I’ve addressed criticism that the site shames runners about a year ago. I’ve re-posted this article a couple of times. I stand by what I wrote in The Difference Between Holding People Accountable and ‘Bad Shaming’
Recently, however, I have noticed a pattern when people are called out. When someone gets called out for cheating, lying, acting hypocritically or unethically, instead of rebutting with FACTS , or owning up to the behavior, they (or their supporters) claim that my articles shame them or result in bullying. Some claim that what is written about them are ‘lies’ but offer no facts to disprove what was written. They accept no accountability
I am going to address some specific instances where these tactics were used in relation to some recent articles that I have written.
Marathonguide Bib Seller
When I wrote an article about the runner that was trying to buy a Boston bib through Marathonguide – offering to run a qualifying time, I reached out to the sellers for comment. One seller replied. Even after I told the seller that I would not reveal them, she told me that I was shaming her, picking on a poor student.
She claimed to be personal friends with Dave McGillvray (Boston R.D). She also noted I was from Cleveland and claimed her dad had a connection with Lebron James’ agent. She said that he may be interested in how I am picking on a poor college student. Ridiculous stuff. Again I was not going to post anything remotely identifiable. She downplayed the seriousness of selling her bib. She said that if Dave knew about this that he would just tell her to not do it again.
When I posted the article and stated that I would be reporting her, she changed her tone. She was worried about a lifetime ban. But she was blaming me for this, and accepting zero accountability. She told me how hard she trained, and that this was not fair. Again, that is not my fault for uncovering that she sold her bib. It is her fault for selling the bib. She has to live with the consequences.
Trainer and Boston Bombing ‘Survivor’
Just last week I wrote about Katie Dolaher. She ran with a friend’s bib and also misrepresented her proximity to the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. In interviews promoting her participation in The Most Inspiring Trainer contest, she stated that she was either feet away from the finish line or a few blocks from the finish line. However the timing data clearly shows she was about 1-1/2 miles from the finish at the time of the explosion.
I emailed Katie 24 hours before posting the article, asking her both about the circumstances relating to the bib for 2017 and her proximity to the finish line at the time of the bombing. I did not receive a response until about 30 minutes AFTER I posted the article.
“Derek, please contact me immediately in regards to the false writings of your story. You have not even spoken to me regarding my story nor do you know who I ran for”
She was right, I did not speak to her. I knew whose bib she ran with but not the details. I did not know these things because SHE IGNORED MY EMAIL.
I responded via email (I was at work and could not immediately call – I also prefer email in some instances so that I can have record of the communication) asking her what in my article was false. I received no response.
Her sister however did come to Katie’s defense on the MarathonInvestigation Facebook page.
Everyone should check the facts and not Derek’s facts. Katie inspires people everyday. She ran the marathon this year for a dear friend who is battling a devastating sickness. She did NOT steal a bib.
I did not say she stole a bib. I knew it was the original bib and not a copy. I did not know how she obtained the bib because SHE IGNORED MY EMAIL. The key facts are that she ran with someone else’s bib and that she exaggerated her proximity to the bomb. – particularly during interviews relating to the most Inspirational Trainer contest.
Was it right that she ran in her place so that she could get her friend across the finish line? Yes it was a courageous and generous thing to do. Did Derek check these facts, no? He decided to write an article to tear someone down publicly. This world is full of negativity these days. How about trying to lift people up?
How is it courageous or generous to run with someone else’s bib? Regardless, she ran with SOMEONE ELSE’S bib. That is never justified. Again, this is another case of someone doing something wrong, and lashing out at the person that dares to call them out for it.
As far as the 2013 marathon goes, she did not finish as she was turned around as were many others. She never mentioned she did finish! Her entire family was there that day at the finish line at the Forum and had no idea where they were when she was stopped. Yes, these tragic events affect everyone differently and are far too common. So, please before you type a comment think to yourself would you want to be publicly shamed before the facts were really checked?
I never said that she claimed to have finished. Some of her posts could be interpreted that way, but I never posted about that. My issue that I asked Katie about was the inconsistencies regarding her location that day when the bombs went off. Understandable she may not have recalled her exact location. But 1-1/2 miles is not ‘feet away’ or 3 blocks away.
Between Katie’s response and her sister’s response they are quick to question the facts and post about lies, but post nothing to refute what I wrote. No, I didn’t have the full story about her friend whose bib she ran with because SHE IGNORED MY EMAIL.
If you are going to question the facts and call me a liar, then tell me what facts are wrong or what “lies” I posted. I asked this question on Facebook and via email, but have not received a response.
People that cheat, lie, steel, deceive, etc. are simply able to yell “Bully!!” or “Shaming!!” when someone asks them legitimate questions. This is unfair to those that are truly victimized by bullying or shaming. Writing an article about someone that knowingly cheated in a race, ran with someone else’s bib, or lied in order to enhance their pubic image, is NOT bullying or shaming.
Unfortunately, sometimes people’s reactions to articles can cross the line. That is not unique to my website. I cannot control everyone’s reaction to what they read. I do moderate the comments on both Facebook and this site when I feel a comment crosses the line.
Maine Coast Marathon
I was even accused of bullying an entire Marathon. An issue at The Maine Coast Marathon led to runners running an extra 1/2 mile.
So you’ve moved on to attacking races now. I bet ANYTHING the RD didn’t want to pay you for your “services” so you do this.
This is absolutely false, and again a statement bordering on libel. I’ve posted on other similar issues, and will report on future issues. Runners should be aware when issues come up and how these issues are handled by the races. There were comments that my posting the article on The Maine Coast Marathon could be crippling to the race. For what it’s worth Runner’s World and Daily Mail also reported on this exact issue and I did not see similar criticisms to their articles.
On February 22nd, I posted this article. Women’s Running Magazine Defends Cheaters and Then Calls Out a Cheater.
As a part of the article I posted about Kelly Roberts (Runselfierepeat.com). Below is the entirety of what I posted regarding Kelly in that article.
I do, however disagree with calling out the entire running community. The people that act in this manner are relatively small in number, and do not represent the running community as a whole.
That was it. I wasn’t shaming Kelly. Kelly puts herself out there as a public figure. I think it is completely legitimate to bring up the questions and have a debate. Immediately after I posted the article, she made this post.
In a recent article she apologizes for buying the bib (sort of).
I’ve seen how dangerous it can be when someone wears a bib that isn’t theirs and needs medical attention mid-race. It puts the race organizers and volunteers, the medical professionals and the runner in a dangerous position. Would I ever wear someone else’s bib for a race that I really wanted to run now? Hell no. Do I regret doing it back in 2013? Not a single bit.
Because that day, regardless of the fact that I never toed the line with intentions of starting a blog or becoming a voice in the body positivity movement, it was the moment that put me on a path towards finding my voice. It’s because I went viral that I was encouraged to start my blog Run, Selfie, Repeat, and in time discovered why it’s so important for to share my shame, share my story and learn how to be vulnerable for the first time in my life.
She knows how dangerous and how wrong it was to wear someone else’s bib, but she does not regret doing it because of where it led. At least she is being honest.
I would still like to see how she justifies taking selfies with ‘unsuspecting hotties’ while at the same time being an advocate against online bullying and shaming. Again I ask what would be the reaction if I ran a half marathon and did the same with unsuspecting women? Asking this obvious question is neither bullying or shaming.
Kelly recently partnered with Oiselle. Internally within Oiselle team members there was some debate and confusion regarding Kelly’s role. Is she paid? Is she officially sponsored? Her social media posts promoting the brand don’t reference that she is compensated by Oiselle. But in other posts she references receiving compensation.
Aysha Mirza, a (former) member of Oiselle questioned Kelly’s role within Oiselle when an appearance by Kelly was being promoted and categorized Kelly with the elite athletes. Shortly after that tweet, Aysha was dropped from the team. I planned to include details of this incident within this article. I have reached out to Oiselle for the article and they have not responded. In addition to asking for the reason for Aysha being dropped, I simply asked what Kelly’s role is within Oiselle and if she is being compensated because if she is compensated, it does not appear that she is following rules for disclosing that fact whenever she mentions the brand. I am going to make further efforts to get a statement from Oiselle (and Kelly) prior to any further posts regarding Oiselle.
I also emailed Kelly with a request to interview her for this article – either via email or phone, but have not received a response.
I completely understand and respect that Kelly has no obligation to answer any questions I have. She doesn’t respect the site. She doesn’t have to. She has referred to my site as my ‘little blog’. That’s her opinion and she is entitled to it. I am also entitled to my opinion regarding what I consider her hypocrisy regarding the selfies that led to her popularity.
Hopefully the intent of this article was clear. If not, I will reiterate. Too often today, instead of being willing to participate in a meaningful dialogue, people get away with claiming they are a victim of online bullying or shaming while ignoring the facts. Again, I know that bullying and shaming does happen. It’s a real problem on social media. Being held accountable for your actions and being asked to explain your actions does not necessarily equate to shaming. It’s like crying wolf. When people claim everything is bullying or shaming, it distracts from real instances of this.
When I post about a specific person, I always make an effort to contact them to have a discussion. If they don’t respond, that is their choice. But then, they cannot go ahead and complain that I wrote about a topic without getting their side.
My thoughts don’t just apply to running or my experiences with runners relating to this site. Be responsible for your actions. The trend of blaming the person or publication that is doing the reporting is a bad one. If a story is inaccurate, then of course it should be questioned. But, we should all be willing to engage in the debate. We should not just be able to claim that reports are lies or unfair and then disappear and not have the debate.
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