Listen runners: pace-setters no longer allowed in Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon has announced that it will no longer use a pace-setter, starting from the race on October 11, 2015, according to the reports of Chicago Tribune. It will be the first time that the marathon won’t be using these “helpers” since Carey Pinkowski, the race director, took over the leadership in 1990.

“We have always tried to blend pace and competition,” Pinkowski said in the interview. “But the athletes relied too much on the pace up front, and the chemistry of the competition has become too much about settling in behind the rabbits. Without the rabbits, the leaders need a much greater level of concentration. That will allow us to see more tactics, strategy and competition throughout the race.”

Pace-setter, or “rabbits,” are the runners used in racing on the roads and tracks in order to help athletes set a pace ideal in the early stages of a race. According to the International Association of Athletics Federations, it was the 2014 Berlin Marathon that the rabbits were used for a minimum of 18.6 miles. It was the same marathon where Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto broke the world record.

Some believe that the use of these rabbits creates a less interesting race. It also removes a part of the responsibility for the decision of the runners at the beginning of the race, according to Milwaukee.

“This is a place where people always have come to run fast,” Pinkowski told the Tribune. “Great competition produces great performances.”

Pinkowski remains optimistic on the fact that the absence of a pace-setter cannot prevent the Chicago Marathon from getting a world record in the future, as well as a national record.

Reportedly, the Rabbits are not allowed in the other two U.S. marathon majors, namely Boston and New York.

Would you run a marathon your period? Find out why one brave woman decided to do just that.

Kiran Gandhi recently participated in the London Marathon, while on her period. She has taken the decision to run while menstruating and her actions received a lot of criticism.

The global discussion that ensued in the course of the last week has revealed that in reality there is more stigma associated with monthly periods than we ever imagined.

She ran the length of the 26.2-mile race as blood came down her legs. She says that she took the decision to run as she did to increase awareness about women around the world who have no access to feminine products. She added that she wants women to not be ashamed of their periods.

Consider how women in developing countries are influenced by secrecy and taboo. Our culture says they must hide their monthly flow, in spite of the fact that it may be unsustainable or too expensive to clean.

Even women who can use pieces of cloth to absorb the blood do not always have private places at school or at work for change. As a result, they choose to skip school or work as a less shameful alternative.

If women continue to participate in public life in the developing world, they are constantly placed in a situation of economic disadvantage.

Gandhi says there several reasons why women continue to be ashamed of their periods:

“We do not have a comfortable vocabulary to speak about it – education is missing and myths fill the gap,” she says.

For example, she says that many people called what she has done unhygienic. Gandhi says that women have been taught to pretend that their periods do not exist.

A marathon in and of itself, is a centuries-old symbolic act. So why not use it as a way to draw light, she said, on women who have no access to tampons and, in spite of the cramps and the pain, to hide away, as if they do not exist?

I think we can all applaud Kiran’s actions and congratulate her on her bravery.