On Sunday, March 26 I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of spectators at the 2023 Around the Bay 30K. It’s well known as the oldest road race in North America—a fact we take great pride in stating as Canadians. It’s also one of my favourite races, having completed it eleven times with six of those as podium finishes. Having just raced the Tokyo Marathon, I knew I wouldn’t be racing this year, but I couldn’t resist not the pull of run.
I had nine of my own athletes racing whom I wanted to support so made the short trip down the 403 to Hamilton to cheer for them and the hundreds of others competing in the 5K, relay and 30K events.
I also contacted Race Director, Anna Lewis, to see if there was anything I could do to help. She took me up on my offer and suggested that I assist with announcing at the start and finish lines. Before the 30K and 5K races, I spoke a few words of encouragement to the racers and counted down the final ten seconds to the start gun.
I even had the fun and somewhat nerve-wracking experience of holding the finish line tape for the top women and men. When nearing the start time for the 5K race I couldn’t help but notice something that’s always bothered me—a row of only men lined up at the front of the pack with a few women scattered behind them.
There were no women up front for young girls to see.
No women to be viewed in future published start line pictures.
It was an opportunity to say something and I didn’t.
I honestly regret this.
I had the microphone in my hand. There was no better time. Maybe in the 30 seconds I had, I didn’t think I would be able to say it in the right way. But I wish I had said something.
I saw Brittany Moran, pictured up top, in the second row and knew she had a good chance of winning, which she did, and should have taken that opportunity to call her up to the front.
Where she belonged.
For the record, I’ve been on many start lines where the announcers have called me and a few other professional women to the front—only to have a few men stand right in front of us shortly after.
Then today I saw a social media post by Sasha Gollish, pictured below, that showed a sports news story that summarized the race—stating the winner of the Around the Bay 30K as Blair Morgan.
He did win and deserves every bit of credit for his victory. But so did Sasha Gollish.
The story, mentioning her win, seemed like an afterthought. It’s 2023 and it showed we still have glaring examples of what females are still fighting for. Sasha and I messaged back and forth about the race—including a screenshot I took of the Strava crowns I lost to her—and she decided to write an email to address the issue. It was corrected right away, but then was followed up by another sports news story doing the same exact thing. Look at the headline.
I suggested she copy and paste the same email, and hope for the same result.
We can do better.
Please let’s do better.
Men, unless you are certain you will be on the podium, move behind.
Sports writers, please take a moment to think about how you will write a story, including the headline.