There's big controversy on the local race scene. The Baltimore 10 Miler announced this year's premium, more than a week after they started taking registrations for this year's race, and people are not happy. Two years ago the B-10 had Runner's World's "best schwag." Last year they sent squees of delight up amongst the fairer sex by having a premium with cuts for both males and females. This year? It's a unisex microfleece vest. Some of the reaction on the B-10's Facebook page has been interesting, and it caused Corrigan Sports, the people behind the race, to defend its decision. Here's a sampling of the criticism:
"I hate to say it but I'm a bit disappointed in this year's premium : ( I always look forward to this race because you are one of the few that takes us ladies into consideration and offers FEMALE cute options"
"I don't really have any use for a fleece vest, it's a bit masculine and it will be months before it's even cold enough to use it..."
"After looking at the jackets from last year I was excited for the premium, but a vest is a big let down in my opinion."
"More than 50% of your field last year was women, and you offer us a men's vest? That wasn't what you promised when I signed up for the race. I guess I've learned my lesson not to trust Corrigan Sports at it's word."Corrigan stands up for itself:
As a three, and soon to be four, time Baltimore 10 Miler participant I feel uniquely qualified to comment on the race premium because I've gotten them all. Here are my thoughts:
Prior to the 2010 race, we did a survey to all past runners asking them what they wanted as a premium. 1/3 of the respondents chose the vest (1/3 picked the zip we used last year and the other 1/3 were split among any of them would work and a long sleeve performance shirt)[Note: I think I voted for the long sleeve shirt.]
2010 was the first year we did gender specific. The fleeces from year one and the rain jackets (the year we were awarded the best SWAG by Runner’s World) were unisex.
We kept to our word-- that we would provide a high quality race premium. Opinions vary on what that means, but don’t call us liars!
The vest retails at $55 (equal to the early bird entry fee) and is a name brand, from a trusted, international apparel company).
2008: Long-sleeved unisex fleece. The fleece was nice, but it was way too bulky and heavy to run in. It was also cut a little too large and didn't fit me well. I tried to make do with it as something to wear around the house but I just didn't like it. I finally gave it away, where I think it made its way to back on my feet.
2009: Unisex waterproof jacket. This was also cut too big to run in, but it is my all-time favorite premium that I still have and will wear during three of the four seasons. I like it so much that when Corrigan was clearing out inventory during the holidays I bought another one.
This blurb title is true.
2010: Gender-specific 1/2 zip pullover. I still keep it around, but like the '08 fleece it doesn't fit me well. I've never tried to run in it but now that I think about it I should. It wouldn't surprise me to see this go the way of the '08 fleece. However, I have a female friend who looks terrific in her pullover. She'd be silly to give it away.
I've made it known that I take premiums into consideration for what I expect from big races. And I'm not thrilled about this year's B-10 premium. Mostly because I look like a dork in a vest. But it is a high-quality and unique item that I might wind up liking a lot. Who knows, and does it matter? In the end every single premium we get will wind up forgotten in the back of the closet, in the trash, on someone else's back or as part of a quilt.
Anyway, the people who are in a huff over this vest will have a while to get over it before they even need to worry about whether they like it or not. Like the premiums from each of the B-10s last three runnings it'll be months before it's even cool enough outside to put the vest on. I'm starting think Corrigan does that on purpose...