The Pioneer Power Sprint Tri & 5K held on July 22 is the annual sprint triathlon and 5K that serves as a fundraiser for the Texas Woman’s University soccer team. It is also a lesson for the soccer team members that if played right, lies and deception in business pays.
I’m a runner so I wanted to celebrate my 60th birthday with a half marathon or 10k. The only chip-timed race in north Texas I could find was a 5k in Denton Texas called the Pioneer Power Sprint Tri & 5K. It was a long ways to travel for a short race but I thought why not, it’s for a good cause.
After communicating via emails with Head Soccer Coach Babak Abouzar about race day packet pickup I drove the 50 miles Sunday and arrived at Pioneer Hall at 6 am.
Had I known that I would be throwing away the bright yellow tee shirt and 1st place trophy Monday morning I would have stayed home.
As usual, the 5k runners assembled were a diverse lot. from 9 to 99 of all body types neophyte to seasoned competitors most of us, whether we admit it or not had our eye on the prize.
It was hot to race day morning. Sunday was forecasted to be 108 and it felt hard to breathe but we all took off at the start line with our hearts on our sleeves.
We were greeted by soccer team members at the finish line who offered a bit of swag and cold water. I finished a little slower given the heat but I was just happy. It was a great day, a great cause and I had done what I had set out to do.
I enjoyed applauding the next 5k finishers and admiring the huge shiny finishers medallions being handed to the Tri Athlon runners.
The 5k awards ceremony was announced very soon afterward. It seemed that they were rushing so we all gathered by the tent to hear the master of ceremonies say that only first place finishers would get awards asking us not to ‘shoot the messenger’.
I was gobsmacked. In all my years I had never witnessed such a thing and the crestfallen look on the young woman beside me was heartbreaking. Clearly, she was one of the competitors who placed and rightfully expected her trophy.
I was honestly embarrassed gathering up my 1st place trophy and it seemed ironic that the picture was taken by the mother of that heartbroken youth.
When I got home I checked the production’s website to see if my results were posted. This may seem unusual but I have learned as a transgender runner not to take that granted. My name appeared but not my legal gender or my age group results. So I emailed the timing company and after much heel dragging, they grudgingly complied.
I also wanted to know when they planned on mailing out the trophies to the second and third place finishers. The following exchange on Facebook between the production company, Dallas Athletes Racing beginning with a 5k runner who wanted to know about the medals.
After the race, I joined the fray.
Now I feel like an idiot for applauding the triathletes as they got those shiny finishers medals. The 5k runners paid for that with our money and broken spirits.
Perhaps worse was the lesson these people taught their soccer team. Lying and cheating is fine if you can get away with it. Shame on you Texas Woman’s University. Shame on you Dallas Athletes Racing. Shame on you.