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More Men Are Competing in Women's Races

Men Competing in Women-Designated Races: Cool or Not?

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting piece this week on the rising trend of men competing in women's races. The article called out a Mr. Jonathan Mederos, a 25-year-old philosophy teacher who, among other things, is last year's winner of Disney's Princess Half Marathon. Jonathan isn't the first guy to piggyback on a race that is clearly for women, and as such, some race organizers are pulling out the stops to discourage it from happening even more.

". . . 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."

Salon also recounts that in the upcoming Run Like a Diva half marathon, "medals will be presented by shirtless firemen." Adding the commentary that all this girlie behavior — shirtless men, pink boas, and skirt-themed races — may have the potential to turn off female competitors, too.

It wasn't that long ago that women had to fight to even compete in a marathon, let alone alongside men. 1972 marked the year that we were allowed to run the Boston marathon; before that female participants resorted to bandit running or registering under ambiguous names. Under this huge umbrella, the idea of men competing in female races is a tricky argument, especially when their reasons for doing so vary across the board. How would you feel if you looked around while running a "princess" marathon only to be surrounded by Tom, Dick, and Harry?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
HenryReyesJrREALTOR HenryReyesJrREALTOR 5 years
I have three sisters, and they are all different. One would do a race with males, & females, one might and the other wouldn’t for many factors. I think that women should be able to compete in a women only event (without males) if that is what was the original intent of the event. BTW: Don’t events usually offer different categories?
inlove23 inlove23 6 years
Men hog everything! Let women have atleast one race to ourselves!!
Berzerker Berzerker 6 years
Hey "AGuy", you might want to learn proper English the next time you post a comment. Ah what do I care you'll just bury yourself no matter what.
itsthatgaljay itsthatgaljay 6 years
I think that if it is an athletic race, there should be one for men and women, as men have an advantage. In charitable races, I think men should be able to race too - it isn't just women who want to run the race for life to support breast cancer charities!
RunningOnCoffee RunningOnCoffee 6 years
I said Not Cool for the guys who are running to feel faster by comparing themselves to women. I've only run in co-ed races, and I'm no where near the front, so it doesn't really bother me. I kinda like that men registering for the female events are given women's shirts though. It's like the races I've done where they only give out shirts in men's sizes. As I'm 5'2", that means they make a better dress than a t-shirt.
DellaBella DellaBella 6 years
The women who fought for the right to be EQUAL in a man's world would be ashamed at not allowing men to compete in a race! Now that we are in a society moving towards equality, why take steps backwards towards discrimination by discriminating against men? How would you feel if you heard there was an "all male race" or a "white only race"? Seems pretty discriminatory to me - which is not the point of running. Running is for everyone, and should be shared by and with everyone.
darc5204 darc5204 6 years
If men can't have men-only races that bar women (and we all know how that would be received), then there's no reason men should be barred from "women's" events.
kclulu kclulu 6 years
I think all races should be open to everyone without judgement. It was not very long ago that women weren't allow to run in marathons and were not neccesarily greeted with open arms when they did. To flip and reverse that and look down on men for running a woman's race is also unfair. Man or woman, we are all runners who have trained hard to get to the start line and that is worth celebrating together. And btw, a swag bag with feather boas and tiaras is not something I would be excited about. It would be great if race shirts at all races came with the option of a woman's cut though!
benheld benheld 6 years
I think it depends on the race. If it's in the rules that it is a women's only race, then participants should respect that. If it's just *implied* that it's a woman's race, than by all means, men can sign up to run as well. As a side note, an all pink-themed event with bare-chested men awarding medals would be a definitely turn me AWAY from a race. Yuck.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I don't know, it just feels rude to compete in a race that clearly isn't meant for you. There are a TON of them, so it's not like guys don't have other options.
taylvs3 taylvs3 6 years
Is this at al like rabitting? Are the men competing just for themselves, or pacing them women?
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
Who the fuck wants a tiara? Just give a trophy and cool prizes to the winning male and winning female. Seriously, what is the big deal with having gender specific races. We wanted to compete with them, fine, let them compete with us.
SaraJeanQueen SaraJeanQueen 6 years
So not cool. And it has nothing to do with the prizes -- most women don't enter a race for the pink themes and a "feminine-cut" t-shirt -- but it's annoying because the men are just doing it for some ego boost. Some will do anything for a win, even if it means crashing a course they're not welcome at because the other male competition will be at home. LAME!
ksduffster ksduffster 6 years
I've never cared for (or understood, really) female-only sporting events/teams, so I'm all for desegregating races. You're either going to try to be better than your previous best (and not care about the other runners so much) or you're going to pick someone in the pack to pace off and motivate you to go faster. What difference does it make if that person has boy-bits or girl-bits?
Spartygirl03 Spartygirl03 6 years
I love the atmosphere of an all women's race! I understand why some would think it's okay, but then it kind of defeats the purpose of an all women's race! Guys should have their own, too!
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