The Potomac Valley Board of the AAU has asked one of its affiliates, Washington RunHers Unlimited, to apply for sanction of Sunday's Bonne Belle 10,000-meter race at Hains Point and has threatened disciplinary action against AAu members who run in it if the event is held without the sanction.
Henley Roughton, president of the RunHers, said that 99 percent of the expected 2,000 entrants are joggers who are participating in the race solely for fun and should not have to pay $4 each for AAu membership cards in order to run in a sanctioned event.
Under AAU rules, and AAu member running in an unsanctioned race or running against competitors who do not hold AAu cards are subject to suspension from future AAU sanctioned events, including national and regional competition.
Elizabeth Shedd, registration chairwoman of the Potomac Valley AAU, said she was following the AAU rule-book concerning sanctioning of races involving AAU members and that she was doing so in order to protect the eligibility of youths who are possible future U.S. Olympians.
Jeff Darman of Washington, president of Road Runners of America, said yesterday that the latest controversy is merely another chapter in a long battle between the AAU and Road Runner clubs across the nation.
"What the issue comes down to is money and power," Darmon said. "Do people have the chance to go out, run and enjoy themselves without paying a third party for that privilege? Its an AAU invention to fund raise. It's preposterous.
Darmon said he received similar threats two years ago over the Cherry Blossom 10,000-meter race, which this year drew 3,000 contestants. It was not sanctioned by the Potomac Valley AAU.
Darmon said similar threats were made before and after the 1977 race. At that point, Darmon wrote the Potomac Valley AAU and told it that the next step was settling the issue in the courts.
He said there was no further discussion between his group and the AAU. This year's Cherry Blossom race was run without sanction and without threats. It was won by Bill Rodgers, a world-class runner. The field included officers of the Potomac Valley AAU.
Shedd said she was not involved in the original Cherry Blossom controversy. She became involved in the Bonnie Belle event, she said, because of "complaints I received in the mail . . .
"I've been in office since June of last year. I had no complaints about the Cherry Blossom this year. I didn't even know it was taking place . . . I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm just going by the rule book."
Roughton said she received a certified letter from Shedd yesrerday informing her that a representative of the Potomac Valley AAU would be present at Sundays race to check on AAU members who compete. The letter said that Roughton, as meet director, and any other AAU members competing would be suspended from further AAU-sanctioned competition."
Such suspensions most likely would affect teen-age athletes who hope to compete in regional and national competitions this summer.
"We're doing it to protect the kids," Shedd said. "Any meet is supposed to be sanctioned by the AAU. Almost anythng we've ever had is sanctioned . . . I keep telling Mrs. Roughton that twowrongs don't make a right."
Darmon said the AAU sometimes has suspended athletes who competed in unsanctioned races, only to have race sponsors in other cities fail to honor the suspensions. He said nothing has happened to those runners.
In other cases, Darmon said, the AAU has given the event a sanction without being asked to do so. In still others, a compromise was reached so no money changed hands and a sanction was granted.
Shedd last night indicated that she was polling other officers of the Potomac Valley AAU in order to seek a sanction for Sunday's race in order "to protect the kids."