International Skyrunning Federation president Marino Giacometti has just issued the following statement in response to events that transpired at this year’s Speedgoat 50k. The statement includes input from the newly formed Skyrunning athletes committee and largely affirms Karl Meltzer’s race day decision not to disqualify Kilian Jornet for not cutting switchbacks as the rule was not written, but to make him ineligible the course record. In addition, the ISF issued a 3-minute penalty to Kilian per its rule on the subject.
[You can find much more information regarding the race in our Speedgoat 50k results article.]
Official International Skyrunning Federation Statement Regarding the 2012 Speedgoat 50k
“It’s taken a while for us to get all the feedback together but here goes:
The ISF board conferred with the new Athletes Commission, ATRA and the organiser, Karl Meltzer and we came to the following decision:
Everyone concurs that runners must stay on the course. However, as things stand, only guidelines exist in America. In this case there was no written regulation at Speedgoat – something Karl says he will include in the future.
On Kilian’s own admission he cut the course and ran by skyrunning rules. It seems that possibly some of the other runners did the same.
As a race on the World Series calendar, ISF rules state that organisers’ rules must be adhered to and in the case of a dispute ISF rules will prevail.
We respect the organiser’s difficult decision and will apply a 3 minute penalty* to Kilian which means he maintains first place in the race and consequently 100 points for the UltraSeries ranking. *Penalty (6.15 COMPETITOR’S RACE CONDUCT – a) Competitors must follow the course markings on sight, go through all the checkpoints…..) and (6.16.1 A penalty from three minutes to disqualification will be applied for: c) Not following the race course signage, voluntarily or otherwise…
We believe that it’s correct to assign the record to the second runner (Rickey) who ran the designated course. Whether Kilian gets the prize or not is exclusively up to the organiser and we already know that decision.
I’d like to add that the majority of skyrunning races worldwide (not just in Europe) take place in parks or protected areas and generally are capped for this reason – as well as for safety reasons of course. (The ISF rules (4.22) and (3.13) address these environmental issues).
Regarding the Pikes Peak precedent in 2004, the situation was different. The rules there state clearly no switchback cutting. The winner, Agustì Roc, was disqualified and given a 20 minute penalty which meant he dropped some places and received the relevant points for his final position.
Everyone we consulted agreed that there’s a need in the future for race organizers to publish clear, simple and written regulations and, with the new Athletes Commission, we’ll be reviewing ours as well!! A pre-race briefing should also be held to illustrate the regulations and the course to all the competitors. We’re actually working on standardizing this for all organizers, so it should be easier for everyone all round. Certainly, it’s not easy to find a compromise but “rules are rules” and, as Anna Frost says “let’s keep it simple”!