Responses from the NYC Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon

Last week I wrote a letter to the race directors of the NYC Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon as a reaction to the allegations of racism at those events. I chose to write about these two separate incidents in a single letter because my concern was not about the individual event of itself, but the underlying threat of overt prejudice and hatred that these incidents portends. I wanted it to be clear that concerned citizens, such as myself, do not want these behaviors normalized in the community that we’re a part of.

I received responses from NYRR and the city of Philadelphia, which I’ll post below.

nyrr

philly

In particular, I was gratified to hear that the City of Philadelphia are going to set “explicit volunteer guidelines that will stress cultural sensitivity and tolerance.” Bigoted behavior does not occur in a vacuum. People will engage in these acts if they believe that those acts are supported. By sending an explicit message that prejudiced behavior is not condoned, it takes away the arena for that behavior to be expressed and supported (passively or actively) by the public and sends a message of inclusion and support to people who may otherwise feel marginalized.

Running should only have races and not racism.

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22 thoughts on “Responses from the NYC Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon

  1. Thanks Lil ❤

    Your writing made a big difference! Anger is so bad. I was a little bit angry after Philly and it came out in how I talked with friends later in the week.

    Even in running– anger makes you feel like you are working hard but you are really just burning up energy. I'm not angry in the least anymore after reading the responses you received. Thanks for the measure of mental peace. This is invaluable to me.

  2. “Running should only have races and not racism.” Amen. I’m so glad that you reached out to both races and also that you heard back from each. It’s important that they are aware and even more important that it not happen again.

  3. I’m glad they got back to you, although I’m a little bummed that NYRR didn’t really say what they were going to do about the incident. I guess it’s just a personal wish that the horrible volunteer got tackled by some of the spectators. You’re so right that some people will display unacceptable bigotry if they think they will be supported by others (hence the danger of our current political climate), and strong repudiation of these behaviors must follow.

    Anyway, thank YOU for standing up against racism.

    • Thank you for your support, Judy. Yeah, I would have liked it if NYRR made a stronger stand, but considering the information that I passed to them was third hand and that they had already heard about it and dealt with it, perhaps this is the best we can expect.

    • Yes, it was great. When I first published the post with my letter, I wondered if I was going to get people trivializing and diminishing the emotional toll that these acts take, but I got a lot of support. It makes me feel good to know that people understand and are allies in the fight.

    • Yes, NYRR actually responded pretty quickly (probably because they already knew about what had happened and dealt with it). Philly took a few more days, but I knew they were reading because I saw that the post was being accessed through philly.gov email addresses.

  4. Wow. It’s encouraging to see how writing can make a difference.
    I’m glad to see that they are not only planning to address the individual, but the volunteering situation as a whole.

  5. So pleased you took this directly to the race officials. Hopefully this will also have the impact of curtailing similar behaviors at other races. Running is one of the few areas of live where we (have been) free of this. Thank you for doing your part in keeping it from creeping further into our running world.

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