SF Runner Punished For Not Being Among ‘Elite’

There are certain truisms in life no one can dispute: The world is round. Orange juice has vitamin C. Scientologists are a little off, at best. But now, after San Francisco and their San Francisco Values decided to soil the racing world with their dirty little hands - from riding that disgusting public transportation, no doubt - there’s one less truism in the world: The fastest person does not always win the race.

Arien O'Connell

Arien O’Connell is the unlucky person to realize that time no longer exists. Despite running the entire course of the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco quicker than any other woman in the race, she was left off the awards platform because she wasn’t part of the “elite” group of runners that were given a 20-minute head start, you know, to keep them away from the rest of the riff-raff.

San Francisco elitists!


O’Connell, who describes herself as “a pretty good runner,” had never managed to break three hours in five previous marathons. But as soon as she started at 7 a.m. Sunday, she knew it was her day. In fact, when she crossed the finish line 26.2 miles later, her time of 2:55:11 was so unexpectedly fast that she burst into tears.

“I ran my best time by like 12 minutes, which is insane,” she said.

At the awards ceremony, the O’Connell clan looked on as the top times were announced and the “elite” female runners stepped forward to accept their trophies.

“They called out the third-place time and I thought, ‘I was faster than that,’ ” she said. “Then they called out the second-place time and I was faster than that. And then they called out the first-place time (3:06), and I said, ‘Heck, I’m faster than her first-place time, too.’ “

It wasn’t just some small amount of time either, but eleven full minutes faster than the first-place finisher. And O’Connell’s not happy about it one bit; you can tell from the above photo, and the fact that there’s an article about this in the first place.

So, as long as this story keeps on getting publicity, expect Nike to make some kind of amends in the near future. Why not stick her in an ad? It’s a pretty inspirational rags-to-riches story, after all. A racer comes from out of nowhere to win a race, but the man keeps her down. That’s worth 30 seconds at least.