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  • Help for Distance Runners

    Would some type of Professional Road Racing Tour help the distance runners (5k and over)in the US. Would give them a place to go after collge. Similar to other professional tours (PGA, NASCAR, Tennis). Various races could be scheduled through-out the year for tour members only at various distances with prise money. A point system could also be set-up to earn points at each race that goes to a tour champion with extra prize money for the top tour places. Races could vary from 5k to 10k in the hot summer to a early spring and and late fall marathon. Say maybe 12 to 15 races per year. You could even establish tour championship races by designating a few races Championship races (i.e 10k, 1/2 Mar, marathon) with extra prise money and double points.

    You could have tour qualifying races or series of races. You could have satellite tours or developmental tours for say "US only runners". A womens tour, a masters tour. Seems like we have been very hodgepodge for the past 30 years on road races with no true professional tour shaping up (although something was tried in early 80's but didn't have proper support, thought behind it).

    Something of this type would give something more tangible for US runner after they graduate college (more than racing a 10k for $500, you can't support a family on the possiblity of $500 every third weekend.)

    Let me know what you think?

  • #2
    Re: Help for Distance Runners

    Great idea but who would pay for it? that is, where would the money come from for the prize purses?

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    • #3
      Re: Help for Distance Runners

      Tour sponsors and race sponsors such as Nike, GE, etc. Similar to the PGA or Nascar.

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      • #4
        Re: Help for Distance Runners

        Ok, just wanted to make sure. Now all we need to do is convince these sponsors that these tours will work and that the ratings will be there. The major networks might not go for this if they think the ratings won't be there. We can always count on ESPN & ESPN2 can't we?

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        • #5
          Re: Help for Distance Runners

          Koby, what I want to know is how you're able to access the Net from the slam? I was out of contact for weeks!

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          • #6
            Re: Help for Distance Runners

            In Canada, there is are several programs that are directed at a "tour" concept. The basic funding for prize money are the "citizen races" , for the everyday runner. What I see , the most compt aspect of getting people together to form a tour , is that the major shoe companies want there own exclusive rights to the event. Its an all or nothing deal.

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            • #7
              Re: Help for Distance Runners

              >You could have satellite
              >tours or developmental tours for say "US only
              >runners". A womens tour, a masters tour. Seems
              >like we have been very hodgepodge for the past 30
              >years on road races with no true professional
              >tour shaping up (although something was tried in
              >early 80's but didn't have proper support,
              >thought behind it).

              Not a bad idea but sponsors won't bite. They won't want to pay for "US" only races. That would be like a "b" race. As soon as you open it up the Kenyans will rule. Also, it would encourage excessive racing which would ultimately be detrimental for track athletes.

              It would be better for sponsors to help developing athletes by giving the athletes money if they meet time standards - the problem with this is also they will be giving more money to say the 3rd best American than the 30th best Kenyan both of whom may have the same time.

              Sponsors would have to determine if it was in their best interest for a future marketing perspective to help the Americans get back into
              the thick of things. I think it would - but I'm biased.

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              • #8
                Re: Help for Distance Runners

                Sorry---been there, done that, didn't work.

                See February '95 issue of T&FN for the announcement of not one, but two professional road circuits (some races belong to both).

                ARRA (Association of Road Racing AThletes) started the PRO races, with 13 races. USATF backed USARC (USA Running Circuit) with 10 races.

                They lasted a couple of years before fading away.

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                • #9
                  Re: Help for Distance Runners

                  Ultrarunner - there is a Prefessional Road Running Tour now - it's just dominated by the Kenyans. Any sun 30:00 guy or sub 35:00 gal can litterally race to their harts content every weekend during the spring/summer/fall at money races here in the U.S.. The faster the race, the higher quality the field, and once races start awarding over $1000 for first place, second-tier Kenyans and others sniff it out. At $3000+ you start seeing the Kenyan A team, and there goes US prize money.

                  I for one think US only prize money is dishonoring the foreign runers who train for the US circuit. Much like states cancelling or dumbing down High School proficiency tests so "enough" kids can get their diploma (who cares if they can actually read) - giving money to US athletes at the expense of more deserving runners is not in keeping with the pure objective nature of our sport.

                  I think Runners World and other publications still have Road Runner Rankings, there are just not many Americans in the rankings. Having met and trained (on their VERY easy days) with several of the top Kenyan road "aces" over the years, I can assest to their humility, work ethic, kindness, willingness to give advice, and desire to win. Any circuit which does not include them won't get much sponsor interest since they ARE the best.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Help for Distance Runners

                    "Having met and trained (on their VERY easy days) with several of the top Kenyan road "aces" over the years, I can assest to their humility, work ethic, kindness, willingness to give advice, and desire to win. Any circuit which does not include them won't get much sponsor interest since they ARE the best." - El Surprimo

                    I wasn't saying that the Kenyans would not be allowed on the main tour. They would have to be because the idea of the tour would be for the best of the best. My thought was that there may be a need for a smaller developmental tour with less prize money of course for certain groups only in order to give them a stepping stone until they are ready to mix it up with the big boys (sorta like the minor leagues.)

                    I appreciate what you aid about the current situation. You are on the money with your review of the races available and money breakout. I was just thinking that a more organized tour would help everyone out, from trying to get better media coverage, sponsorship, timeing of the races, etc. More organized is what I was after.

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