Something very wrong is happening in our local running community of which I would like to make you aware. Race Directors, as you may know, have very little in the way of real and tangible property. Sure they have their cones and clocks, but in the end they serve no purpose if they have no race to conduct. And while race ‘ownership’ doesn’t really exist, respect and ethical behavior does. Or rather, they should.
Since 2008, Eident Sports has produced the races in Newport in October. The full and the half that take runners out and around Ocean Drive and into Middletown and Portsmouth. They invest their resources, their talents, their sweat. They front a lot of money making contracts with no guarantee that Mother Nature will cooperate. Much like the third Sunday in August is the Common Fence Point 5 Miler, and the 4th Saturdayin March is the Run the Reservoir in Foster, October in Newport is Eident’s. Of course there are no decrees of ownership, and while no common law exists for these events, the reality is that there IS common law. It is this: compete, don’t steal. Don’t cheat. We saw the right way two Springs ago: Reach the Beach was in year 4 of their Massachusetts race from Wachusett to Westport. Relay giant, Ragnar ran a competitive event in the Spring weeks apart on a different course. RTB came up a distant second in terms of participants. Ragnar won. I don’t like the outcome. I haven’t run a Ragnar event. But they did it right: compete, don’t steal.
Eident has made the investments in their Newport event. It is nationally recognized for its quality. And there’s an attempt being made to steal it… complete with promises of donations, political connections, and corporate rivalry. We should not sit idly by. If another race organization wants to take ownership of distance events in Newport, go for it. Create your event. Invest in it. Market it. Produce it. Make it great. We runners would love another high quality road race. But don’t choose the existing event. You did absolutely nothing to make that what it is, and it isn’t your right. The only right you have is to compete. Otherwise, you are no different than the one who took the green line to Boylston Street and accepted her Ivy wreath only to be exposed later. We don’t get to decide what our reputations are; our actions do. Ask Rosie Ruiz.
What can you do? Be heard. Contact the city councilors listed below. Tell them about how you recognize quality and value loyalty. Tell them they should too. Remind them that Eident is responsible for the economic impact of those 4000 runners each Columbus Day in Newport, spending money in their city, at businesses who’s citizens elected them. Eident is responsible. Tell them they should vote on Eident’s permit request first, and not the one of the group whose owner is connected politically. Tell them they don’t get to decide what their reputation is.
Jeanne-Marie Napolitano: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marco Camcho: email@example.com
Lynn Underwood Ceglie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Leonard: KLeonard@cityofnewport.com
Naomi Neville: email@example.com
John Florez: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin McLaughlin: email@example.com
If you would like more specific details of these happenings, you can (and probably should) read about them here:
Susan Rancourt is the Executive Director of Eident Sports, and a member of Rhode Island Road Runners.
Please be heard on this… facebook, email, phone calls.
Rhode Island Road Runners