There was some controversy at the Dolomyths Skyrace in Canazei, Italy last weekend. The Salomon Golden Trail Series event is a 22K race gaining 1,700 metres in elevation, and course records were broken in both the men and women’s races. Davide Magnini of Italy won in 2:00:28, while Judith Wyder of Switzerland won her first Skyrace in 2:18:51. When the race organizers highlighted the elite men in the Vertical Kilometre presentation as well as a surprise bonus for breaking the two-hour barrier at the awards ceremony but did not offer a similar bonus for the women, trail running athletes shared their concerns.
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Disappointed to see a great racing day tainted by a reoccurring topic in our sport. Elite presentation of the men only in the VK, and a bonus for breaking a record based on men’s time standards and nothing for a women’s time standard. How much is it to ask for men and women to receive equal recognition? #21stcentury 📷 @martiskka 🙏
Second-place finisher Ruth Croft of New Zealand expressed her disappointment at the unequal representation at the awards ceremony, describing it as “a reoccurring topic in our sport.” The Dolomyths Skyrace claims to treat men and women equally in their races, and apologized after the fact, explaining their decisions. That there was a presentation for the men’s Vertical Kilometre race and not the women’s was due to a limited number of registered runners and availability of athletes, they said.
The Dolomyths organizers also explained the two-hour barrier men’s prizing was a last-minute decision, and one they acknowledge and regret. In response to the controversy, race organizers have decided to have a time barrier for the women’s race in the future. In their apology, the organizers requested that those affected by the decisions investigate further before judging.
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After an unforgettable weekend of racing we have to say that we are really sad for the controversy highlighted by @ruthcrofty about the apparent discrimination for a certain bonus for breaking the course record. So, There is a misunderstanding, we did not say that we were giving a bonus for either the men or women. There has never been prize money for a broken record. Our policy is to treat men and women equally, and this is what we have always done.. We have been doing this for over 10 years. We are giving the same prize money for both categories. What we decided at the last moment (and of course we regret it now)was to give a bonus for the first one who was gonna break the 2 – hour barrier. So this was not about the record. For example even if Davide would have broken the record time, but not the 2hour barrier, he would not get a bonus. What we should have done was to put a women's time barrier as well, and this we will do. We, as organizers, are still humans and as so we can make mistake too. Apparently this one was one of those. But keep in mind that we have always treated both genders equally. P.s: You pointed out there was just an elite presentation for the men and not for the women. Yes this is right, but it’s not because we didn’t want to, it’s because we tried to have the few that were registered on stage but sadly they were not available or they were not in town yet. So,before judging we kindly ask you to investigate more because behind this race there’s real people working at it during their spare time and They put in a lot of effort, passion and heart into creating a stellar event. Thanks for reading and see you next year! 💪🏼🏃🏼♀️🚀 📸 @martiskka
Athletes present at the Dolomyths Skyrace were not the only ones sharing concern about the discrepancy. Trail runner Sandi Nypaver commented on the organizers’ apology, writing, “As a high-level race, they need to set the example and not make last-minute decisions that are poorly thought through. They could have been very clear beforehand that women were not available for the presentation or delayed the presentation until more women arrived. Of course people will make assumptions when things are not publicly stated. With that said, I greatly applaud the race for admitting mistakes were made and making sure they don’t happen again.”
After initially sharing concerns, Western States 2019 winner Clare Gallagher commented her relief at the formal apology made by Dolomyths Skyrace, writing, “So glad to read this. A great example for other races that might also have made honest mistakes in not having equal prizes, representation, bonuses, or other areas where women haven’t been treated equally. We can have productive discussions and create solutions!”