Days after the chairman of a prominent Oregon relay race failed to recognize the top-finishing women’s teams — and apparently dismissed runners who asked him why — he has been replaced by his daughter, according to OregonLive.
Bob Foote, founder and chairman of the popular Hood to Coast long-distance relay in Oregon, acknowledged the top men’s teams at an awards ceremony Saturday night but did not ask the top women’s teams to join them onstage, according to OregonLive. Emily Pritt, whose team, Goats N Roses, finished first in the women’s open division and 12th overall, posted on Twitter that when team members asked Foote why the women’s teams weren’t announced, he told them, “Go talk to someone who cares.”
Race organizers have not confirmed Foote’s alleged statement to the runners but have admitted that the women were not recognized for their “great achievement.”
Amid outcry over the incident — including from several well-known professional runners — race organizers announced Monday that Foote’s daughter, Race Director Felicia Hubber, will take over her father’s position, according to OregonLive. She will also retain her previous position, which she has held since 2006. Foote was not mentioned in the organization’s announcement, according to the newspaper.
Hubber will be responsible for operating the annual Hood to Coast relay race and the Portland to Coast relay race, according to her biography on Hood to Coast’s website.
No one at Hood to Coast answered the phone during office hours Tuesday morning, and emails sent to the office as well as to Hubber were not immediately answered. The runners from Goats N Roses could not immediately be found for comment.
Foote, a longtime marathon and ultramarathon runner, founded the Hood to Coast relay race for himself and his friends in 1982, making “simple spray paint marks on the road to indicate exact exchange points” from Portland’s Mount Hood to the coast, according to the website. Over the years, the relay grew — both in the number of teams and the distance that they were running: 199 miles.
This year, according to the website, 12,600 runners participated in the event Friday and Saturday.
That included the members of Goats N Roses, who completed the relay in 21 hours 3 minutes, according to the race statistics. The 11 teams that finished ahead of them were men’s teams and mixed teams.
Pritt, a runner on the team, wrote on Twitter that the top walking, high school and men’s teams were presented with trophies at the awards ceremony Saturday night, but not the top women’s teams.
“We were surprised that we were not announced and immediately went up to the race founder, Mr. Bob Foote, to ask him why the women weren’t being recognized,” Madie Davidson, another runner on the team, told ABC affiliate KATU. “We were startled by his rude response, by his sexist response, and really hurt and offended.”
Hood to Coast apologized to the women on social media, saying it would “never happen again.” The organization’s chief operations officer, Dan Floyd, addressed the incident in an interview with Runner’s World.
“I was near the area, but not in hearing distance” during the apparent exchange, Floyd told the magazine. “It doesn’t matter — however that team feels is what matters.”
He added: “If the women don’t feel like they were treated well, that’s inappropriate on our part.”
Still, it ignited an uproar in the running community, prompting comments from well-known runners such as three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe, who responded to Pritt’s post.
So did Olympian Kara Goucher.
And long-distance runner Shalane Flanagan.
Following the incident, Runner’s World reported:
Typically the awards ceremony on Saturday is a brief affair and only recognizes the top three finishing teams overall, as well as the top high school and walking teams, Floyd said. Goats N Roses placed 12th overall out of 1,032 teams.
Going forward, Floyd said, the top three open women’s teams will also be recognized during the awards.
The members of Goats N Roses will receive their medals and plaques soon. They were handed out at a more extensive award ceremony on Sunday morning that members were unable to attended.
“I know that the team is unhappy,” Floyd told the magazine, “but one cool thing that came out of this is that women will always be recognized from now on, and it will be because of them.”