Boston Closing Fast

I posted a while back on Boston and the impact of charity runners, expressing the view that insofar as a charity runner took the place of someone who qualified on time this was a bad thing. In a follow-up then, I said that Chris Russell thought that Boston, which traditionally closed pretty close to raceday, would likely close earlier than it had because of the influx of charity runners.

Comes news today (from a LetsRun thread) that an e-mail has been sent that, six months from raceday, the race is “rapidly approaching capacity.”

So it appears we have the conflict between a charity-runner and a BQer. I know I’d choose the latter over the former. Granted that BQs are soft, especially for us older folks, and that the race used to have a 2:50 male standard, but I know enough people who have worked very hard and are on the cusp of qualifying and I think they should get the chance to run. Let everyone with the BQ in the race, with, say, a Feb. deadline (as it is now, it appears that people with the qualifier will not get in) and then allocate the remaining available slots to charity-runners (and give them different bib colors if they don’t do that already). It’s the closest race we have to a meritocracy and it would be unfortunate — “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham” — if a single runner who qualified and wanted to run couldn’t get in because of some four-hour guy running for Team-in-Training.


I wrote about how wonderful the Velolibs — the bikes I saw all over town — were in my Report de Paris. Turns out they are not as universally popular as one would hope. According to an article in the Times, “Reality Proves a Setback for Cheap Bike Rentals in Paris,” there is resentment in some parts about them.

    With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them. And along with the dent in the city-subsidized budget has been a blow to the Parisian psyche.

    “The symbol of a fixed-up, eco-friendly city has become a new source for criminality,” Le Monde mourned in an editorial over the summer. “The Vélib’ was aimed at civilizing city travel. It has increased incivilities.”

    The heavy, sandy-bronze Vélib’ bicycles are seen as an accoutrement of the “bobos,” or “bourgeois-bohèmes,” the rich, trendy urban middle-class, and they stir resentment and covetousness. They are often being vandalized in a socially divided Paris by resentful, angry or anarchic youth, police and sociologists say.

    Bruno Marzloff, a sociologist who specializes in transportation, said, “One must relate this to other incivilities, and especially the burning of cars,” referring to gangs of immigrant youth burning cars during riots in the suburbs in 2005.

    He said he believed there was social revolt behind Vélib’ vandalism, especially for suburban residents, many of them poor immigrants who feel excluded from the glitzy side of Paris.

Speaking of Paris and vandals, incredibly there is opposition to those who would like to see graffiti removed from the buildings that line the High Line in lower Manhattan.

Dog Bites Man: Lance Armstrong is a Dick

Thanks to Tavia for this. Here’s her report on what was to be a Times forum with three great female marathoners — Waitz, Benoit, Kastor — that Lance Armstrong decided to crash. And the Times prostrated itself before him. The only person I know who’s met Armstrong is my brother. His assessment: he’s a jerk. Now that may be necessary to be the “Boss” of the peleton, but we don’t have to like it. Tavia softens on him, but this really was a dickish thing.

Of course now that I’m gone from Twitter, I missed being invited to a run with Armstrong tomorrow (although I was never among his followers). According to a LetsRun thread, “He’s in NY. He sent out a twitter message. He wants to meet Saturday morning at 9 AM at Niketown on 57th street. Should I go? What should I wear?”