Midpack awards – encouraging mediocrity

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 14 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1384

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/sports/rudawsky/03312004.html

    Races doing away with prize money for winners but giving prizes to those who finish in the middle of the pack. Do I even need to comment for anyone here to know what I’m thinking right now?

  • #14100

    magpie
    Member

    You think it is a novel way to grow the sport by giving greater incentive for better performances from the mid-pack, which in turn pushes the frontrunners and pulls the backpackers along with them? 😀

  • #14101

    Jason
    Member

    Two of our cross country races did that this year. At UMD and Winona, giving the same shirt to the mid packer as they did the winner.

  • #14102

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    It’s one thing to have real prizes for the winners and door prizes for randomly drawn participants. However, let’s get a total grasp of what’s going on here. Races are taking prize money away from the winners, those who have worked hard to excel, and are instead giving prize money to midpackers.

    I also remember hearing about a marathon I believe last year that gave the winners some plaques. They then had a drawing of all finishers who finished over 3 hours for $500. Yes, that’s right. Anyone who finished in under 3 hours got, at best, a cheap plaque. Anyone who finished in over 3 hours had the chance at $500. There’s a performance incentive.

  • #14103

    Evets Sberk
    Member

    Americans (as a whole) have become lazy & weak. Why try to win when American public opinion actually endorses “you are every bit as good as the winner just by being average.” Schools no longer recognize the #1 student at graduation “to spare the feelings of the others,” it has become difficult to hire or fire someone simply based on job differential performance, and now in fricken sports mediocrity becomes the rage. Sickening examples (1)Galloway expounding “walking to run faster”, (2)the above mentioned awards for midpackers, (3)recent vinnette in RW magazine verbalizing it is politically incorrect to kick past someone in a race! UUUUUUUgggghhhhh! I want to vomit! I refuse to feel bad for one second about working realy hard at someting I love and then enjoying the competition. When I sign up for a race, it is after all a race right?!!! 😡

  • #14104

    Jeff
    Member
    Evets Sberk wrote:
    Americans (as a whole) have become lazy & weak. Why try to win when American public opinion actually endorses “you are every bit as good as the winner just by being average.” Schools no longer recognize the #1 student at graduation “to spare the feelings of the others,” it has become difficult to hire or fire someone simply based on job differential performance, and now in fricken sports mediocrity becomes the rage. Sickening examples (1)Galloway expounding “walking to run faster”, (2)the above mentioned awards for midpackers, (3)recent vinnette in RW magazine verbalizing it is politically incorrect to kick past someone in a race! UUUUUUUgggghhhhh! I want to vomit! I refuse to feel bad for one second about working realy hard at someting I love and then enjoying the competition. When I sign up for a race, it is after all a race right?!!! 😡

    Well said, my friend!

  • #14105

    magpie
    Member

    Then are you all in favor of nixing age group awards? 😕

  • #14106

    r-at-work
    Member

    I HOPE no one is against group awards… I am a mid-packer and this weekend I took my two boys (16 & 11) and we did a 5K club race… they ONLY gave out age group awards, top three or top whatever number was in the age group…

    it was low key, small & cheap… but for the five dollar fee I don’t have another cotton t-shirt… I was second in my group and my boys were first and third… and there was even more than 3 in my age group…

    they gave out flowers…as in six-cell pack of your choice of pansies, marigolds, snapdragons and a few single pots of chrysanthemums… so we went home with three packs and I planted our ‘trophies’ in the back yard…so every day throughout the summer I can think about the great ‘race’ we had…

    I think part of the issue is expectations… I went with no expectations but if it was a big race and I KNEW I was the first (never happen) I would expect something … I also think mid-pack awards should be in addition to and not as wonderful as whatever you give the winners…

    -R

  • #14107

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    magpie wrote:
    Then are you all in favor of nixing age group awards? 😕

    I am most definitely in favor of at least lessening age group awards in favor of overall awards. I think races that give age group awards in 5 year increments but give no overall awards are a sham. You potentially have someone finishing 4th and, because he happened to be 26 years old, going home with nothing. Meanwhile, the 24 year old who finishes 30th brings home a nice little trophy. That’s the way to reward high performance levels.

    Overall awards: If they have awards at all, definitely.

    Masters and juniors awards: After overall awards are covered, they seem right.

    Age group awards for every 5-10 year increment: Only to be considered after overall awards and, if given, should be in some way secondary to the overall awards.

    Midpack awards: Ridiculous.

    The one thing to remember about age group awards is that, while we can find flaws in the concept, at least they are given out for being faster than all comers in the same category. It’s not rewarding people for being average.

  • #14108

    born2run
    Member
    Ryan wrote:
    Midpack awards: Ridiculous.

    I agree.

  • #14109

    Run
    Member
    magpie wrote:
    You think it is a novel way to grow the sport by giving greater incentive for better performances from the mid-pack, which in turn pushes the frontrunners and pulls the backpackers along with them? 😀

    I dont understand your point, if mid-pack runners put in better performances, they wouldnt be mid-pack anymore, theyd be more towards the front, thus disqualifying themselves for the mid-pack “award”.

    Also, the idea of push and pull in the pack doesnt really make sense either. The front runners push themselves, and the backpackers mostly cant be pulled, I dont see the desire in that part of the pack.

  • #14110

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Run wrote:
    magpie wrote:
    You think it is a novel way to grow the sport by giving greater incentive for better performances from the mid-pack, which in turn pushes the frontrunners and pulls the backpackers along with them? 😀

    I dont understand your point, if mid-pack runners put in better performances, they wouldnt be mid-pack anymore, theyd be more towards the front, thus disqualifying themselves for the mid-pack “award”.

    Also, the idea of push and pull in the pack doesnt really make sense either. The front runners push themselves, and the backpackers mostly cant be pulled, I dont see the desire in that part of the pack.

    I think it’s safe to say that a sarcasm tag could have been useful in times like this. 😉

  • #14111

    r-at-work
    Member

    I’ve had the best of all worlds…

    run mid pack as a rule(50 year old woman)… (4:44)

    did one marathon coming off an injury, so I ran the first 10 miles and walked/jogged the rest (waiting to feel bad, but never did)…(5:59)

    and was lucky to be the second half of a marathon relay with a FASTER woman leading off… (3:46)

    and I doubt that most of the back of the pack cares about training or gettting better… it was really amazing that some I talked to had done minimal training, some had never run another race and were not planning on ever running again… one woman had gotten the bib# from a friend who had gone out of town on business and she had decided the week before it would help her deal with the fact her husband had just been laid off (WTF?)

    at least it inspired me not to ever do THAT (near the 6 hour crowd) again… on the other hand the 3:46 finish inspired me also… most the runners passing me totally outclassed me but still were positive, upbeat and encouraging… I felt like a bit of a phony, had to explain my partner was the fast one… but now I’m planning on more & better training…

    awards are nice, but give them to the people who REALLY deserve them… age group is a nice thing for a club race where the same guys always win… in fact one group I know the guy usually wins and and takes the ‘points’ but not the prize, so they move the trophies down the rank…

    an occasional door prize is great, but it should never be more than the fast runners win…

    -R

  • #14112

    Bart
    Member

    I don’t have a problem with who is given awards/prizes. In most areas (at least metropolitan areas), there are a lot of races. Race Directors have to decide who gets awards and for what. Some RDs are interested in attracting the fastest runners, and some are interested in attracting the most runners possible. As long as the award criteria is clearly listed on the application/website, it’s not an issue to me. One thing to note is that most races have websites. I encourage you to contact the RD’s and let them know how you feel.

    I think if it really bothers you, then don’t run the race. If enough people share your opinion, it will force the RD to seriously look at the award policy.

    Bart

  • #14113

    magpie
    Member
    Ryan wrote:
    Run wrote:
    magpie wrote:
    You think it is a novel way to grow the sport by giving greater incentive for better performances from the mid-pack, which in turn pushes the frontrunners and pulls the backpackers along with them? 😀

    I dont understand your point, if mid-pack runners put in better performances, they wouldnt be mid-pack anymore, theyd be more towards the front, thus disqualifying themselves for the mid-pack “award”.

    Also, the idea of push and pull in the pack doesnt really make sense either. The front runners push themselves, and the backpackers mostly cant be pulled, I dont see the desire in that part of the pack.

    I think it’s safe to say that a sarcasm tag could have been useful in times like this. 😉

    Ryan understands.

  • #14114

    magpie
    Member
    Bart wrote:
    I think if it really bothers you, then don’t run the race. If enough people share your opinion, it will force the RD to seriously look at the award policy.

    You honestly believe that?

  • #14115

    Bart
    Member
    magpie wrote:
    You honestly believe that?

    Yes and no. I believe that if enough people didn’t run a race because of the award policy, and they told the RD that was the reason, the policy would be changed. On the other hand, I don’t think this will ever happen because 90% of race/run participants don’t care and know the only way they’ll ever win an award or prize is through mid-pack awards or raffles.

    Bart

  • #14116

    magpie
    Member

    I knew it could not be as simple as originally stated . . . now that I would likely agree with.

    One way around it is to start your own race(s)/series and then there will be a logical setup from the standpoint of being an integral part of ‘The Sport.’ I know a guy who started up a race in Ft. Collins and he was able to effectively dissuade walkers and fitness joggers from coming out by placing a well-worded caveat in the race brochure, so that no awards would be given due to attrition despite a lack of effort. I see no problem with posting age group results or even announcing age group winners, but IMHO anyone who truly cares about ‘The Sport’ will devote as much of the prize purse/budget as possible to those who win or place in the open races. I would much rather perform well and have my ass handed to me by a field enticed by the prospect of payoff at the top end than run more of a time trial just to get some p.o.s. trinket because the quality of the field was watered-down by the R.D.’s inattention to better runners.

  • #14117

    Bart
    Member
    magpie wrote:
    I know a guy who started up a race in Ft. Collins and he was able to effectively dissuade walkers and fitness joggers from coming out by placing a well-worded caveat in the race brochure, so that no awards would be given due to attrition despite a lack of effort.

    That’s fine for the type of event he was interested in. However, I think there should also be running events/races that welcome joggers and walkers. These people may not care about the purity of the sport, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy one of the important social aspects of running.

    magpie wrote:
    I would much rather perform well and have my ass handed to me by a field enticed by the prospect of payoff at the top end than run more of a time trial just to get some p.o.s. trinket because the quality of the field was watered-down by the R.D.’s inattention to better runners.

    I agree. I’m not anywhere near the level where winning a race is in my future. I’ve won some age group awards and try to finish as close to the front as possible, but I judge my performance on how well I ran (even pacing, finishing time, etc.).

    We probably agree more than disagree on this issue. I think giving an award to the person who finished exactly in the middle is stupid, but if prizes are given as a raffle open to all runners, that doesn’t really bother me. I want to run races where the distance is accurate, an effort is made to start the faster runners up front, and the course is clearly marked. I don’t really care who gets an award or a prize.

  • #14118

    magpie
    Member
    Bart wrote:
    However, I think there should also be running events/races that welcome joggers and walkers. These people may not care about the purity of the sport, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy one of the important social aspects of running.

    Fret not, as well over 90% of all road races actively cater to that set at least in part, if not exclusively. There is absolutely no danger of them running out of events that will provide them with a plentiful feed trough to meet their desires.

    I want to run races where the distance is accurate, an effort is made to start the faster runners up front, and the course is clearly marked. I don’t really care who gets an award or a prize.

    Personally, I could not care less about course accuracy or marking, especially if a race with an ‘accurate’ and ‘clearly marked course’ snubs the true top runners. Races that do not exist to primarily serve top runners are shams, IMHO.

  • #14119

    runnerdude
    Member
    Bart wrote:
    Race Directors have to decide who gets awards and for what. Some RDs are interested in attracting the fastest runners, and some are interested in attracting the most runners possible.

    so, if I understand correctly, you think that races can grow in size if prize money is offered to people who finish in the middle or at the back? I think you’ll find more evidence for the opposite – make more money available for the winners, this brings the faster runners, which brings more media attention and sponsorship and in turn, increases registrations.

  • #14120

    magpie
    Member

    Even in this day and age, having a fast field has to have broader appeal than some token reward for winning a contrived competition.

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