I’m still playing catch-up on some things that went down while I was away in Africa and one of the more amusing –– and eye opening –– stories that I missed while away took place at the Green Lakes Endurance Run 50K. The race, which is held in Fayetteville, NY was won by ultrarunner Ellie Pell, who finished in 3 hours, 58 minutes, and 37 seconds. In doing so, she claimed the event’s two trophies and exposed a bit of a snafu, not to mention some bias on the part of the event organizers.
By crossing the finish line a full seven minutes ahead of the next competitor, who happened to be a man, Ellie not only picked up the plaque for being the first amongst females, as well as the first place finisher overall as well. Unfortunately, the race director didn’t have a plaque for the first place male, which left Richard Ellsworth –– who finished in second –– out of luck, at least for now. Race director Tim Hardy promised to order an award for Ellsworth too.
Clearly Hardy and his team hadn’t anticipated a woman winning the race, and to be fair it had never been done before in the history of the event. Still, as female runners continue to improve and get faster, the chances of them winning, particularly in a non-elite field, grows as well. Pell demonstrated this at the 50K run, dominated all of the other competition, both male and female.
Moving forward, Hardy says that he still doesn’t expect to have separate trophies for both men and women, but will instead look to honor the top six finishers regardless of gender. He also says that he was cheering Pell on in the final lap of the Green Lakes 50K, telling her she was just 30 seconds behind the men and that she could catch them. Still, it seems even he was a bit surprised by her accomplishment, as she averaged a 7:40 pace across the entire course.
Congrats to Ellie on finishing first and showing us all how its done. Hopefully other race organizers will take notice of this and come up with a suitable option for if and when a female runner wins their event too.
Thanks to Runners World for the tip on this story.