I know I promised you a post about Surf Set (and how much I loved it!) today, but that’s going to be coming at you for Fitness Friday this week, so definitely stop by tomorrow!
And a big thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday! I felt very loved and special and I’m very thankful for that 💖
This is a post I’ve worked really hard to avoid writing. I wanted to tell you how great the ForeRunner program is. I wanted to tell you how much fun I had working with the Calgary Marathon people. I wanted to publish this great post about how proud I was to work with an organization in the city I love so much!
However, back in the fall when I found out I had been accepted as a ForeRunner, I had a gut feeling that a post like this might be the end result, but as is my nature, I remained hopeful . Then in February of this year, I also thought I might write this post. And now, with ten days to go to the Calgary Marathon, here it is.
Before I dive in, I want to clarify a few points:
- This is my experience and is in no way representative of any other ambassador in the program.
- I made the decision to leave the program because I did not agree with a number of factors of the program.
- I did not take the decision to leave lightly. I believe if I have committed to something in seeing it through; however, I could not be part of a program where I felt my ethics would be compromised.
- I could have chosen not to address this; however, as I have been promoting this race since November and will still be at the We Run Social event for the race (but not running), failing to address that I was running a different race would raise questions.
- I do not believe my blog is a forum that should be used in a way to “air dirty laundry”, but I understand there might be questions around my stepping down, and this felt like the best way to address it.
- My experience is not your experience. You may have previously run this race and had an amazing time; you may have been a ForeRunner and loved it, and that’s okay.
Please understand this hasn’t been an easy post for me to write. I’ve done my best to balance my experience and share why I made the decision I did.
Initially I had written a much longer and more detailed post, but I didn’t feel it was necessary to air all of the details of the situation.
In September 2015, I received word the Calgary Marathon was looking for ForeRunners (ambassadors) for the race this year. I spent a lot of 2015 traveling and knew I was going to stick close to home in 2016, so I submitted my application.
Given I had just run the Dino Dash and had contacted the race committee about the water issue, and I had blogged about the food and water issues at the conclusion of the 50k I ran in 2014, I figured it was unlikely I’d get in as I’d had been rather vocal about issues I’d had with their events.
I was accepted.
On May 7 I ran the St Patrick’s Island Fun Run and posted my review of the race. This review was shared by the CMS social media team prior to a member of the team reading the post. I then received a phone call from the race director wherein it was alleged she received “dozens” of phone calls and emails questioning the issues I cited with the race. I was left feeling mistreated for providing an accurate review of my race experience and was then told that any posts which contained any constructive criticism of the race would not be shared.
I took a week to think over what I felt was best for me to do, but in the end I cannot promote and run a race, and then not provide an accurate recap to my readers. It’s dishonest. Is there a chance the race would have no issues? Absolutely! However, three of the four races I’ve participated in that were put on by the Calgary Marathon Society have had significant issues (most notably, running out of water), so at this point it appears to be a pervasive issue that they’ve not bothered to correct.
To me, it’s no different than if I were to write a post recommending a product, and then leave out a significant issue I had with the product. I value my integrity far too much to compromise myself merely to run a race.
I absolutely believe that ambassadors have a duty of care that goes above and beyond that of someone reviewing a race they have paid for. I worked to ensure my recap was factual and not overly nitpicky, but it did not feel right to leave out something so significant as running out of water, an inconvenient package pickup, and the lack of information provided to participants. As I’d also communicated with them in the past regarding race concerns (both as a runner and ambassador) and my concerns were seemingly not taken seriously and then when I was met with, “We’ll take this into consideration,” I did not believe my concerns as an ambassador would be taken seriously, either.
After thinking it over and spending a significant amount of time drafting a very clear and specific email to the race director highlighting my concerns, I was met with “best of luck”, I was told to “have fun reviewing races,” and my race entry was cancelled.
I don’t disagree that it was within their right to cancel my entry; however, I’ve been made to feel that my contribution over the past six months meant nothing to them, especially since, had I left in February when I initially voiced my concerns of the program, I would have still been able to run the race.
It was also brought to my attention that other ambassadors were informed that I left because I didn’t “agree with the core principals of being a brand ambassador for CMS”. While this may partially be true, I disagree with the choice of wording. I disagreed with the way I was treated by the Calgary marathon Society, and I disagreed with compromising my integrity in return for a free race entry.
With the cancellation of my race entry, I was given the opportunity to run at the early bird rate instead of the current rate. Many of my friends are participating in the Calgary Marathon races, but I didn’t love the idea of needing to pay for my entry given the work I had put in over the previous six months. Instead, earlier this week I was able to secure a transferred bib to the Canmore Rocky Mountain Soap 10k on May 29.
I will still be attending the We Run Social meet up in Calgary 10:30am on May 28 at the fountain by the Big Four Building, and on Sunday morning I’ll send the runners off before hopping in my car to head to Canmore and run there. While this is not how I’d hoped this situation would unfold, here we are. Only thing left to do now is prepare for my 10k on May 29.
If you’re going to be in Calgary on May 28, even if you aren’t running, definitely swing by the meet up. Trust me on this.
Bloggers: have you ever needed to make a difficult decision like this?
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