In the Interest of Balance…

UTMB 2015

Each week we get press releases from race organisers, which are either previews of the race or event reviews. These are great to receive as we want to report on races and we can’t get to as many as we would like to. Usually these press releases are pretty well balanced regarding the men and women taking part. Hopefully, they cover the top tipped athletes for the race pre-race, or the podiums post-race and provide equal coverage for the men and women. However, sometimes they don’t.

Last week we happened to get a race review from a very big international marathon, which gave little mention to the women and, of the three photos they provided, all three were of men. We were pretty disappointed. I wrote to them, pointing out the lack of equality, but didn’t receive a response. I was even more disappointed. But then, we received a race review from a small marathon (one we really love and want to support) WHICH DIDN’T MENTION WOMEN AT ALL. It just listed the first, second and third finishers in the marathon and half marathon events. We just don’t think that’s ok at all.

We don’t really think we should have to point out why that’s not ok, but if you’re one of the race organisers who really aren’t getting this, here are a few pointers:

  1. This is 2018. I don’t think we need to say any more on that.
  2. 50% of the population are women. Most of the other 50% who aren’t women are still interested in women’s sport.
  3. Women and men work equally hard to achieve those results. Equal coverage of them seems pretty fair.

But let’s be positive and say that most race organisers do a great job. Here’s the press release for the Frankfurt Marathon from this weekend’s race. Beautifully balanced.

So if you are a race organiser or PR company sending us a press release about your race, we’d love to hear from you if you’re keen to tell us about both your male and female competitors. But if you ignore the women then the publicity you get for your race might not be the sort you want.