June 20, 2008WELL RUN: A good race like the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge is the exception, not the rule here, say athletes, upset that recent endurance contests failed to meet the mark. -- PHOTO: JP MORGAN
Endurance races run into litany of complaints
By Lin Xinyi
FOR two months, Steven Chan, 39, trained six times a week for one of the bigger races on his calendar this year: The Saab City Duathlon, an endurance test that requires athletes to run 10km, hop on their bikes for a 40km ride, and finish off with a 5km run.
But come race day two weeks ago, the 39-year-old assistant general manager was left disappointed - not with his performance, but the way the event was organised.
Confusion reigned at the race because the bike leg was shortened to 22km at the last minute, and competitors were not told.
Said Mr Chan: 'Athletes were not told of the change before the race started, and inside the bike course, everyone was asking everyone else how many loops we had to cycle. It was very much a case of the blind leading the blind.'
For endurance athletes, for whom settling into a groove early in a race is as important as fitness, it was a nightmare.
When told by stewards that they had to ride five loops of about 5km each, many participants were incredulous.
Convinced that they would be disqualified for riding 22km when the pre-race briefings clearly stated that the bike route was 40km, they cycled more than they needed to.
Engineer Sante Scartozzi, 40, rode the full 40km and it cost him dearly. He said: 'If I had done five loops, I would have finished second in my age group.' Instead, he was placed 33rd.
For Mr Scartozzi, who has taken part in eight endurance races this year, the duathlon was the worst in terms of organisation.Read the complete article @ The Straits Times