all 11 comments

[–]soundsituation 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (8 children)

I always found it odd that men and women race different distances in cross country, but because I prefer shorter courses anyway I didn't actually care that much about it when I was competing. To me it's more perplexing than offensive. Assuming basic fitness, longer distances are not really "harder" because you run them at a slower pace, and for the inverse reason shorter races aren't really "easier". Much of the perceived difficulty of a race distance comes from how naturally suited you are to it and how well you've prepared for it. Both men and women already race 10ks on the track, by the way; it's only in cross country where you find this difference in distance.

If there is a move to equalize distances, I would rather see men move down to 6k or have men and women meet in the middle at 8k, rather than have women move up 10k. Even though longer distances aren't objectively harder they do take more of a toll on the body (not just the races themselves but the higher training volume that goes into preparing for them), which increases injury risk and necessitates longer recovery time between races. That's just my preference, though. There could be benefits in to moving women up to 10k, like better fitness come track season for those women who race track 10ks, and better preparation for post-collegiate running for those athletes who go on to race marathons.

[–]jjdub7Gay Male Guest Commentator 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Always found it strange that in golf, women are given a head-start on yardage rather than just adjusting the par stroke count.

Also, in tennis, where women only play best of 3 sets in the majors, whereas men play best of 5.

[–]woodrup 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

It’s not perfect, but the forward tee is really the best way to deal with the difference between male/female yardage discrepancy. I might be able to drive the ball longer off the tee than a female competitor, but also get in more hazard. I may also hit longer from the fairway. Once we’re within 130 yards or so we’re even. I think the shorter tee is a good solution. Not perfect. Babe (Didrikson) Zaharias never used the forward tee against the men, and she generally beat them. (anyone unfamiliar with her should definitely look her up!) Whenever that “who was the greatest athlete ever?” question comes up, its always Babe Didrikson in my book. She was an Olympian track athlete in a number sports, champion golfer, etc, etc...

[–]jjdub7Gay Male Guest Commentator 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That's really a good point - you're only handicapping the "power" part of each hole in golf, whereas men and women really are even in the mid-range and putting game

[–]WildApples[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I did not know this was still a thing until I read the article. In my limited exposure to races, men and women compete the same distance with separate scoring for each sex. That seems to me the best solution. Offer both distances, let people choose what thry want to run regardless of sex, and then score the sexes separately.

I have read that women actually have an advantage when it comes to distance events because of our higher body fat percentage and our thus increased ability to burn fat for fuel. I prefer shorter distances, though, myself

[–]soundsituation 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Women don't quite have an advantage at longer distances because men still dominate those too, but it's true that the male advantage lessens in the ultralong events. Sometimes women even win those.

[–]woodrup 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I wish I had read your reply before I posted mine. I think you made such good points.

[–]soundsituation 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks:) I found your comments insightful as well.

This particular issue seems like a complete non-issue.

Yes. We can debate the merits of 5k vs 8k vs 10k but this "controversy" of distance equalization between the sexes seems like manufactured grievance.

[–]WildApples[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This is has nothing to do with gender (yet), but I find it an interesting debate against the backdrop of a culture that tries to insist that there is no difference between a woman and any man who wants to call himself a woman.

[–]woodrup 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This particular issue seems like a complete non-issue. What’s the big deal about how long the race course should be, or women running the same distance? When I was running cross-country in high school and college (boys, men- 1970s) our practice runs were routinely 12-15 miles comfortably fast pace, 5 or 6 miles uncomfortably fast pace... I assumed that the girls’ schools were following the same regimen. There was no question about all of us being able to cover the distance. We were running five times the race distance in practice. We often ran in the same races, boys and girls, though not scored against each other at race end. (but of course it was the worst shame to be beaten by a girl). I thought 15 miles was a long way to run when I was a fantastically fit teenager...until I started running marathons as I neared 40. The human body, male or female, will do nearly anything required of it, within reason. ...And (!!!!) some of the very best ultra runners (over 50 miles, over 100 miles) are women runners. The longer the race, the closer women get to male accomplishments.

[–]Alan_Crowe 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Women should be in charge of women's sports and pick the distances that women run to make the sport fun for women.

Men should be in charge of men's sports and pick the distances that men run to make the sport fun for men.

They shouldn't compare distances between women's sports and men's sports. That can only cause confusion, envy, and resentment. Which makes sport less fun, completely missing the point.