Yesterday in the mail, I received my runnings clubs latest newsletter. On the front page, there was an statement annoucing that the board members had voted to put time limits on several of the club races. Their reasoning was that if you could not run a 13 minute mile, you were undertrained and should not be running. The other reasoning is that if you were slow, it was not fair to make the volunteers wait around for you to finish. There are now going to be cut off times at certain mile markers and if you were not there at that point, your bib would be pulled.
I am of several minds about this. Yes, 13 minute miles are slow. Being slow myself though my first reaction was anger. Obviously, if I am mad about it, then I just need to faster and it will not be a problem. Fair enough. Then I think about all of the people out there (not a whole lot, but still there are some) who are slower than me. I think if I got pulled off the course of a small local race, I would not come back. Is that the message we want to be sending to people? "We welcome all runners, but by gawd, you had better MOVE!!".
I guess I can understand large races having cutoff times, but this is a smaller local club (300 members or so) and something about it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't want people to hurt themselves trying to do distances they are not ready for, but I think in this society, we need to encourage people to come out and get moving.
What are your thoughts?