Late last week, it came out that the Competitor Group (who sponsors the RockNRoll series) has decided to halt support for the elite athlete program immediately, including the Philly event happening in two weeks. Athletes who were already committed will not be given their promised travel and lodging support. Even more significantly, all elite athlete support going forward has been stopped. I suspected such a transition was in the works when they stopped offering prize money for place and only offered prizes for running under a certain time regardless of finish order.
In March, I was an athlete supported by CGI at the RockNRoll USA event. While they didn’t pay my travel or lodging, my race fee was comped and I had VIP access to race day amenities including a post-race tent with a booze filled spread. Think I found a place where you can save money, CGI, but I digress. For that race, I had the pleasure of working with Matt Turnbull who was the Elite Athlete Coordinator for CGI. He is an excellent human and fought tirelessly for us. I liked him enough that I sent him an email when the news broke letting him know that although I am livid with CGI, I appreciated all his work. I suggest all elites who worked with Matt do the same. Punish the corporation, not the person who was on our team.
Others have already written great analyses of why this decision is such a poor one and a big hit for elite and sub-elite runners so I won’t add much.
Bullshit, CGI. You are dedicated to making money off of people who don’t know to demand more from races than unmanned water stations because no one volunteers and 2 hour waits for bag pickup. Add me to the list of athletes who hope that your short-sighted decision bankrupts your organization and gets road racing back to an affordable sport for all and that someone else steps up to support the continued development of American distance runners.