While I am always grateful to those who take it upon themselves to organize a race, there were some significant issues at ACXC21 that need to be discussed and that clearly contravened AC’s own equity policies:
i) There was a camera on the lead man in the master’s race. It was there for the entire race. There was NO coverage of the women’s race (which occurred at the same time). Actively choosing to fail to cover women in a national championship race contravenes AC’s equity policy. I do not accept this as an oversight. This is something that should have been addressed in the planning stages. Failing to plan for this sort of thing shows the ways in which women aren’t considered in the planning of national championships.
ii) The social media coverage of the master’s race stated repeatedly that the women’s even was 6km and the men’s 8km, when it’s actually 8km for both men and women - and 6km for those over 70. The defecto belief that women “must” be the ones running the shorter distance betrays the a) lack of adequate preparation for the AC staff on social media re: the women’s race, and b) the sexism that has been instilled in the running community for a very long time (re: women being fragile flowers who can’t handle the same distance as men, so they must be the ones running the shorter distance - not septuagenarians) .
iii) Starting the Senior Men’s race in a time a way that resulted in about 100 men racing through and past the Senior Women who were finishing their race also reflects an embarrassing lack of consideration of women athletes.
When I complained about these things on Twitter, I was told by the CEO that I was “entitled to [my] opinion.” This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact: The event showed a lack of consideration for women athletes and treated them like some sort of side show to the main (read: male) events. National Sport Organizations (like AC) are publicly funded entities that are required to gender equity policies. These policies are meant to be followed. This past weekend was profoundly disappointing. I know that the winner of the Master’s women’s race had to explain to her very upset daughter back home why her win garnered no coverage on the livestream her daughter was watching. Her daughter said, “It’s not fair!” If a 9-year-old knows that, then surely AC and the people who are entrusted with organizing a national championship should know that, too.