, the prize had just been like a pair of socks or something.... then, okay. BUT SERIOUSLY? CANCUN???? So, the person who was awarded 3rd place, truthfully, should be packing up a bikini and some flip flops. But, instead, she's stuck with a pair of socks and a plate.

The Insult to Injury:
The woman who was wrongly awarded and wrongly accepted the 1st female award, was also told by the Race Director, that they were so sorry about her getting lost, that they would comp her entry to next years race.

SERIOUSLY?????? I swear to god, it was like bizarro world at that awards ceremony. She was boo-hooing about getting lost and telling everyone about it, like she didn't understand that she was missing the entire point here. She was not the victim. She's going to Cancun, she didn't have to run any extra because she got lost, she got to hop in a truck and take a ride up the trail.

Even a couple of days later, I just cannot wrap my brain around this. 

If anyone reading this has any updates or clarifications about this story, PLEASE SHARE. I am really hoping that I just dreamed this whole thing or got some part of the story (like, the part where she hopped in a truck during the race) wrong. And I will gladly update this post with any information I get!!!


Vandy-Montana said...

That's crap.

Coach B said...

They're showing Meredith as the women's winner in the results now....

Amy said...

Yup, thank goodness. I mean that shit was ridiculous on Saturday.

Gracie said...

Um, I am speechless. None of this makes any sense whatsoever. Especially the runner ACCEPTING the rides and still finishing! I hope this gets cleared up. No way is that right.

Pandora Viltis said...

Man, I'm glad it was sorted out because I really hate cheaters.

Chris Purvis said...

I ran Bell Ringer 50K that year. I remember seeing how visibly upset the overall female "winner" was -- at getting lost? In an inaugural trail race?

If you or anyone reading this is familiar with Jim Walmsley's epic day at Western States this summer -- where for the majority of the race he was well under course-record pace, then got lost around Mile 93 -- this is what he said: "It was so hard not getting into the truck. But . . . I knew I could finish . . . I'm out there for the same experience as everyone else - to suffer and embrace the challenge."

Well said. All in all, I really enjoyed Bell Ringer and hope to make it back.