This morning, numerous blogs were buzzing that Competitor Group had ended support for elite athletes effective immediately. Later today, the following statement was released:
“With the dramatic increase in competition with more races than ever before across all distances, we are making a strategic decision in the U.S. Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series to increase our investment in the runner experience and entertainment, shifting resources away from our historical support of elite athlete participation in several of our races. We intend to maintain our commitment to amateur road racing and the promotion of the sport as we have over our 16-year history in every Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event, both domestic and international.”
While the news is upsetting to elite runners across the United States, a move like this was inevitable and might be the start of a trend. While bringing in a guy like Meb Keflezighi or Ryan Hall adds some extra press to the race, it matters very little to the majority of casual participants who make up the vast majority of Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon/half marathon registrants.
The decision by Competitor Group is definitely a huge blow to men and women who attempt to make a living off competing. While the events will still offer prize money, having to pay for travel, lodging and other related expenses negates just about all of the potential earnings.