Proposal 2 From London City AC
Equalise senior race distances
We call on the Met league to come in line with the vast majority of running events and welcome women and men equally. We believe a key principle of our running community is that women and men should have equality of competition opportunities and experiences. This means equal race distances, age categories, prizes and status. Currently senior race distances are different - approx. 6k for women and approx. 8k for men.
We propose the Met league AGM votes on the question:
“This league is in favour of equal race distances for senior women and men”.
If the answer to this is yes, then we propose that for each fixture the host club decides which course they prefer to use for the senior races – the distance should be the same for both senior races - between approx. 6k and approx. 8k.
Equality should be a core value of our clubs, races and community. Our sport should welcome everyone equally and provide a good example to other sports.
Juniors immediately pick up on gender differences. We’ve seen talented girls who genuinely believe they aren’t capable of running the distance the boys do, we’ve seen juniors watching senior races discussing reasons why women can’t run as far as men. We strongly believe our sport should set a better example to our young athletes.
Most running events on road, track, trail, fell are raced over equal distances. Nobody is asking for these to change.
Many cross country leagues and championships are raced over equal distances – including IAAF international XC, Intercounties XC, Scottish national XC champs (equalised for 3 years now and attracting record numbers), Essex and Suffolk county champs. Equal local leagues include the Peco league in Yorkshire, the Thames Valley league, the Chingford league, Run Herts Sunday league and many others. Nobody is asking for these to change, numbers continue to grow. Using the Chingford League as an example, race distances range from around 5k to 8k, plus a 4x2M relay fixture.
The only reason some race distances are not equal is that women only started being allowed to race in these a few decades ago. Participation was understandably low to start. This is no longer an issue.
Currently in the Met league the senior women’s race is approx. 6k and the senior men’s race approx. 8k. This proposal allows host clubs to choose the best course for their event – both to get the best race out of the terrain offered by their course, and to suit their on the day logistics. Existing rules allow host clubs to amend event start times if they need to.
Equalising distances will mean only small changes for athletes – 6k and 8k aren't that different, and are both well within the bounds of the distances senior athletes expect and regularly run at other club races, leagues and championships.
Looking at xc races that are equal (e.g. Chingford league, Scottish nationals, Essex Nationals), sometimes the last finisher is male, sometimes female – it depends on the athletes racing. For example, this year in the Scottish Nationals the slowest senior competitor was male, in the Essex champs the slowest competitor was female.