Over the weekend, a fifth-grade school teacher named Arien O'Connell ran the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. She had the best time, but was not declared the winner because she didn't register or run with the elite runners, who started 20 minutes before the rest of the field.
Despite the fact that her time was proven to be accurate, the race organizers weren't sympathetic. When word got out about the situation, the San Francisco Chronicle did an editorial insisting that Arien should be the winner.
When we asked sponsor Nikewhat they thought, they issued a statement also declaring Arien the winner. This is a great example of a sponsor realizing that a mistake was made and taking quick action.
- Thousands of Women "Run Like a Girl" at Nike Marathon
- World Series Economics: Look Who's NOT There
- Vegas Roots For Phillies
Here is the complete Nike statement:
"Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend’s Nike Women’s Marathon completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment. Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany & Co. trophy, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly. Learning from the unique experience in this year’s race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win. Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we’re proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments."
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com