Monday, July 6, 2009
Is It "AID STATION" or "SUPPORT STATION"
I am writing this blog primarily to dig deeper on the subject of what Gen. Jovinal Narcise aka BALD RUNNER posted on with a title “Volunteering “ Is Service For Everybody. For the benefit of all, please find linkage to the said blogged item;
In dealing with the subject matter, I would request readers to have an “open heart and an open mind” with the primary intention on not putting blame on any side in particular, but, finding a CORRECTIVE ACTION that we could all learn from the incident and eventually correct matters for the betterment of the sport we all adhere to.
Each particular group, organization or individuals I am sure have only GOOD INTENTIONS and purpose in coming up with their own AID STATION to the Milo Marathon. However, the term AID STATION is not the appropriate word selection, should a station be called as such, then, services should be OPEN TO ALL PARTICIPANTS and not limited to certain groups or individuals.
Competitions as in road races, needs always to have a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD and that unbiased or placing others to a point of disadvantage is illegal, inappropriate and/or uncalled for. Assuming that the groups involved have obtained permission from the organizers of MILO MARATHON to set up such a station, the appropriate question for clarification is that “was it made clear to the organizers that such facilities will only cater to SELECTED GROUP?” Maybe this is where the initial problem occurred and that It was not made clear what the real purpose of the station was meant to service for. I do not think that the MILO MARATHON organising committee will allow or intentionally create a scenario of UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD. Their approval might be a presumption that such a station will be servicing all participants in the race which is the very essence and meaning of volunteer services. However, if the answer to the clarifying question is a YES, then blame and responsibility now is for the organisers to answer.
MILO MARATHON is a Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) sanctioned road race. PATAFA being a member of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is bound to comply on the IAAF Rules of Competition. For the benefit of all, I herewith provide the linkage to IAAF Rules Of Competition 2009 which I have below lifted appropriate prevailing regulations;
Section VIII Rule 240 item (8) (d)
“Refreshments, which may be provided by either the Organising Committee or the athlete, shall be placed at the stations nominated by the athlete. They shall be placed so that they are easily accessible to, or may be put by authorised persons into the hands of, the athletes. Refreshments provided by the athletes shall be kept under the supervision of the officials designated by the organising committee from the time that the refreshments are lodged by the athletes or their representatives.
Section VIII Rule 240 item (8) (e)
An athlete who collects refreshment from a place other than the refreshment stations renders himself liable to disqualification.
Having highlighted the above rules, you need not be a lawyer nor a legalist to be able to address the issue on matters wherein an athlete is to provide his exclusive supply/ assistance for himself.
Marathon Road Race is an individual race and is not a TEAM EFFORT. Accordingly, you have winners declared on individual basis. While it is nice if you belong to a running club, organization, a community, or what have you to have a collective effort to support your specific group, such is not an accepted practice or norm in Road Racing. There are rules to be followed basically to ensure that the playing field is even and that no undue discrimination or outside extra assistance is provided to certain groups and individuals. In a marathon all participants need to complete the same distance with the same support and/or refreshment afforded to all. This is the beauty of the sport, everybody is equal, no outside factor, mechanism, tools, equipments or the likes will be the determining factor if you complete or even win the race. You have only yourself either to blame or attribute your accomplishment.
On the subject of an AID Station, maybe the right word that should be used next time is a SUPPORT STATION then this should be in accordance to the rules practised universally. However, such a SUPPORT STATION need to comply with the internationally accepted rules and organisers are made aware of the exact purpose of such a station.
Bottom line, let us make the necessary corrective measures so that in the future incidents of the same nature will be avoided. Let us work together for the improvement of the sport we all love. The incident should not divide us but instead make us all stronger.