Monday, April 14, 2008

The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs

On April 1st, I was notified that my name was not selected in the Nike Women's Marathon Lottery. This is the second year in a row that I have been denied entry into the race. Ironically, within the same notice, I was informed that I could still enter the race through the Team In Training Program.
For 2007 & 2008, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race has also returned my race entry check.
I don't race. I am a participant. However, that doesn't make these rejections easy to tolerate. With WS 100, I know I will get to run in 2009. It is their "third time you are in" policy. As long as I qualify, I get to run in 2009. Yippie! It gives an average Jane like me access to the extraordinary. I am less forgiving of the Nike Women's Marathon. They are holding the event hostage to a corporate fundraising machine. Now, before I get tons of hate email, think about this.
When did charitable giving become a mandate? That is what it is if its the only way to gain entry. I have nothing against helping others. I most often give anonymously. It is a great joy to help others. Yet, I completely reject the idea that participation in an event be limited or severely restricted to those who fundraise for the sponsored cause.
That brings me to Badwater. When I applied, I wanted to honor the race by also fundraising for its charity, Challenged Athletes Foundation. Badwater Ultramarathon doesn't require fundraising of its runners. It does offer encouragement and support. This month I have been fortunate to have some very frank conversations with potential sponsors. It brings to mind Aesop's fable of The Goose Who Laid The Golden Eggs. What I have learned is this. The unending solicitations that businesses are subjected to aren't sustainable. How can we help the organizations doing the work we believe in? I donate my time and my own money. I share with others my interest in a particular cause. But I won't ask others to give money in my name so that I can enter a race.

6 comments:

olga said...

I am with you, sista, wish I could collaborate more, but super-busy these days. may be I'll come back to it - I am afraid you'll have a new post to think about:)

Meredith said...

Hey Jackie. I do not want to be the one to break the news to you, but WS will not have the 2 time loser clause last year, even though they said they would. It was all laid out in the last issue of UR magazine. There will be a special lottery for 2 time losers giving you a 50% chance. Crazy, huh? Don't even get me started on the NYC marathon and how much money they make on all the people who DO NOT get selected to run. it is astounding.

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hmm...something to think about.

Jacqueline Florine said...

I have the nicest sponsors. When they get bummed, I get bummed.
WS 100 is a great race, but if the rules & lottory leave me out there are lots & lots of wonderful things to do, right?

Bob Gentile said...

Very Interesting...hope u get in WS in 09'

Danni said...

I found your blog through Olga's blog, hope you don't mind my invasion. . .

I am having trouble choosing my words here. . . but I don't think charity and running are interplaying appropriately these days. I would say more but it will make me sound bitter, angry and uncharitable. I am very charitable but not a fan of TNT. I've already said too much. . . but good blog and good post.