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.