Ban The Bandits (And Other Cheats)

So Runner’s World author Amanda Furrer (you can find her here & here) and editor Jeff Dengate supported the action of banditing “correctly” by publishing an online article titled:

Do Not Bandit Ever. Or at Least Don’t Be an Asshole

I’m from New Jersey. We’re no strangers to cursing. But when you run what is normally a non-trashy publication, I’m not a fan. (Realize that this was the online headline – the print version wasn’t with a profanity in the title – “The Worst Thing You Can Do Isn’t Even That Bad”.) This isn’t an underground zine –  Runner’s World has a massive worldwide following, the majority of whom are not professional or elite runners. Most novice runners that never ran before or have not competed in school are unaware of the rules regarding competitive running (your pace dictates your corral/heat placement, external aid normally results in disqualification, purchasing a bib for a non-transferable race can result in a DQ/ban from the race series, technically earphones are a reason for disqualification in many USATF championship races, etc). The rules of racing vary from race to race & level of competition – but this is blog written with regards to the races that explicitly ban banditing – the practice of running on a race course without legitimately paying for or being compensated a registration bib, or the permission of the race director to do so. Publishing this piece was careless on the part of the editor that approved the article as well as the author.

One of the most entitled reasons to bandit cited by Furrer: “There are plenty of reasons, the first of which is money. Running the New York City Marathon, for instance, costs $295. While this expense goes toward necessities like road closures, security, race-day fuel, and porta-potties, it’s a fee some just can’t afford—and the race’s fame is enticing enough that some runners don’t want to take on a smaller, cheaper event.”

You don’t WANT to take on a smaller, cheaper event? Sometimes you don’t get what you want. That’s life. If you can’t pay, don’t play. It’s not that hard of a concept. Just because you can’t afford that Valentino purse doesn’t give you permission to steal it. Imagine telling the police officer, “But I WANTED it! Therefore I DESERVED to have it!” If you can’t afford the amazing experience that is running at the NYC marathon, and you ABSOLUTELY have to run the race, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Save the money as a priority (have you forgotten that running in USATF certified races are a luxury, not a right?) if it’s something your heart yearns to do. Somehow the members of society that support this immoral method of thinking have forgotten the concept of hard work for what it is you wish to have in this life. There’s also the option of raising the money for a charity. Better yet, get out there on race day & CHEER. Cheer your heart out – because guess what, that’s one way to aid the runners that’s within the rules. And perhaps it will motivate you to not purchase something extraneous every other day in order to save up to run your dream race. All running actually requires is a pair of running sneakers (and some barefoot runners will challenge you on that). Everything else is icing on the cake & keeping up with the Joneses.

Another reason cited: “Aside from the expense, getting into big races is no easy feat (qualifying times, lotteries). And then there’s the fear of failure. We see you headcases jumping in so you have the option of quitting without a DNF.”

Hmm. Qualifying times a problem? Run faster. I’m a big fan of giving it everything you’ve honestly got to try and achieve a goal. Or commit to fundraising for a charity bib. Both will be legal ways to enter your dream race (unless your dream race is the Olympic Trials, in which case – run faster.) Lotteries? Again, fundraise for a charity bib. Or accept the fact that your not being accepted by lottery is happening for a reason and the reason may not make itself clear until later in your training cycle. The lottery is random in order to maintain a fair and even chance for everyone who wishes to run to be given the opportunity to race.

The fear of failure is a personal mentality issue. I didn’t call you a headcase, Furrer did. I’m aware that bandits have a lack of moral integrity by already jumping in without paying, but perhaps you need to learn how to own responsibility for your actions and your race times. If you don’t have the strength to be able to do this then perhaps you shouldn’t be racing at the moment. So what if you have a DNF or a poor time? If it’s honest, own it and move onwards. If not, then I hope it’s DQ’d and made null & void. Taking pride in something that isn’t your own is called being fraudulent. You’re being deceitful. Your race time is your own. Failure is a part of racing and running, being honest with yourself as a runner in your training and in life is something that helps mindset immensely instead of making excuses. Failure will happen. It happens more often to some than others. But being fearful of it helps no one.

Furrer: “Here’s my confession: Back in 2010, I bandited the Boston Marathon. It was the first time I ever ran 26.2, and I had a few joyful crying spells when I realized I was going to finish. How can I forbid banditing when I myself didn’t register? How can I preach to you when running that race inspired me to compete in—and register for—10 more marathons to date?”

First thing: You should be banned from ever racing at the Boston Marathon again if the rules are to be followed (and the Boston Marathon is quite strict about their rules). “How can I forbid banditing?” Very easily, by acknowledging you did something wrong instead of attempting to justify your rule-breaking by saying it “inspired” you. It’s the same mentality & excuses when others claim they do so much good for society that their rule & law breaking should be overlooked. (See also: serial rule-breaker & bandit blogger Kelly Roberts and her family/friends/followers’ comments, all those that covered up the atrocities committed by Larry Nassar for YEARS with USA Gymnastics by claiming he was an “upstanding member of society”, Mike Rossi with his blatant cheating but: “Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book… They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.”)

Furrer: “YOU WILL be the support your registered friend needs in the last couple of miles.”

See, here’s the problem. I ran a race alongside a (registered) running friend that would run with me at every race we had together, since we were of similar fitness and paces. Both of us were going after a PR on the course. (In the end they did not PR, but I did). They had a friend next to them the whole time, and their friend kept not only the pace they needed, but would get them their gels, water, Gatorade, etc. I left them both early on because I felt great and they were fading, but why is it that someone should have that aid during a race just because they had a friend that was willing to break the rules & jump in? That isn’t fair. No, life isn’t fair, but should they be caught, their time should be DQ’d. Those are the rules. If you want to help your friend, register for the race & be there properly as a part of everyone else’s race as well.

Should a race like the NYC marathon become a popularity contest? Giving more resources to some runners on race day as opposed to others? Imagine if someone jumped into the race at every mile (or multiple friends at one point) for certain runners. The whole point of racing is to race who shows up. What makes one runner more special than other runners on race day that have friends that they should have this extra advantage? At the end of the day, it’s YOU that has to continue moving and cross the finish line. This is why the non-elite start women at the Boston Marathon 2018 were not initially awarded any prize money – they were not in the elite race. Not because of some archaic anti-female rules (which some “feminist” bloggers tried to misrepresent it as) but because they simply were not in that specific race. All of the racers competing for the elite purses should be in the same race head to head or else the opportunity to match surges & tactical moves is null and void. And no matter your goal, whether or not you’re running it for fun, just to complete it, or a time, every person on that road has an impact on YOU. Imagine if someone jumped into the race and ran alongside the elite & sub-elite athletes as a bandit. They should be caught, disqualified, and banned from the race immediately. Why should it be any different for those at the middle or back-of-the-pack? You know, the group of runners (run/walkers, walkers, those that go forward, whomever they may be) that are always requesting equal treatment similar to those that are faster?

Integrity is greater than money. Watching many social media influencers with no knowledge or respect for the sport continue to peddle incorrect information about the proper ways to respect the sport and its rules is insulting to all legitimately honest runners. Encouraging the poor choices of an author that shows no remorse for breaking the rules is no better.

If you don’t like the rules, change them. Nick Symmonds (2x Olympian, World silver medalist, 6x 800m USA national champion) said this regarding following USATF rules: “Now you can disagree with the rule… Whether you think it’s fair or unfair is irrelevant. It’s black & white. It’s in there and I’m going to follow those rules.” This is what a REAL elite #ProAthlete with integrity has to say about following rules and qualifying for races.

The lack of professionalism & integrity of this specific article by RW isn’t lost in the series of tweets by “Runner-In-Chief” Jeff Dengate engaging with many readers that were upset by the article since it advocated breaking the rules for the reasons outlined above. His responses are nothing short of rude. I’ve demonstrated the fallacy in his logic (replace the word “bandit” with thief, cheat, murderer, rapist, doper, or adulterer) for supporting how to bandit & these were his words:

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Symmonds has also advocated against dopers in sport, stating “Dopers are still walking amongst us! Lance Armstrong is still walking around amongst us even though he’s a fraud and a cheat that stole from people. When you are a fraud and a thief you go to jail. If you are a convicted doper, you absolutely should be in jail.” Link to these quotes here.

Bandits are also frauds & thieves at the everyday level of racing. Ironically, Dengate is against dopers in sport. How he reconciles his distaste for doping but refuses to admit that banditing is also a form of cheating that should be discouraged and requires consequences in the name of #CleanSport is highly reminiscent of this hypocritical running company paying a repeat cheat but not their actual elites.

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I was asked my solution to the problem of bandits at major races that prohibit them. My answer isn’t far off from Nick’s solution for doping in sport: massive fines, lifetime bans, and jail time. Just because it isn’t doping at an elite level doesn’t make it any less wrong to do. This is my level of sport & I would like to be amongst as many morally upright runners in competition as is possible. We have enough blogger influencers that have no real respect or understanding of the sport that are misleading their following regarding the truth in running – when they are caught, they should face the consequences. Perhaps if we criminalize what isn’t right to do, more people would think twice before jumping into a race where they don’t belong. Could you imagine someone jumping on the road for the USATF 5k road championships that were held in conjunction with the Dash to the Finish 5k next to the elites & sub-elites with the intention of “just pacing a friend”? (I’m sure it happened for the non-elite race, and if you read to the Runner’s World article, Furrer elaborates on how you should do so because the race was easily sold out). Even if you were to pull bandits off the course, charge them & require a court date that could result in anything from community service to jail time, that would make some people think twice (example: London Marathon Bandit and no, I do not condone the violence of physically attacking a cheat). Community service could be required of cheats – try standing all day in the cold to hand out water for runners at a marathon. Perhaps that would induce some more respect for the sport at all levels. And if the cheat decides to skip their community service requirement? THAT could result in jail time.

Massive fines of 2-3-4-5x the entry fee for a race for anyone caught without a bib or someone else’s bib would make a runner think twice before jumping into a race where they don’t belong. If you copy a charity bib, then you’re not only performing a theft of services for the environment of the race from the race director, you’re taking money away from the charity for which the race is being run. Even worse in my opinion. Those races & organizations could choose to charge at least twice the fundraising requirement as consequence, maybe more (the charity Team For Kids requires a $2620 fundraising commitment for NYC, for example.)

If indeed the ban that you deserve for the Boston Marathon from today forward comes to fruition, Amanda, remember that Gia Alvarez, a blogger that wrongfully claimed a time that wasn’t hers to register for Boston, tried to justify her giving away a bib for Boston by saying “I did what so many of us do”. That doesn’t make it right. Just because there are so many bandits on a course doesn’t mean that they’re doing the right thing. Lifetime bans for race rule-breakers should be the norm. Unfortunately, even the current consequences of disqualification do not occur properly. If the races rules indicate that a DQ & ban is the consequence for banditing, bib-swapping, bib-purchasing, and cheating in general, these actions should be taken against all involved.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – Runner’s World should retract this article by Amanda Furrer. It’s disheartening that we cannot count on professionalism and honesty even at the everyday runner’s level of sport. It’s even worse that we cannot even rely on the mainstream media publications to lead us in the right direction when it comes to running and racing. When we don’t denounce these actions of banditing & cheating as being wrong and imposing the proper consequences (DQ’s, bans, legal action) then we allow those with no respect for the sport to get away with a lack of morals and integrity. This is why I say we must Make Running Great Again – by calling out the hypocrisy & fraud of cheats & those that take away from clean sport. Pro athletes and elite level runners must speak out against doping, and those of us everyday runners with integrity that step to a line for the races, even if we aren’t elite, still deserve the respect of a race honestly run and won. I’d rather run a race with fewer runners if that means that the runners I’m running alongside with are quality runners. As in life, quality over quantity of the company you keep. To the cheats of the sport: #SorryNotSorry, you can’t run with us.

Signed,

#RunnersAgainstCheating

#MakeRunningGreatAgain

#BanTheCheats

#BanTheBandits

If you’d like to read other articles that have been written against banditing, see below:

Marathon Investigation Response to Furrer’s Article in RW

Runner’s World by Dave McGillivray, Race Director of Boston Marathon

Runner’s World Response to the Banditing of Kelly Roberts

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Memories of 9/11 in 2015

Author’s Note: This was written by me on 9/11/2015. I was working on a TV set, & today in 2018 I am in Brooklyn on a TV show set at the studio. We just had a moment of silence on set in memory. Funny how even though things change, they stay the same.

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On this day in 2001, I was supposed to visit the World Trade Center with my uncle who was here from Pakistan. By the grace of Allah (swt), we were delayed. I will never forget the frantic phone call my Bhai made to my parents to tell me not to go to NYC because something awful just happened.

As we watched the events unfold, I prayed it wasn’t a Muslim terrorist attack. It was.

It’s been many years, and I still am truly saddened each 9/11 when the names are read. I can’t help but think of everyone that has lost someone because some misguided souls thought they were following Islam.

Today, I woke up and ran 5 miles at 7am towards downtown NYC with Nike. I am grateful for every day I have that I can run. Because there are others that cannot.

My work today has taken me to a TV set, where production has re-created a Syrian desert refugee camp. The scene that shows an ISIS beheading that was supposed to be filmed yesterday had to be moved to today. With a moment of silence, they respectfully do so. They’re showing children dirty but happily playing soccer, just like your children do. Medical tents are here, and an urgent surgery on a young boy is being portrayed. His lung collapses but there are no medical supplies delivered this week. There is sand, lots of desert bugs, and plenty of American military. My mind wanders to my older brother, who became a physician for the Air Force. My brother, who serves our great American nation every day, who served in the Middle East during the war. My Bhai, one of my heroes. They’ve recreated his dedication, amongst many others, here, on a film set, in NYC.

I was fairly blonde when 9/11 happened. I didn’t fit the prototypical Muslim stereotype. I suddenly found it my duty to enlighten others about the true Islam, since I was mistaken as simply American and so many would speak to me with negativity about all Muslims as if I wasn’t Muslim. Hatred of others that are different stems out of fear and lack of knowledge. Hate is taught. You must learn to hate someone. It isn’t something we’re born with.

I’m watching the children play on the refugee set. It may as well be the real thing. Some of them are Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian. They don’t see creed, or race, or differences. They just want someone to kick them the ball.

Nick Symmonds Book Review – Life Outside the Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled

This article originally appeared on Epic Run, December 5th, 2014.

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See on Amazon!

Fame, fast times, and fortune? Sex, drugs, and Hollywood? Yes, you’ll find it all and more in Nick Symmonds’ autobiography Life Outside The Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled.

If you’re one of the many like me who have met Nick by attending one of his signings, then you’ll find a sincere handwritten note when you open the book, followed by the introduction written by the legendary Coach Frank Gagliano, or “Gags” (as he’s known to many in the running community). Gags’ fondness for Nick is evident, especially when speaking of Nick as a young competitor.

Nick shows respect and humility in speaking of his parents and family- a result of his small-town, Midwestern upbringing, I suppose. Religion also plays an interesting part in young Nick’s life; you can be sure to stumble upon that aspect of his growth within the first few pages.

But, as it does time and time again for a young boy growing up, his thoughts turned to the opposite sex, and as has been said, Nick found running not because he enjoyed it (face it, how many of us at first sight loved the fact that we run and run and run around a track and still end up where we’ve started?) but he ran simply due to the fact that a pretty girl (or two) asked him to. Track Nation, of course, owes a huge amount of gratitude to those young girls in Boise, as I’m sure they were highly unaware of the gears they unintentionally put in motion.

This leads us into the crazy world of track & field at the collegiate and professional levels, and of course, the cast of characters Nick meets along the way. Those of us that follow the sport closely will happily recognize names we know and love along the way- those of us who know next to nothing about Nick’s earlier years will surely learn about his competitors that have stoked his fiery spirit along the way. The bachelor pad antics, his ability to out-Jersey the Jersey Shore (he had a hot tub before they did), his ways with the ladies and propensity to drink beer, all coinciding with the enticing aspect of drugs, nightlife, and his methods of navigating it all- indeed, you will find all of this and more in his book.

Some of the best stories Nick tells are of all of the traveling he has done. For those of us that haven’t left the comfort of our own backyards nearly as often, if at all, it’s an eye-opening portal to the testament of the human body as a machine, placed through the constant stresses of jet lag and lack of sleep, and how we as an audience simply expect a stellar athletic performance, despite the rigors of training and travel. Sometimes we, the fans, don’t realize the extent external factors have on our national team members, yet we still want more out of them.

Drug testing, marital infidelity, and sponsorships are just a few parts of #NSOvalOffice (that IS the official hashtag) that Nick enlightens the general, non-competing public about in detail, and in doing so, reinforces the fact that no matter where he’s gone and what mistakes he’s made, his moral compass is still intact after it all.

What I find to be the most inspiring aspect in all 230 pages of reading is that Nick teaches us that it’s okay to cry. To express your emotion not only on the oval through your racing but in any other environment; that it’s okay to have personal response to any situation. In doing so he takes on the stereotype of the typical All-American male and allows for a humanization of his persona. He invites us to realize that he, too, has insecurities just like the rest of us, and he states them without hesitation. We want to believe that all of our athletes are unbreakable, but Nick chooses to bring us in and allows us to experience heartbreak and disappointment alongside him.

Nick lets us in on some of the most important decision-making processes of his life. From coaches and universities to entertainment at meets, he doesn’t hold back on any aspect of how he thinks Track Nation could be even more amazing. He addresses that he hopes he can serve the sport in any form, aspiring to make an impact in even a fraction of the magnitude that legendary Steve “Pre” Prefontaine had done in his short time with us. In many ways, from standing up for LGBT rights, to bringing attention to the lack of administrative transparency within sport, he can easily be seen leading a dialogue for the nation and beyond, perhaps in the same capacity that Pre once did.

My favorite parts of #NSOvalOffice were where I could live vicariously through Nick’s viewpoint on races that I so closely watched him compete in throughout the years. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get inside his head at those points. I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling Nick wove until the last chapter of his book, where he seemed to rush off a very quick message to his female fans out of necessity. Ladies, I’ll let you read it and respond to him at your own leisure. But the final page is ever-so-fitting, typeface and spacing seeming to work out perfectly as a single meaningful quote lays in front of you. As for the rumors that he dated Paris Hilton, well, wouldn’t you want to read the emails and text messages between the two of them for yourself?

If you’re expecting the adult prose that Nick uses to address his overwhelming issues with politics and the sport while writing for Runner’s World, you won’t find it here. Rather, this book is a coming-of-age novel for Nick’s 17 year-old self. It balances boyish charm while tackling adult issues facing an upcoming professional runner. As a young teenager who isn’t sure of what path to follow, you can surely relate to the same anxieties Nick articulates about those years. For the track and field fan who wants to know what it feels like to toe the line versus the world’s best and take each breath with Nick as he races, it’s in there. If you ever wanted to have a reassuring voice in your head to follow your heart and stand up for what you believe in, Nick’s words will do that. At the end of the day, it’s a breath of fresh air that one of our own has down-to-earth morals and integrity. Indeed, most of the world could use more of Nick’s passion. Perhaps we should all want to exist to live, not live simply to exist.

Maude The Fraud

I am adamantly against cheating and misrepresentation in sport. You take away an honest runner’s hard-earned podium place. The running community is not and should not be complicit with anyone’s cheating, no matter the level. Viral pageant contestant Maude Gorman claimed to have podium finishes in multiple ultramarathon races. She has actually been a pathological liar since childhood – you may google her to find out the details. She has created a persona to fit the needs of whatever audience she has at the moment, just like #3peatCheat #bandit Kelly Roberts. I am not a fan of anyone that does this. We deal with it in modeling all the time – fake ad campaigns, claims of agency representation when there isn’t any, & so much more. Poor fact checking by the media allows for anyone to seek attention & get it in our social media viral society today. The litany of cheats Derek Murphy has proven to break racing rules have all had the same underlying connection of being frauds & profiting from their storylines – Kelly Roberts, Gia Alvarez, Jane Seo. Each wanted to attain elite status in some way, shape, or form – Kelly called herself a #ProAthlete after being caught breaking the rules by purchasing bibs & not paying to run on race courses, #GiaAlvarez thought it was okay to race the prestigious #BostonMarathon with a time she did not earn to qualify that year by giving her bib to someone, thereby taking the place of a genuinely qualified runner (you have to race a time considered fast for your age), and #JaneSeo wanted to qualify for an elite team for the Dashing Whippets in NYC – she went so far as to fake her podium time at a half-marathon by biking the course afterwards when in reality she didn’t race the whole distance. #MaudeGorman has been dropped from @skyrunningusa but still lists herself as #TeamUSA.

Gia Alvarez has been rightly banned from racing by the Boston Athletic Association. Jane Seo was rightfully stripped of her podium placement & dropped from her team immediately. Kelly Roberts did not lose her sponsors – in fact, last year Oiselle hypocritically continued to pay & support her as a cheat while their own real elite pro athlete Kara Goucher had waited a decade for her rightful silver medal at Worlds. (Irony much?) Instead, Kelly Roberts has continued to be disrespectful in sport, breaking rules that should have her banned from the NYRR racing community. She has proven herself a liar once again, deleting all the negative posts she made against Nike while with Oiselle. #BanKellyK

I watched Broken on #Netflix last night – it’s about how ultrarunner Karl Meltzer broke the Appalachian Trail record. Documented day by day. When you see the amount of HARD WORK a REAL & TRUE elite ultrarunner puts in, and then you have a cheat that cuts the course, you can only imagine how wrong it is for the rightful, honest athletes. Insulting to real elites. Disrespectful to the sport. Proof has been shown that they’re cheats & should be banned accordingly.  Not a fan of cheats – your previous traumas & tragedies do not excuse breaking the rules. ESPECIALLY when REAL hardworking, non-cheating elite athletes aren’t given their due respect. In fact, Oiselle’s CEO Sally Bergesen has been hypocritical in her treatment of American Record holding athlete Tori Franklin. When she doesn’t pay her own elites a living wage (there’s a long list of Haute Volee athletes that are not/were not paid), but supported paying a dishonest, cheating brand ambassador influencer in Kelly Roberts that ACTUALLY lacked integrity instead, Oiselle is an epitome of hypocrisy when they claim that they are against cheating in sport. (There is also the story of former Oiselle pro ultrarunner elite athlete Devon Yanko, who found herself on the floor of a casino in 2017 after an ER trip seeking a ride home as Oiselle’s Birdstrike team celebrated their victory at the Speed Project without her. No bird left behind? Not in this case.) Truth is hard to find in today’s media-driven society. Seek it out & you shall find. 

The beauty of this sport is that you get out of it what you put into it. Work hard for your times and own them. No excuses. One love. Run love. Signed, a Team USA NCCWMA silver medalist runway model #TeamUSATF #RunnersAgainstCheating

No, I Will Not “Let It Go”

When others try to tell me that “it was so long ago, you really need to let that go” (in good faith & in haughtiness) every time I write about Oiselle the hypocrisy supporting the misrepresentation & cheating ways of Kelly Roberts by paying her, I dare ask:
Should the Team USA gymnastics squad have “let it go”?
How about the #MeToo & #TimesUp movement? Should we “let it go” because it’s been so long?
Maybe you should tell Kara Goucher to let it go with speaking out for her truth. You know, it’s been “so long” since she trained under Salazar. (The incidents she mentions are from 2011, and she waited a decade until 2017 for a Worlds silver medal that was rightfully hers because of a cheat).
There is something very real in society that is lacking, and it’s called taking responsibility for your own actions & holding others accountable for theirs. For some reason many think it’s okay to let Kelly Roberts continually carry on to cheat & disrespect the sport day in & day out.
Trust me, I know far more than you think. And I’m well aware of all of the women the CEO Sally Bergesen has stepped on to make her platform of lies & hypocrisy seem viable. Her statements are misleading. She’s now accused an elite athlete of lacking integrity as she has, with passion, paid a proven cheat. The athlete, an American Record world-class triple jumper in Tori Franklin, was given a “scraped together” bonus but the company somehow found it in themselves to pay Kelly (a 1:42 half marathon on the roads for a non-Paralympic woman under 30 years of age which can universally be agreed to be non-elite) a salary worthy of the term “Pro Athlete”. You cannot claim to support the elites if you don’t pay them, but you paid a proven cheat.
Those women (and men) that have been wronged cannot say anything. They work in the sport. Some compete at the highest levels. They will lose their jobs & their income in what is a very small community. They HAVE to outwardly support the Oiselle HQ that lacks integrity. If you search enough, you’ll find the blogs, the evidence, the signs that someone does want to stand up for what’s right, from professionals & elites to former members like me. There was nothing wrong with myself & others bringing up the fact that Kelly misrepresents herself constantly. There was everything wrong with refusing to allow transparency regarding it & now Sally & Dr. Lesko claim they are being transparent about Tori Franklin (I absolutely was aware that an issue with Tori Franklin was coming, and Oiselle’s disrespect to Tori will be detailed in an upcoming post). Kelly Roberts is nothing but disrespectful & fraudulent in the sport of running & her actions have easily & consistently proven the same up until this very day. What I initially knew after learning about her at the beginning of last year was that she’s simply a victim, always. Somehow, a confirmed cheat deserved payment, whereas an American Record holder did not warrant a salary payment when renegotiations were initiated… Oiselle, your lack of integrity & respect for real elites in sport is showing.
If you do not use your platform to stand up for those who have been wronged, how can you be anything more than a complicit bystander? If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for everything.
I’ve been dropped from a team but retained my integrity. This isn’t the first time I’ve stood up for what is right. It won’t be the last.
They dropped the wrong bird.
One love. Run love. Xo.
-#RunnersAgainstCheating
#OiselleTheHypocrisy
#SpeakOut

Elites? Not Respected by Oiselle at USAs, Again

Last year, Oiselle refused to acknowledge the role of paid ambassador Kelly Roberts (KKR), a blogger that was incorrectly listed as an elite athlete after we on the Oiselle Volee had asked the CEO Sally Bergesen & HQ questions about her in official forums/platforms with no answer.

A 1:42 half marathon on the roads for a non-Paralympic woman under 30 years of age can universally be agreed not to be at elite levels of racing. I tweeted that listing KKR as an elite was insulting to real elite athletes. I was dropped from the Oiselle Volee for stating the truth publicly about a teammate whose role was never clarified, which lent itself to her being misrepresented as an elite. Instead of apologizing for the lack of transparency & clarifying that KKR is NOT an elite & acknowledging that KKR is being paid, Sally tweeted that Kelly is a #ProAthlete. Sally, Oiselle & Oiselle’s marketing director Megan Murray continued to disrespect rule-abiding runners & insult race directors by supporting KKR’s repeat cheating as a bandit, claiming it was civil disobedience (try again – women no longer have to bandit races to be equal & able to race alongside men. Megan Murray never issued a public apology for this statement, as Kelly Roberts lied about recently). Kelly had already avoided being banned by NYRR for paying to run a race with someone else’s bib in the past & lacked remorse in doing so. She avoided answering the race directors for her transgressions until it was made public. Kelly has continued to proliferate her following, the same following she was hired by Oiselle for, by perpetuating misrepresentation of herself as a professional athlete in podcast interviews.

All of this came from a company that claimed to be adamantly against cheating, that supports #CleanSport, that empowers women, and that supports elites.

All of the above company claims are lies. If you are adamantly against cheaters in sport (which Oiselle claims to be), you drop a cheat from your team, you don’t continue to pay them and elevate them further, thereby insulting all honest, respectful runners that race within the rules. Here’s what you don’t do if you want to support women: You don’t disempower women to speak their truth by deleting entire threads from team forums & telling them to leave the team if they disagree with you (the Oiselle #SpeakOut shirt is an irony). You don’t discourage respectful discussion by censoring the conversation. And you certainly don’t support your real elites if you elevate a royal selfie taken WHILE racing for time during a (failed) London Marathon Boston qualifier attempt above legitimate OTQ (Olympic Trial Qualifier) elites racing the same weekend at top championships. You don’t heavily promote #SportsBraSquadDay instead of the USATF National Championships last year when your athletes are trying to make a World Championship team (and again this year, see Sally’s tweet here). You don’t pay & reward those that break the rules instead of your honest, #CleanSport elite finalists & semi-finalists at national championships. (Did you know that elite Oiselle-sponsored racewalker Maria Michta-Coffey is a 2x Olympian, a multiple-repeat US National Champion, a Pan-Am medalist, but she is not paid as a professional athlete, nor is she on the professional team?) What about paying the athletes that actually work day in & day out towards their goals without complaining about how hard it is? Hard work is what it takes to achieve goals. What about the athletes that have lost medals and sponsorship potentials because of cheaters in the sport? Kara Goucher had to wait over a decade for her rightfully earned silver medal from Worlds. And she’s the only Oiselle elite professional athlete that openly made a public statement against banditing (she deleted it & re-worded it after, but we all know Kara has stood up for her truth).

Sally, the CEO, demands transparency from Nike, IAAF, USOC, IOC, but doesn’t practice it in her own company business practices regarding paying a confirmed, verifiable cheat. Instead of dropping an athlete that has been confirmed to cheat, as she has called for Nike to do, she continued to pay Kelly Roberts even after she was seen to be a bandit multiple times on courses, proven by her own social media. She even elevated KKR to the title of a #ProAthlete, which respected coach Mario Fraioli commented on. (He did not agree with that title).

Today, I was following the USATF National Championships. Oiselle had sponsored Tori Franklin, a triple jumper with phenomenal breakthroughs this year, including an American Record. She was elevated soon after from the regular #HauteVolee elite team (which KKR was incorrectly listed as being) to the professional listing on the Oiselle team page.

I love this sport. I followed Tori’s journey a bit, followed her Instagram postings, and have always been happy to support women at all levels of racing, in addition to cheering them on loud & clear at the elite level. The only reason I ever initially knew of Oiselle in the first place was because their elite athlete Kate Grace followed me on Twitter. When Kate was announced to no longer be sponsored by Oiselle, I was still on the Volee. I genuinely cried that night. I was so sad that the reason I found Oiselle (or as I liked to state, Oiselle found me) was no longer with the team. I love Nike to death, I was SO incredibly happy for her, her efforts deserved only the best company and the best training groups and the best contracts. She deserved to be paid accordingly. Oiselle’s apparent loss of Grace while racing in non-descript gear at the Dempsey in January 2017 prompted some Volee members (who were NOT dropped from the team) to state that they sure hoped Oiselle was putting as much effort and money into resigning Grace as they were in promoting the #SportsBraSquad.

A tweet popped up on my timeline, and I noticed that Tori was in a Nike kit. I knew that there must have been a change in contract, but only a couple of days ago she had posted to support Oiselle. I started to look on the main Oiselle page, and she was no longer there. Checked on the Oiselle blog, and there it was. Yet another hypocritical Oiselle blog, this time taking aim at the character of a real elite athlete, an American Record holder, Tori Franklin.

I already knew Sally & the Oiselle team weren’t being respectful of Tori’s representation (more on that in another blog), because there are many instances where Oiselle simply does not support women as they misleadingly claim to. Nor do they have any respect for their own elite athletes when tearing a woman down who obviously needed to be paid properly for her achievements. Shouldn’t elite athletes earn their keep by what their bodies can DO as an athlete? Isn’t that what it means to be an elite professional athlete? Making standards? Loving the sport? Competing with integrity?

Directly from the blog:

“Three weeks after accepting the bonus, and one week before the USA championships, Tori let us know that she had received a higher offer from another company, and that the other company wanted her to break her contract with Oiselle and compete for them in the US Championships.”

So an athlete, who is a business and a brand in her own right, made a business decision to accept a bonus offered by her sponsor.

“Tori, unfortunately, made the decision today with her agent to break her contract with Oiselle, go back on her word, and wear another company’s logo at the US Championships.”

But Sally, you never went back on what Oiselle stands for, honest sport, when you paid and supported a cheater, liar, and fraud in Kelly Roberts, right? Oiselle never went back on their word with Lindsey Hein, who, like me, promoted the brand at all times without being a sponsored athlete… right? I should post the emails & texts where you went back on your word, perhaps. What company does this to publicly malign their formerly sponsored athlete on the day of a major competition? As Oiselle claims to care about the person and their story more than just their times & results.

“On one hand we try our hardest to always put the athlete first, but we are also running a business and need the domestic exposure that the USA Championships brings to generate the marketing benefit that allows us to justify the program.”

If you put the athlete first, your elites would be given more than travel expenses, race entries, and a minimal clothing allotment. But you put a cheating blogger first & continued to pay her instead of your honest elites last year. For the social media following & exposure. There is no honor or integrity in keeping a three-peat bandit cheat on your team. But you did it. Who no longer has honor or integrity now?

“Could that move have been made with integrity, honoring Oiselle’s support in addition to the hopes of her new sponsor? Absolutely.”

Attacking someone’s character is nothing new for Sally. Implications were surely made of dropping a Volee member from the team for bullying, without ever reaching out with a phone call. Doing it to an elite athlete the day of a major competition? I believe putting an athlete through that is similar to when Sally denounced Nike for serving Boris Berian papers.

“Are we going to sue Tori for damages or try to bar her from competing? No….life is short, and so is a Track and Field athlete’s career…Still we can’t help cheering for Tori. She was a wonderful athlete to sponsor, and she has a great future. We wish her the best as an athlete.”

Why, Oiselle is the real bully. Trashing an elite athlete’s character the day of a major competition? That certainly is how to cheer for an athlete you claim to care about!

“Even though really there is not a great deal of measurable business benefit to Oiselle unless an athlete has a significant following, we want to sponsor athletes in more niche events: for the good of the sport that we love so much, and to try to help our audience grow to love Track and Field beyond just distance running. It will be more difficult to do that now.”

Does promoting the good of the sport involve KKR breaking the rules of competition & being non-remorseful about it? A sport she doesn’t know the rules for, consistently has ill-informed commentary about supporting women & racing, which leads to 200+ comment threads? Her statements about rejecting women that wear makeup to work out? Her beyond lack of information regarding actual elite racing at the Boston Marathon? Does it involve her consistently talking about how much she hates the sport while representing Oiselle? Her constant disrespect for the police presence and breaking the rules at the Boston Marathon? These were all actions that helped to promote the “good of the sport”? Please. What about the fact that she was disrespectful to her prior sponsors & was unethical to them in order to work with Oiselle? It’s acceptable when the immorality benefits Oiselle. But blaming an athlete like Tori that made a business decision – isn’t that what your blog is about? The business of track & field? Why the double-standard?

“But there will be one or two more blank jerseys competing in non-marquee events at USAs from now on, and you can draw that directly back to today.”

So every future non-paid elite level Haute Volee athlete should blame Tori for… not having the opportunity to be sponsored by Oiselle and Sally, who would pay a disrespectful cheating race participant in KKR who doesn’t have knowledge about proper training regimens over paying the legitimate value of a real elite athlete.

“We are shocked, upset, and frankly just sad.”

I think the saddest part of this whole blog is the fact that Sally & Oiselle would rather pay & support the “integrity” of a bandit cheat in the lying, fraudulent blogger Kelly Roberts and hypocritically comment on the integrity of an athlete that did what was best for their career. It’s interesting how they, like KKR, are now playing the underdog victim. Morality has standards. If I had to look up to a company for having ethical values & integrity, it surely wouldn’t be Sally Bergesen & her team with Oiselle. Tori couldn’t have done any better to bring Oiselle exposure than to break the American Record in their kit & bring a phenomenal year to the national forefront of track & field.

Oh, and you don’t need to wear just a sports bra to love yourself as a runner. You just need to run. Wear what you’re comfortable in, my friends. Covered or not, makeup or no makeup, strong looks different on everyone. And I will run with you, no judgements made. Just don’t cheat at the sport. #RunnersAgainstCheating

One love. Run love. xo

 

 

 

Telling The Truth… When Pigs Fly #BanKellyK

(I am not a professional blogger – do forgive formatting errors. Yes, I am aware of my run-on sentences.)

I knew something wasn’t right about blogger Kelly Roberts the first time I was introduced to her as my “teammate” on the Oiselle team (of which I was a paying member).

For someone who now constantly insists during podcast interviews on being labeled as a “pro athlete” because she admits she couldn’t handle the reality of being told she wasn’t good enough or skinny enough over and over again as an actress (she must never have realized that when you have talent, you can still be an actress), Kelly Roberts does a pretty good job of pretending to know what she’s talking about to her audience. An audience, who, mind you, learns about running from a non-elite blogger that’s a multiple-time cheat and bandit. Why would you trust someone that doesn’t even know or follow the rules of the sport to tell you when the sport is wrong?
I watched the commentary that came about the Boston Marathon as she posted “If you’re losing faith in humanity, don’t run the boston marathon if you’re a woman.” along with an inaccurate article from Buzzfeed that paints the Boston Marathon elite women’s payouts as sexist. (Yes, the same Boston Marathon she is desperately trying to qualify for. The irony doesn’t fail to be seen). Kelly went on to lie about deleting angry comments on her page from this article when her following that actually understood elite racing rules explained them with grace & patience. Nowhere was there a rude or disrespectful comment. Naturally, Kelly made up additional faux outrage when posting a followup to the Buzzfeed article: “It made me very, very uneasy to see the anger in the comments of people defending why these women justly shouldn’t get paid. Or coming after me for sharing the buzzfeed article. The anger on the internet towards women makes me sick. But I’m very hopeful to see that the BAA is doing the right thing.” She is always a victim. I have never had a problem calling out Kelly’s lies before, and I’ll not have a problem doing it again.
Apparently, you cannot talk about when Kelly Roberts is wrong or mislabeled by directly tagging her on Twitter after the Oiselle Volee have had 300+ comment threads in a Oiselle fan page discussing misrepresentation. You cannot talk about when Kelly Roberts is wrong as a Oiselle paid ambassador in the former team forum Ning because the thread will be deleted to protect those involved (meaning she was on the platform). You cannot talk about when Kelly Roberts shames women that wear makeup on Twitter in the Facebook page as a paying Oiselle Volee member because she is not in the forum to defend herself, so the 200+ thread will be deleted. You cannot talk about when Kelly Roberts is wrong on her Instagram page, because she will shame you on her blog and paint herself as a victim as well as claim that she can do as she wishes because of what she has “endured”. You cannot talk about when Kelly Roberts is wrong on her Facebook page because she will actually delete your comment & block you after you tell her that she hasn’t deleted a single comment. (Screenshots available).
That being said, Kelly Roberts, woman who claims to support all other women but actually does not: Stop. Lying. Of course, within hours of my post, suddenly she is starting a book club & the first book is “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”. No, Kelly Roberts, it is not shaming when someone has posted the truth about you in response to what you’ve said publicly. The current President of the United States is a fraud that is constantly lying – should we in the running community idly stand back as you do the same, not just once, but over and over again? While you are proven as an unremorseful cheat and bandit? As an honest, rule-abiding runner, I prefer that those that exist within the running community hold the same respect for the sport that you lack, and understand what they speak of prior to making grand general commentary about such issues that affect those of us that race competitively. No, I am not ever expecting to be or race as a competitive elite. However, unlike you, I have easily clarified my role as a runner & corrected anyone attempting to call me an elite runner or pro athlete. And I will not hesitate to clean up my playground from those that constantly continue to sully it.
Kelly has lied & perpetuated misinformation multiple times on social media, and I have clearly posted when she has. I have no problem standing up & speaking out for what is right. I have predicted what she will do in response to my comment (spoiler alert: she went to indicate that she was shamed like I said she would, as well as posted a podcast about grief, her go-to topic for whenever she happens to be called out for being wrong. Feel free to go back & see how often she has broken the rules in running and the topics she utilizes directly afterwards). As for the commentary she cultivated about the Boston Marathon prize money being sexist, you may publicly read my comment I posted to her Facebook page on Saturday May 5th, 2018 below as well as here:

I’ve followed the threads in this forum & on your Twitter about this specific topic that you’ve mistakenly attributed as a “sexist issue”, going so-far as to say “…don’t run the boston [sic] marathon if you’re a woman”, and then claiming that you deleted “outright disrespectful” comments (which, in fact, members of your forum that were watching closely have reported as an inaccurate claim). Ironic that you state not to run the Boston Marathon if you’re a woman, but qualifying is your current goal as per your #BQorBust attempts, extensive vlogs, & podcast posts. When others have kindly responded to you to indicate that “the rules aren’t sexist at face value” & “the article is wrong” you have ignored the truth and facts, continuing to exploit misinformation. Nobody was “coming after” you for sharing the Buzzfeed article, they were letting you know that it was inaccurate & you were incorrect in claiming for the sexism against women for prize money. “The anger on the internet towards women makes me sick”. No one in your forums was angry against women for racing, or you for that matter simply because you were a woman. You were wrong in what you stated, plain and simple. Blanket statements like that undermine legitimate equality issues in running & racing as a sport. Understanding the rules of racing as a runner is immensely important, especially when someone is an actual elite/pro athlete or within the range of an elite or sub-elite athlete. (It doesn’t mean that the rules don’t apply to everyone, they in fact do, all the way to the last runner of a race.) Racing competitively for place is entirely different than racing for a time (sometimes the two can converge). The fact that the elite start was implemented IN ORDER TO give women a fairer chance to race competitively for a place was entirely lost on your audience – meaning, the rules were NOT sexist to begin with, they were actually a move in the right direction towards racing equality & quality of televised women’s race presence. For you, who have been caught multiple times over many years to admitting to breaking the rules of racing in addition to continuously perpetuating misinformation & misrepresentation of yourself on social media forums, to not acknowledge your mistakes in not knowing the facts about running is misleading to your following, many of whom learn about running from you. For those of you that prefer learning the truth & facts about running and racing, especially as an elite/sub-elite/pro athlete no matter the level you run at, I am posting the comprehensive Runner’s World article here. The same legitimate publication that allowed us to learn that you bought your bib illegally to run for your #SelfieRunRepeat half-marathon and should have been banned by the rules of the NYRR for doing so, the same legitimate publication for runners that responded to your Twitter question about banditing with an article about why it is never okay, and the same legitimate publication that is written by the real experts in the field of running.

https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a20164215/boston-marathon-prize-money/

Before you state “Woof. Sounds like somebody needs a hug” or “I’m going to respond in love because we need more love in the world” or “Just another hater that needs love” or “[insert excuse here] Hope that’s okay :)” in response instead of acknowledging that there are only truth & facts in this comment, or write a passive/aggressive blog post that contradicts your previous blogs & statements which would further indicate your already proven hypocrisy, or record a podcast about the importance of forgiveness after speaking about your sponsors incessantly instead of understanding what you did wrong, or insinuating that you have a right to do what you do at races “after what I endured”, or creating a commentary about being an internet victim to bullying when others respond to you in truth or facts, or doxxing me on social media but not including my full factual statements, or attempting to deflect the content of what I have written with a grammar or spelling context revision, or stating that hurt people hurt people (I am not hurting, but I appreciate your concern in advance), or claiming that others will shame you for who you are as a human being in your next social media piece, or accusing that you’re being used for clicks, or claiming that you only lift women up because “elitist competitive runners” advocating for honest running make others feel unwelcome for running in the first place (but if a woman does wrong or breaks the rules, we are supposed to blindly support them, just because they’re a woman? No), or deleting/blocking me for bringing the reality of this racing situation to your attention directly to you as I have many other false situations you created, realize that there is no harm in openly stating that you “sometimes I do post bullshit”. Wait, you’ve already admitted to that in a podcast interview released in January. 14:16 & 33:17, Wisconsin Notes podcast. And before you claim to your audience that I’ve never once tried to talk to you, I responded to you with a post considering the opportunity to “begin or request a conversation on neutral grounds” on January 14th after you lied about blocking me on Twitter January 10th. You have chosen not to respond. You, of course, have that choice. Realize that your lack of a response to me or others will not stop those that see your hypocrisy from pointing it out. #SpeakOut
My hypothetical based on your previous actions: I’m certain you’ll post something about how rules aren’t always meant to be followed, or how if the rules don’t receive attention they’ll never be changed, or the rules are meant to be broken so you can justify your posts & your own illegitimate race actions. Of course we cannot enact change without realizing the need for change. There is absolutely a conversation now occurring with the BAA in resonse to this unique racing situation; however, your lack of knowledge about the subject is evident, as indicated by your lack of understanding about what it means to be labeled & racing as an elite with regards to time requirements & entry fields. There has been nothing but respectful education on your socials regarding this matter. I’ll leave the lack of knowledge you have had when you have posted about the Victoria’s Secret show with no understanding of representation in the world of modeling, or shaming women that wear makeup to workout while you still wear makeup in your posts immediately after stating not to do so (there is nothing wrong with or without wearing makeup in general or to race/workout – but to openly reject others as you had stated lacks supporting all women), or any of the other hypocritical, incorrect posts/statements/comments you have made for another time.
Signed,
#RunnersAgainstCheating