What do the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the Disney Princess Half Marathon have in common? Men won them both.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the recent growth of women’s road races.
This year, at least a dozen races styled for women are having their debuts across America, from the Nashville Women’s Half Marathon on Sept. 25, to Long Island’s Divas Half Marathon a week later.
However, in the interests of pleasing sponsors and avoiding legal troubles, these races allow male participation.
Men can register for these races, as footnotes on the event websites note. Technically allowing guys to run avoids legal spats, pleases charity sponsors whose fund-raisers are often male and engenders a magnanimous spirit. But these races tolerate rather than welcome male participants.
Organizers are literally doing everything they can to get guys to stop running in these races.
To discourage male interest, many women’s races present trophies only to female winners. Goodie bags often contain feminine-cut T-shirts, along with swag like perfume samples, chocolates and pink sandals. One race is giving away feather boas and tiaras.
Ahead of its Oct. 2 inaugural half marathon, Run Like a Diva announced that finishers’ medals will be awarded by bare-chested male firefighters. “We had four men signed up, but two dropped out when they heard about the firemen,” says Mr. Pozo, the race organizer. “We’re making this race so girly that men won’t want any part of it.”
Still, though, men are participating. Rick Cordes won last year’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon. He crossed the finish line to a chorus of hisses and boos. He taunted the crowd, touching an index finger to his lips—only then realizing that he was still a 48-year-old real-estate broker, who’d just won a women’s half marathon.
Jonathan Mederos won last year’s Disney Princess Half Marathon, a race designed “for a princess earning her glass running slippers or a woman who runs her kingdom already.” He says he ran the race for his girlfriend, as her “prince.”
That is not okay.
At least there’s one guy who’s honest about his involvement.
“If you want to meet fit young women,” said Christopher Sopko, a 31-year-old pilot in the Ohio Air National Guard, “it’s hard to beat.”