Women only races / Events

We have been discussing on a facebook running wall Kathrine Switzer and the prejudice that she endured at the 1967 Boston Marathon, and how far the world has moved on since. The discussion then moved onto how many women only events there are such as the race for life. Now my questions are why and is this reverse sexism? 

I don't think its due to skill levels, the majority of women I run with are far better runners than I am  or will ever be. Can't see being due embarrassment, as the Parkruns are well attended, and events are not carried out under cover. I only ask as I would love to run the Race For Life for  personal reasons, but as a man it seems I am not allowed, if it was the other way round it would be news in the Daily Mail  Will be interesting to see your thoughts.

Comments

  • I always thought it was pointless, why set up a charity that only 50% of the running population can attend.

  • Stixnick if you want to run a men only race you can http://www.mens10k.com, don't recall the Daily Mail getting in a lather about it, that paper seems more concerned slagging women for being too fat/thin/old/young/wearing make-up during a marathon etc etc

  • I work in an office where there are 2 women who will only ever do the race of for life, there are a number of these races in my region. I have tried to persuade them to try a parkrun. They say they feel more comfortable doing these ladies only races as they are feel intimidated in open races. Sadly even in these enlightened days there are still some men how cannot take been beaten by a women, just stand at a finish line and see how many men put in an extra effort to catch a woman in front of them.

  • Wow, had this debate more times than I care to count.

    Some people agree some don't. There IS  no concensus, you will find this out whether this thread gets 10 replies or 1000.

  • @Vellooo I knew I would be proved wrong image, however I would never entre a gender spesific race, The thing I love about our sport, is apart from the ellite races, we can all compeatt together regardless of gendre, relegion or race.  Do agree about the Daily Mail's pathetic attempt of bad mouthing celebs doing marathons.

    @Roball, its a shame your collegues feel that way, as the parkrun is great run out for all levels. I must admit to trying to catch the person in front close to the finish male or female, but thats racing.

  • I won't do women-only races.  I don't like anything that excludes half the population - whichever half!

    As for competitiveness - I put in extra effort to get past runners in front of me at the finish, whatever their gender.  I think many runners of both genders do.  I don't care if some bloke runs past me in the last ten meters - it's a RACE.

  • That Screampillar is what a good debate is all about. image

     

  • It's only a good debate when it hasn't already been done three or four times a year every year.

    Carry on though....image

  • roball wrote (see)

    Sadly even in these enlightened days there are still some men how cannot take been beaten by a women, just stand at a finish line and see how many men put in an extra effort to catch a woman in front of them.

     

    In fairness, it is bloody annoying being "chicked" in any event, so the extra effort is totally worth it! image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I would put in extra effort to 'chick' a bloke if I thought it was likely to piss him off. Do you always wear that neon yellow top, Pudge? I'll look out for you. image

  • literatin wrote (see)

    I would put in extra effort to 'chick' a bloke if I thought it was likely to piss him off. Do you always wear that neon yellow top, Pudge? I'll look out for you. image

    Oh crap!  It's one of many neon yellow tops that I own (I have an odd preference for dressing like ravey davey when I'm running).  However, maybe I'll start racing in less conspicuous clothing, because you probably would 'chick' me without too much effort required!

  • Kathrine Switzer made a career out of organising women-only races, including the very successful Avon Marathons (which was the first marathon to be run in London, the year before Chris Brasher and John Disley got their act together).  

  • Didn't the Windsor to Chiswick Marathon count then as a 'London Marathon'?

  • London and Greater London and Maidenhead marathon maybe

  • It's such a shame when there are so many good events including parkruns that people miss out on. I would have thought training alone would be more intimidating, than racing with a crowd. Sorry Screampillar, but I am new to this forum malarky, but feel free to ignore if you wish.

  • xine267 wrote (see)

    Kathrine Switzer made a career out of organising women-only races, including the very successful Avon Marathons (which was the first marathon to be run in London, the year before Chris Brasher and John Disley got their act together).  

     

    It seems a shame to me that a woman who went to great lengths to get round a discriminatory ban on competing would then put so much effort into organsing races which discriminate against people because of their gender.

  • As a bit of a barometer I had to cancel the Liverpool Women's 10K this year due to declining interest in the event in recent years. Conversely the female entries in the Liverpool Half Marathon and Tunnel 10K events have increased over the same period.

    Would seem women only races (other than fund raising fun runs) have had their day.

    That said the doesn't the Glasgow Women's event still attract big numbers??

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭
    roball wrote (see)

     Sadly even in these enlightened days there are still some men how cannot take been beaten by a women, just stand at a finish line and see how many men put in an extra effort to catch a woman in front of them.

    How do you know their effort is any higher than if it was a man they were trying not to lose to?

    I personally don't discriminate, I hate to lose to everyone equally image

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    I think women only races like women only poker tournaments are wrong. In the same way I thiink men only tournaments would be wrong.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    roball wrote (see)

    Sadly even in these enlightened days there are still some men how cannot take been beaten by a women, just stand at a finish line and see how many men put in an extra effort to catch a woman in front of them.

    As SG says, how can you know that this is gender-specific? Depending on the importance of the race I'll bust a gut trying to beat anyone.  I can understand some people being put off the competitive element of a race as opposed to an "event" (although why race at all then?) but it would be a shame if they felt intimidated by some perceived attitude of men towards the women in the race, when this is probably more to do with their own misconceptions.

  • Kathy HKathy H ✭✭✭

    My first race was a 'women only' one. I chose it because it was aimed towards the beginner. It was a race like my later ones. I didn't really notice anything really different apart from the lack of men. image

    I think that the 'race for life' and others like it are useful to encourage women to be active, when it has been said that girls are more sedentary than boys.

  • HellywobsHellywobs ✭✭✭

    There's one reason to do a ladies-only race if you are any good - you might actually win it!  Whereas in most races even if you are good you won't, though I think a lady may have won the Farmham Pilgrims marathon last year but such instances are fairly rare unless an elite runner sich as Liz Yelling turns up.  I've made this point before on here, but I was 9th lady at the Fleet 10k last year but about 150th overall.  This morning I was 84th at my local parkrun but 7th lady.  So it is quite nice to do an event where you actually come right up in the front finishers (I was once 15th at a ladies-only race of around 600 participants).  Even at a charity race where I was 3rd lady I was 45th overall!  However, if ladies-only races were discontinued I wouldn't particularly care though I don't agree with Alan that they've had their day - the Windsor 10k last week had around 2000 entrants (and probably would have had a lot more if it hadn't been so expensive - £22 compared with the £12ish I paid for the Shinfield 10k the same day), the Glasgow 10k has around 12K entrants and there's a popular ladies-only race in Newton Abbot each September which is small but well supported.

    I don't know why everyone gets so het up about Race for Life - if you are male, run another event or find a different charity to support - if someone doesn't want me, I don't want them.

  • [essay alert]

    I think the real issue some men (myself included) have with RFL is that it is the main event in the Cancer Research fundraising calandar, yet they exclude 50% of the population from raising money! If you were serious about raising money to beat cancer then surely including the entire population seems the most logical way to do so?

    Also I think the attitudes of some women who only take part in women-only races or attending women-only gyms is fuelled by their very existence in the first place. If they didn't have these exclusionary races/gyms at all then maybe those women wouldn't feel that there must be a need to have them (i.e. there is a perceived requirement because of their existence and not the other way around).

    Just look at RFL - they claim they decided to make the event for women only due to the feeling among their competitors... however, since their competitors have always been women, who have been spoon fed the notion that all men are drooling, leering, uncontrolable sex-pests as soon as the slightest amount of skin is shown, how can this not be the most biased decision in the history of ever?

    They did trial a 5k event in aid of the Bobby Moore Foundation (for prostate cancer, so a male only event for a mens cancer, seems appropriate, if not a bit small fry) but you have to ask why only go to that length and then be so specific? Why not have a full RFL mens event but keep it seperate, if it means that much to have segregation?

    As an example a lot of women/girls I've spoken to about the issue (a few that even run RFL every year) wrongly assume it is in aid of only breast cancer and that is why it is kept as women only (and, for now, we shall overlook the fact that men can and do get breast cancer as it is seen as a bit taboo for men to talk openly about). The real kicker is that my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer the other year (thankfully after a double mastectomy she was given the all clear) and it got me thinking... She has no close family to run "for her" as you see people running in memory of loved ones in the adverts - by that logic does that mean our loss would have been less significant because she didn't have a daughter?

    It makes sense in my head anyway; afterall most women who claim they prefer to only attend women-only gyms (or in the ultra sexist "women only hours" at general gyms, that men still pay for with equal membership fees) because they feel "self concious" due to not looking "attractive" when they exercise - if they know they're not attractive then why are they assuming the men in the gym are all leering over them? Why? Because these women only gyms and women only hours exist at all, that's why; they're being fed the subliminal message that it is right to feel uncomfortable because ALL men WILL leer over them if they don't, when the truth is no more men will be leering at them than in the streets (and what's next, women only pavements with screens?).

    Ironically men often feel just as "self concious" as women (just look at increasing trends of eating disorders amongst men, and the social pressures to have a 6-pack etc.) but we, as a gender, are taught from a young age to repress any fears or hangups (lest we appear "weak"). The result? No men only gyms/men only hours so the vast majority just get on with it, self conciousness and all.

     

     

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