We sincerely hope that all competitors continue, as they do in the main, to conduct themselves, even in the heat of competition, in a responsible way. It is however evident that there is an increased amount of ‘pushing and shoving’ taking place at portages to gain advantage or put off the opposition. This is clearly unacceptable and events will be monitored and result in sanctions against crews where necessary.
Race organisers often let spectators quite close to the portage action and following this recent incident perhaps need to review whether a larger ‘buffer area’ may need to be made between competitors and the viewing areas laid out, particularly at portages where running speeds are fast.
It is not only however competitors that have been stretching the acceptable boundaries. Another incident recently involved support crews in violent disagreement.
There is a precedent for disqualifying crews for the behaviour of the support crew.
At the marathon worlds in Canada in 2000 the ICF disqualified a senior women’s K2 crew because their coach had disobeyed instructions as to his behaviour in the portage area. His crew were disqualified from the silver medal position. He was sacked from his position as Polish coach when he got home!
We expect support crews to behave properly and if they do not then their crew can be sanctioned. If a crew is disqualified because of their support crews actions they will know where the blame lies.
It should not go un noted that for very serious breaches of the rules harsher sanctions beyond disqualification from the event could apply.
Please race responsibly!
Stan Missen, MRC Chair