Pushing my boundaries recently I competed in an international event Limone extreme skyrace. It was a wonderful experience and the knowledge I gained will help me no end in my training. 23.5 km of skyrunning, beautiful part of Italy, amazing running conditions, perfect company with some of the countries best mountain runners. Yet it was also a trip that highlighted some of the controversial goings on that in my naivety I was blissfully unaware of. It's a gender issue and it was astonishing. 
I was never going to be up there with the front runners in this race, it was way too short and fast, so it was a pleasant surprise to have won my category at least. So we hung around during presentation to see the winners on the podium collecting their basket of pasta and bottles of plonk. The category winners were being announced and I blissfully watched as the men who were deserving were recognised for their great performances during the race.  I began to get suspicious when after the M60 1st, 2nd and 3rd made their way off the stage and the crew started to dismantle the podium. 

The crowd dispersed and I soon found that I was one of only a handful of folk still stood around. I lingered longer, amused and yet failing to accept that women category winners were not going to be recognised, as if my standing staring at the stage was going to magically bring everyone back and us deserving ladies were going to suddenly have our moment too. The tumbleweed rolled past, and the scaffolding was half way down and packed away. I turned, with hands in pockets and kicked bricks before making my way towards the marque to celebrate with all of those that were in the celebration spirit.

I couldn't shake (and still haven't) the disappointment that I felt during those moments. It is clear that not as many women entered the race as men (and unsurprising too, now I've realised that the purse for the women in this race was considerably less than that for men, why would they enter)? Understandably (to a point), the amount/number of category winners could be relative to the entry numbers of each gender. However, to have failed to recognise any category winners among the women is blatant discrimination is it not? Not only blatant, but also humiliating and heavy. To experience oppression in this manner, having rarely been exposed to such previously, was humbling and a reminder that we haven't entirely come a long way in the world as yet.

Yet still, it was only two weeks ago in the UK when I attended a cross country race. The Staffordshire Moorlands ladies team (whom I run with occasionally), won 2nd place in the relays (1st masters). On this occasion the first three teams in both genders and all individuals within those teams won their recognition and prizes. Phew... I hear you say, ahem, well it's not that simple. The first men's team received bottles of spirits, 2nd and 3rd teams, crates of beer. The ladies, a blanket! I can't speak, I'm so choked. In this instance there is a clear discrepancy between the funds splashed out on the prizes between the gender's and further that someones clear discriminatory and neanderthal beliefs are shining through.

Yes there is a place for barefoot, and it's not exactly at home in the kitchen, pregnant. Any thoughts as to how to help to bring the sport up to speed are welcome.

Limone Xtreme race profile.


  1. sadly also true in the world of cycling and ski mountaineering

  2. SHOCKING! I'll bet the men and women had to pay the same entry fees though?!?!


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