I am republishing this article, I originally posted this on May 6, 2016.
The overall feedback I have received from the public regarding my work on the blog and the Boston reviews has been positive. (At some point I will try to clarify the review and filtering process – but runners that just had a bad day in Boston, or paced a friend, or just took their time, are not going to be singled out. They have nothing to worry about).
There has been debate on both ends regarding my blog posts. Again, most people are supportive. But there are some that feel like every time I post, I am shaming people that don’t deserve it. Whether I name them or not. There are others that have criticized me for not releasing the list of everyone that was identified as having cheated to run Boston in 2015.
I’ve thought a lot about this. I have made posts in the past that I probably wouldn’t make now given the attention this blog is now getting. I have not hidden from the debate – that would be easy to do – and probably better for my sanity.
I am very selective on what I post now. I can only post on a fraction of the stories that come to my attention. As the sole writer on this blog, I have to make that decision myself. I have to make sure what I post is accurate. If I decide to name someone on the blog, it is not to shame them for the sake of shaming them.
What is Shaming?
Their clients deserve to know the facts. They deserve the truth. They may chose to ignore this information, but they deserve the opportunity to make that decision. If you hire a financial planner, or a C.P.A, or go to the doctor, you would want to know if there is evidence that their credentials are less than they claim. The same holds true if you spend your money to hire a trainer/running coach. You may not care whether they qualified for Boston or not, but you may care that this person that you trusted and admired may have been less than honest.
There are those that want me to release the names of all the runners that have been identified from Boston ’15. In my opinion, most of those cases would fall under the ‘Bad shaming’. I am responsible for everything I post. It would not feel right to me if the firefighter mentioned in the Runner’s World article lost his job over his decision to cut the course to qualify for Boston. The proper consequence, in my opinion, would be disqualification from both the qualifier and Boston.
I am reporting all of the runners to the appropriate races.
Who made me the marathon police?
I’ve been posting on the blog since last August, and nearly no one noticed. I did not seek out this level of attention.
Late last summer, I had the idea to investigate a sample of Boston runners and worked with others to determine how significant the cheating was. I did want to bring attention to that issue, and not necessarily to myself. At that point I ran the blog anonymously.
Late last year I was contacted by Runner’s World after the reporter had talked to someone else in the FB group I was a part of. I agreed to work with them and provide them the results of our work for a future article. I thought this would be the best way to raise awareness and help deter cheating.
As a result of all of this, I began receiving more emails regarding runners to review, offers to help, etc. Suddenly I found myself in the role of an advocate for these runners that mostly wanted to remain anonymous. All while working a full time job that has nothing to due with marathons or running.
With the Added Attention Comes Added Responsibility
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