No matter how much good you can do in a community. No matter how much money you raise for those in "need", there are always people who want to take a big shit all over it when they can't get their way. It's happening right now in Fort Myers, where a mom is having a hissy fit about where she gets to start in a road race with her disabled daughter that she pushes along in the stroller.
Charyse Smith is a very fast runner. She has a 7-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy. Recently she's started pushing her little girl Kayla at area road races. Charyse asked a few months back if she could push Kayla at the biggest half marathon in Fort Myers which goes off in a week. She was told yes, but it sounds like there was mis-communication. Charyse wants to start up front. The race organizers told her she has to start in the back, as a safety precaution.
I've run a ton of races. As most runners know, the wheelchair athletes usually get a head start, to avoid any dangerous situations. That usually includes anyone pushing a competitive stroller. I've caught up to wheelchairs and people pushing strollers that are normally start with the wheelchairs. It can get pretty damn tricky. I've seen wipe outs. I've nearly been hit. It's a huge liability issue.
One runner decided to go to the web and post some half truths about the situation on one of the local running clubs Facebook page. The post started a slew of moronic responses from idiots who never take the time to think there are two sides to every story. I love hobby joggers who don't have a clue about what it takes to put on a first class road race like Hooters to Hooters.
Regardless, the damage is done. The Fort Myers Track Club has had its reputation damaged and I think it's largely because of folks like John Biffar and Rachel Lee in particular, don't like the stranglehold FMTC has on the top local running events. You see Lee owns a running store and along with Biffar, they have worked with The Speedsters and a group called 3D Running to make inroads into the Fort Myers racing scene.
It's great to have a variety of road races to choose from over the course of a racing season but I've been racing for 40 plus years and the trouble is their races simply aren't at the level of the FMTC events. They may get there and I say good for them. But it's painfully obvious for anyone with a tiny bit knowledge, to know that this isn't so much about get Charyse Smith a fair shake, it's about throwing as much shit on FMTC as possible.
Charyse could have taken the high road and stopped it. I would ask her, if it's so freaking safe for her to start at the front of the Hooter's race next weekend, why she didn't do it last week at the Edison 5K? Charyse knows damn well why she didn't run in front of the tremendous crowds that line the Edison course, it wasn't safe. What makes her think Hooter's would be any safer? Yep, not as many runners, but you've got a course with a curb jump about a mile and a half in and then there's the up and down on the bridge.
If she runs her normal pace of between 7 minute to 7:30 pace for the race she'll be surrounded by dozens of runners having to dodge her and her stroller. Trust me, coming down that bridge it will be a nightmare. I know because I've nearly been clipped by one before.
Look at me, look at me, I'm getting screwed. Who cares that Hooters to Hooters raises money to help save ICU children, like the one you want to push through the streets of Fort Myers? Life's not fair, and the damage you've done can't be undone. You've set a fine example for your daughter.