Over the years, the sport of running has evolved into big business. In response, the Road Runners Club of America drafted a Race Director Code of Ethics at its annual meeting last month in Memphis.
Kelly "K2" Richards, a longtime local and national RRCA leader, said the organization has been working on the code for months, long before the Dec. 3 Hot Chocolate Run in the Washington, D.C. area and the Dec. 4 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon events.
"When followed, the code benefits and protects everyone," she said. "It does not unfairly favor the race or the race director but rather protects each one."
Added Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director in a recent press release: "The event business has grown dramatically in the last five years. The RRCA has adopted many policies that outline best practices for managing running clubs. The Race Director Code of Ethics is a policy that specifically speaks to a growing segment of our membership, event members."
Richards sees following benefits to the code:
1. It establishes fair and reasonable criteria in simple, easy to understand language that is universally applicable rather than having no guidelines where things can become personal, emotional and gray.
2. The safety of participants, volunteers and spectators is paramount.
3. The Race Director is given guidance on financial record-keeping and expectations, which might help avoid sloppy habits that can appear to be "shady" record-keeping.
4. It provides an opportunity for potential race participants to inquire about how an organization conducts its races. A year or two ago, I don't think most racers would have thought of this, but after Hot Chocolate, Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas and other races locally and across the country where questionable practices and misleading statements regarding charitable affiliations have taken place, race participants are asking these types of questions.
Credit to Debbie Fetterman, contributor who covers the area's running and triathlon scenes for The Dallas Morning News
Read the RRCA Race Director Code of Ethics