Tuesday, April 29, 2008

10K update and two different views toward wheelchair users, me and my 10K competition

There have been some developments on the Times Colonist 10K (the one on Sunday), which I like to think are in some small part due to the blog or my interaction with the people on the day. First, they decided that instead of listing wheelchairs “coming soon” as I mentioned in the blog, they changed their webpage today to eliminate them entirely. Woo Hoo! Oops, I mean, um….we do still exist. It is sad that my final point of “Wheelchairs are not “coming soon” as the website indicates, we are here, we WERE there, and all that shows is that the Times Colonist, the Victoria International Running Society and the city of Victoria STILL are not ready for us.” has been trumped by webpage editing! Also kind of makes a few last minute edits to the OUCH piece, link-wise.

And while the Times Colonist website shows the wheelchair results for 2006 and 2007, the 2008 do not. That includs me (and the fastest person at the 10K: Al Bergman in 25:53 – or as my friend at the parapelegic society said to me today, “We (wheelchairs) have to be a separate class, they (runners) couldn’t stand up to us…no joke intended”).

AND Times Colonist made the correction on my name (I called in), so I am no longer Dr. McCluns. The correction article can be seen here.

Due to the encouragement and support (and the free cookies), that everyone has given me on here regarding the Times Colonist 10K, I am trying (again) to get certified and to rent/borrow a racing chair, so all the readers and people who comment - you DO make a difference, a big one, in my life. Though as many people have mentioned to me as I have called around trying to get in contact with the various groups that I need to join or be signed off/assessed by, many people remembered that Rick Hansen would compete in Road Races like 10K’s in an E&J chair which looks VERY similar to mine (without the oxygen). But it seems that Wheelchair BC, Canada has gotten serious and organized and if they have a chair that goes faster and are willing to lend it, who I am to say no?

Before I go on to two different responses I received via email about my TC 10K, let me recap on my day: I was woken up for a blood test (after fasting). After that I was told to pee, prepared to pee but was told (in high volume) NOT to pee as the water had JUST shut down. Instead small test tube was held up (At which point I said, “You seem to have GROSSLY overestimated my aiming ability”). It seems I was to pee and then freeze the sample at home. Thank goodness the home care which takes out freezer packs to cool my neck is not coming tonight. After that two people came over, watched me eat and commented for 90 minutes (a “swallow specialist” and a dietician?). It seems that my tongue is weak and I need to a) stop losing weight or look forward to the g-tube (???) club and b) I have to chew more than other people and drink more through straws.

Now back to two responses:

The first is from Neil in Sask who is a regular reader and decided to “ride along” even though it was –3 and did the 10K “with me” on his bike,

a sort of unions of spirits over distance. Which I think is pretty cool and thank you for the literally support (in that you went out and did something, and did 10K!). Though I think he might have done 10 MILES, or is a VERY slow biker.

The second was sent for publication on this blog but I thought it would not get the attention from the care which had gone into it simply letting it plop to the bottom of the comments of a post a few days old so here it is:

Dear Elizabeth,
Congratulations on finishing the 10k. It is an impressive accomplishment.
I would however like to rebutle some of the comments you have made regarding the TC10k:
- Entry Form should have a place for wheelchair registration.
(I agree, but it did not, and Linda made a handwritten box)
- The race does not hate mothers or babies. There is a safety concern with strollers and that many people participating. That is why they must start at the back. (Explanation of wheelie humor about hills and baby strollers eludes me)
- Wheelchair start: Were you registered as a competitive wheelchair racer or recreational? It is clearly stated that rec. wheelchair athletes must start in the ActNow Walkers Zone. The only reason for this is so it doesn't get crowded if athletes pass the wheelchairs. Generally wheelchair athletes are faster and that is why they go first, much like why elites are at the front. (also because while runners CAN go sideways, wheelchairs cannot, which is why they are put in front; the third wheelchair competitor finished in just under 50 minutes)
- "Inspiration" whats wrong with people saying that. I wish people told me I was inspirational. I guess they say it because not many wheelchair athletes take part in the event, so those that do...should be in 'inspiration' to others. (anyone.....)
- If find your comments about elites to be rather shocking. Runners take pride in their sport and in order to be 'elite' you must be physically fit. For running this requires a very lean individual. Saying they look anorexic is very discriminating and I am suprised you would make such comments. (This was a very popular joke after the race actually, and having been both in years of training toward ‘elite’ running AND being years of anorexic, it is well known (at least in marathons) of the fine line between ill health and optimal).
- Not moving over when asked to clear the road was also somewhat disrespectful. Yes you are trying to have a fast time but so are those 'elites' at the front. And for the safety of the hundreds of runners it is courtesy to move aside if you are being passed. If you finished in 60mins. You should be starting by the very large sign that says 60mins. You should not be starting with the other wheelchair elites. They are going under or low 30mins and that is why they are in front to begin with. (Please go to Times Colonist results for previous years and review times of wheelchair finishers, or to BC wheelchair athletic classification and review expected finishing times of T1’s and T2’s. I was asked to ‘clear the course’ because the person in question was unaware I was a participant)
- Your comment about the bad news of lots of people. If you knew this was the 2nd largest 10k in Canada and you don't like being around other runners, why did you join the 2nd largest 10k. Why not choose a smaller less populated race? (???)
- Why is this a messed up town when people congratulate you? I do feel some people get the wrong idea, especially the guy commenting on how he didn't want to be beaten..great work gettig him though! (???)
- I am very shocked to hear how the first aid was and that definately needs to be dealt with. That must have been horrific. It seems weird that you couldn't communicate when you had been joking and yelling the whole race? Clarification please? (please reread post:“because I hadn’t really been able to talk for the last km or so…”)
- You also have to give them credit for VOLUNTEERING their time and excuse them for making a mistake while 8,000 people are cross the line and it might be a bit overwhelming. (Jason was being paid. That’s what a private consultant is. And I said, “Jason is not my favorite guy right now, in fact all the "Not my problem" people are not my favs, I did like the volunteers who did a great job (okay not ALL the first aiders), and cleaned up so much trash and helped in so many ways.”)
- Perhaps if you knew you have a condition, you should have had someone who knows your condition there at the finish to support you or helps the first aid attenders better help you. (Crips are allowed to travel alone. I did have a first aid kit with care card, ID and all medical needs in a pack under my chair (as mentioned). I don’t actually “plan” how my conditions manifest or when. Nor am I required to act beyond the actions of any other runner in preperation, the wheelchair is a mobility device, not a "I am a more caring, careful, and obligated to find multiple people to help me" device.)
- For prizes for the event they can't give everyone a medal or prize. I bet they would if they could. I definately agree there should be male and female wheelchair awards, by why not bring it up after the awards, not before while they are trying to frantically get everything sorted. (because they did announce there would be male and female wheelchair awards, right here under Awards and Catagories: “Awards are given three deep to males and females in: Overall, Masters, Wheelchairs…..” Since I would have to wait an hour and a half to receive the award, all I was inquiring was, do I? Then we got into the Wheelchairs have no sexes….)
- Toilets. That is tragic that there was apparently only one wheelchair accessible toilet, however the placement near a cut-away curb might be the fact that it was the only place they were allowed to put it not to just mess everyone up. (Since it is clear you do not know where the wheelchair toilet was, there was an entire half block of toilets then atop a hill, at the top of the stairs, a wee little disabled one. I am curious on your seperation between “Wheelchair accessible” and mess up “everyone” – are there two species? Also, would there be an outcry if there were NO toilets (not no wheelchair accessible, but NO toilets at all on the race course? Maybe? Think they might be a wee pissed….or rather not able to piss).)
- Jason definately did not need to share his last name and you had no right asking. He was there to volunteer and devote his free time to helping people out. He definately did not need you accusing him of being sexest. I am sure he did not make the decision himself or on the spot at that moment. I'm suprised they had an extra medallion to give you. They probably took it away from another category. (No, Jason did not need to tell me his name, and I have the same right as every human being at a public event to ask. He was not a volunteer, or at least that is not what he told me. Hmm, it looked a lot like they did make the decision on the spot because they forgot, or decided in the moment to go with the ‘wheelchairs have no sex thing’, I don’t know if I would call him sexist, I think I was indicating strongly he was discriminatory against people in wheelchairs. And since the women in chairs were to be given awards three deep, I wonder which category “took it away” from the women who finished?)
- top fund-raiser: I am sure if they were the top they received recognition. I hung around and anyone who was the top received an award. That person may have been exagerating. (Well, I can only judge by the jumping up and down in frustration, the smoke coming out of their head, the verification of the person with them and the small and quite polite muttered near swear words which occurred at the phrase, “And that concludes the prize presentation portion of today’s race”)
- TC Booth: This really ticks me. The girl at the booth is just a peon in the TC world. How could you accuse her of not knowing anything. She was probably just a delivery girl getting paid to handout the paper. The TC is merely the title sponsor of the race. They have little to no involvement in the organzing aspects of the race. That would be like asking one of the girls at the Island Farms tent about the race. They are just there to hand food or papers out and congratulate people on completing the 10k. You were barking up the wrong tree. she had the right to smile and nod and not say anything. (Hmmm, so then the Save-On arena, if groups decided to hold “white only events” would be right in saying “we only provide the money, we don’t make/influence decisions?” She was not the delivery girl, or if she was, it was a very well dressed and authoritative delivery girl; but rather since the TC was in charge of promotions, I think it was someone connected to that. The TC advertises it, lists every run, maintains the official webpage, is the email contact, is the online registration, and is one of the four people on the TC 10K organizing committee. I can see they have little to no involvement.)
- Photos: Now this is a big no-no. That is EXTREMELY disrespectful to those people. You have taken photos of VOLUNTEERS who are DONATING THEIR TIME for FREE. How dare you mark them with your words and then post pictures of them most likely without their consent. Spreading ill thoughts about those people who are trying to make a difference. I AM DISGUSTED by this action. (Actually according to the police taking a picture at a public event, particularly for reporting purposes (passing them on to the BBC for the piece there) does not require permission or consent. Please feel free to call the police to verify this. I am heartened that you DO feel outrage and that you DO feel that people can receive disrespect. I am sorry that it isn’t for the way wheelchair racers were talked about and treated.)
- Money: no there wasn't money for wheelchair. Maybe if you were an inspiration and the wheelchair category grew then money would be added. There wasn't money in the kids race or for other age groups. There has be a line somewhere. (Yes, that line used to be with the blacks, wasn’t it, then with the females? But as you say, I am not inspirational enough. If you look at the results for wheelchairs for the 2006-2008 you will notice that less and less wheelchairs participate every year. Sorry I wasn’t there inspiring them. Now the HBC Canada day 10K on almost the identical course, does not have the same number of people, but is able to give prizes in EACH category including cash prizes for both the top three MALE and FEMALE wheelchair competitors.)
- The money is there to hopefully help support those athletes that running is their life. If people complain about not getting money at events for everyone then no one will get any. (Oddly, people who use wheelchair have a life too, they have athletic careers too. Just people like you, and people on committees don’t seem to understand that. Well, until we are in a wheelchair, and then we understand it ALL too well.)
- That is also disrespectful to say it makes sense the race wasn't organized by females. Maybe it was. Now who is being sexest? (That isn’t what I said (go and reread please), and thanks for telling me you are male.)
- Perhaps if things did not go smoothly they will work on it. If it said coming soon and was here then it is obviously new and has kinks in it. Maybe you should try to be on the race committee and organize the wheelchair race. However chances are if you donate your time to the event you wont get to race. Maybe you should think about how much time and effort everyone put into the race and provide constructive criticism rather than just shoot down the whole race, race commitee, volunteers and even the participants. (Again, I see that this is the fault of me, wow, if only I could be in so many places at once AND get the medical tests and work I need done. It is not NEW, as the results from previous years have show, and that aspect, after I commented on it, disappeared today. So now, wheelchairs aren’t coming soon, they didn’t exist (not on the webpage and not in the online records). I would love to be on a race committee, however I am still working on getting more people into wheelchair boxing, wheelchair badminton and other events that a large number of men and women (more women!) with a variety of disabilities can easily access. But once that is taken care of, I will, instead of passing on suggestions to the volunteers to take to the committees, start being on the committees themselves. When, I ask in return, will you be on the committee to pass legislation for a disability act in the city of Victoria?)

I hope that this does not offend you but just helps you take a lighter note on the situation and I hope that you approve this message for others to read. I would also like to see your opinions and reply to this comment. (I have attempted to give you my opinions and I find it interesting that you call this “the lighter note” while I was the one making jokes about people spreading lawn killer on me. I can assure you it will offend and will address that in a moment.)

Congrats again on doing the 10k and definately don't think you should let this discourage you from racing it again. It is an amazing event with an amazing atmosphere.

Yours truly,
Anonymous racer (I am keeping my identity anon as people always take offense when no offense is meant.)

Dear Yours truly,

You have presented the view of Victoria that I wished I could have shown for the past year. Thank you! Your incredible condensation toward people in wheelchairs, your animosity toward me in particular in blaming me (and other wheelies, or just me) for everything from stealing awards for those who worked to earn them, insinuating I was lying about my vocal abilities in the first aid tent to “disrespectful” behavior toward able bodied runners by not going clear off the road for them, to calling someone working a job a “peon”, to your “disgust” toward me, my actions, my “disrespect” to someone who told me to “go away now” by….telling others? This all and more, your blaming of people in wheelchairs and with disabilities that it is THEIR fault when first aid or doctors do something wrong because THEY should have made….er….that their ‘keeper’, their ‘assistive person’ was there to ensure that THEY did not get, what, the same medical care as they and others paid for (It was a $40 race for 6 miles). The use of language which seperates wheelchair users from “everyone. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

This IS the voice of Victoria. This is Victoria in a nutshell and this is why we don’t have ramps or access because wheelies are “disrepectful” or “taking from others” or “not thinking about the other people” or whatever reason it is that we lag behind the rest of the western world standing alone as a nation having no disability act. And act which would have made an example of Jason and the TC by saying “You don’t treat people with disabilities THIS WAY, they are equal to you, you treat them with respect. You provide the EQUAL accommodation for their needs as you have for your own.” And I hope in reading this response, you will achieve enlightenment and pass it along to others in Victoria. And if you want to know why “inspire” is not such a nice word for wheelies you could a) have read my blog or b) talk to someone you know and ask them how often they are told they are “inspirational”, “plucky”, “couragous” – because that would produce something.

Getting upset at someone in a wheelchair because they don’t talk or act like you want them to, well, that really isn’t going to solve the problem long term. And there IS a problem in this city. I guess the question is, do you want to help solve it or simply remain part of it?

Two points of view. Personally, I liked Neil's!


Neil said...

Wow! Interesting point of view Mr Anon has.
The only people I heard you dissing were the first aid clown patrol and Jason.

I recommend you avoid that particular race next year. Find one with people who care a little more about all the participants.

As for my modest effort: yes it was 10 Kilometres, at an average of 16.4 k/hr. Slow, yes, but on a pathway with people out walking at various speeds, and an MS walk in progress on part of my chosen route. Plus I still hurt in the thumb from my spill three weeks ago, and in the ankle from unknown source causing a strained ligament. Pedaling gently doesn't hurt the ankle, but our shifting asphalt does cause bumps that hurt the thumb.

Besides, there were gir - I mean people to watch while I rode. :)

Cheers, luv

The Goldfish said...

Wow. I can't believe someone from the event wrote an anonymous comment on your blog. That's real professional and courteous.

When I first read your post about the 10K, I imagined that you might have been misinformed or that at least there was information that you didn't have about how they organised things and you might have been unlucky with the individuals you had encountered, or they were all having a bad day (this is not skepticism about your account of things, I just imagine the best of everyone).

But no, this appears to confirm that you were spot on. Wheelchair-users don't count. There's no other way of interpreting this. Unless perhaps we count as children?

Which is a shame.

Good on Neil.

A Bear in the Woods said...

Wow, Mr. Anon outlined a program for bigotry that would make a plantation owner in the antebellum south proud. He did a tremendous job, as well, describing all the many ways in which otherly abled people are discriminated against in a society which values conformity above all.

And to do it anonymously...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Neil: Well, actually, I was just more concerned about what decisions the first aiders were making about my clothes and scissors - and I thought the whole, "No, she's confused," when I signed GIRLfriend, was quite funny. I tried not to say anything negative beyond what was going on and the comments the St. John's people made about it. I mean, we all start somewhere, just, next time....not on me! Well, I will see how next year turns out. Lots more races between now and then, maybe.

I forgot about your thumb and leg, I'm sorry - I just saw the time and though, hey, 10-12 mph on a bike and 36 minutes....? Actually, that is 6 miles isn't it - oh well, there goes my basic math skills.

Goldfish: I understand totally. I had sort of three stories - my race story, which had my typical humor. Then the First Aid story which we don't know why those people where there but they were trying to help, it was just they were facing something they hadn't dealt with and so the results were....um......diffuse.

And then the whole award/wheelchair no-sex conversations with the people at the award tables (and Linda and I driving the ENTIRE route the night before LOOKING for a single disability portapotty/toilet). Was it important enough for me to make a ruckus - I think it was important that the organizers understand that all people in wheelchairs aren't the same; some are quads, some para, some open class, and yes, two equal injury people a male and a female, means the male will usually come in first (the testosterone doesn't disappear, or the bone and muscle building capacity). That we aren't the same. And to imply that we are, or state it clear out seemed a bit much. Did I deserve a medal.....who knows, probably not if the people who signed up had showed up. But I still would have tried.

I was sort of shocked that someone took so much effort to go to the length of accusing me of stealing medals or lying about a nuerological condition and how it works or that essentially it was all my fault and I should just shut up and go away. Well, that's not what the two heros of Canada Rick Hansen and Terry Fox did and it is not what the hockey legend, the Rocket did (teams hired people to try to cause him permanent injury), so no, that's not how I am going to act either. And I am just sorry that someone was so upset that I even HAD a point of view that they would write, from the viewpoint of the organizers or committee members or connected to them to say what a bad person I am (well, I am, but not for this).

Yeah, good on Neil!

Neil said...

Thank you for your kind words, Beth. The wounds don't stop me from going fast, and I wasn't making excuses for myself. But if you want one, the truth is that the speedometer in the photo was new; that was the first ride with it (the last bicycle speedometer I had was in the 1960s). I admit that it even took my attention from watching the gi - road. Honestly, I just wasn't in a hurry.

Besides, you don't have to go fast to get places; I have a certificate somewhere to show that I once travelled 180 km in 10 hours 15 minutes. That didn't require speed, just perseverance.

I just told my wife that you think I ride slowly. Her snort was very lady-like.

Regarding the GIRLfriend issue: it's not often that your relationship needs explaining, and most people don't notice the average lesbian - it's not like you all have distinguishing plumage or anything. And since you're a minority group, that was an unexpected reaction. (nor did I "expect" to run across a Korean tourist on a bicycle last year near that very same tree). So I can understand a little hesitation on the clow - first aider's part. I could see myself confirming "Did you say GIRLfriend?" and thinking, okay, mental readjustment time. It doesn't change the treatment or amount of care, just don't expect a concerned GUY to come running over.

But cutting clothes for diabetes IS a bit extreme.

As to the T-C culling you from the herd (sory, couldn't resist); they admit in the revised article that you were among the winners. Thus very bad form to eliminate you from the website. And poor publicity to have never bothered updating the disabled information on the site. Boo, hiss to the Times Colonist.

Lene Andersen said...


The sad thing is, he has no idea he's a bigot. Let me educate you, anon: if you substitute another group whenever you use "you" or "disabled" - like say, black, Jewish, etc - and it sounds wrong, YOU'RE BEING A BIGOT!

I would like to be surprised that dude didn't have the gonads to sign his name, but I'm not. An attack disguised as "helpful" comments rarely does. And thanks to his cowardice, I am now free to ignore his existence utterly. If I could. Which I can't, as discriminatory remarks tend to make me a little ENRAGED!

Veralidaine said...

My mother told me, "If you have to say, 'I hope this won't offend, but,' shut your yap." Mr. Anon must not have been lucky enough to have a mother like mine.

Neil, I think lesbians should make a concerted effort to acquire distinctive plumage! I favor wings like Beth's. Then when she writes GIRLfriend, they will see the wings and understand ;)

Back to Mr. Anon's diatribe- If you're reading this, anonymous able-bodied runner, know that there is not much I can say to you besides: I walk. I run. I live in a place with a disability act that, while imperfect, addresses many issues. I coexist with wheelchair users- both female AND male- in my hometown, workplace, place of education, and social life.

I have never once found a wheelchair user's requests for equality one iota as offensive as you seem to find Beth's.

I would a hundred times rather race, box, play badminton, or do any sport, anywhere, any time, with a strong woman in a wheelchair than a cowardly able-bodied man, afraid to sign his own name.

Anonymous said...

Besides all other points that you are all bringing up. You all need to understand that the Times Colonist really has no input into the organization of the event. They are simply a sponsor of the event. They are not in charge of the online registration, website, or any of the other things that this girl is bringing up. The race is organized by a race committee.
I don't even work for the Times Colonist, I just don't want them to get bad press after they have been such a great supporter of this event for the past 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting my comments, and thanks to all those that think I am a bigot.
Elizabeth, I am not upset that you had a point of view. I myself had a point of view. I am also not accusing you of stealing anything or lying or it being your fault. You were treated very poorly but I think you are still misunderstanding certain things about events such as these. Firstly the TC has no involvement in online registration, volunteer hiring or anything like that. That is the job of the race committee. That would be the same as if it were called the Thrifty Foods 10k and you went to the food tent to try and find answers. The TC is merely just to give financial and media support.

I couldn't imagine if there were no toilets. That would be shitty...literally. I am guessing from the races point of view this is how they see it. There are 11,000 registrants which their reg. money pays for the non-wheelchair accessable toilets, awards and prize money. I think the TC10k is there to make money. There were only 5 wheelchair entrants? I guess they unfortunately look at it as a business and it is not worth adding wheelchair accessable toilets or awards for such a small category. That is very unfortunate and I encourage everyone to participate but I am guessing that is how they see it. The HBC Run is amazing in the way that it supports Canada's athletes. HBC donated millions of dollars to help Canadian athletes which is amazing, although the prize money is a gift certificate not cash. I believe that HBC also has a bit more cash flow than our local Newspaper.

I have absolutely no discrimination. The only reason i say 'you' or 'disabled person' is because that is how you're saying it. Isn't this whole subject about how you were not in your own category? To me that seems like you want to be segregated. You are trying to seperate yourself are you not? by me saying this doesn't mean i think there shouldn't be different categories because i think there should be. And yes I am male and by the way the race is organized mainly by two women.

Yours still remaining anon.

Gaina said...

I'm sorry, was that retort penned by a 12-year old, cos 'Diddums' really did chuck his/her toys of the crib at you, didn't they? With poor spelling as well.

The 'anon' shield really pisses me off! If you have an opinion, grow a set and stand by it for christ' sake!.

As for :
- Not moving over when asked to clear the road was also somewhat disrespectful. Yes you are trying to have a fast time but so are those 'elites' at the front. And for the safety of the hundreds of runners it is courtesy to move aside if you are being passed.

Didn't 'anon' just acknowledge that you can't move sideways?

Nowt as funny as folk, I suppose....

cheryl g said...

sigh... a troll has found it's way to the blog and must be cast out. I call on the Shrine Maidens to assist!

Mr Anonymous: You certainly didn't read closely since you seem to have totally missed the point. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint and showing that we are correct in stating that it is attitudes like yours that allow discrimination to continue.

Veralidaine said...

I vote that we poke the troll with sticks until he comes out from under his bridge. Failing that, let's collect some troll slime and turn it into "ACME Quackery Potion" and sell it as a chelator that will cure Autism!

Anon, I posit to you: "Equality is not everyone getting the same thing. It's everyone getting what they need."

By the way, if you've every boycotted anything with sponsors, you know that STEP ONE of such an action is to identify the financial sponsors and lobby them to pull the financial support they're providing. They may not have a vote on the race committee, but the Times Colonist has a figurative wallet to vote with, and a threat to pull sponsorship would do a helluva lot to get some cash prizes to the wheelie racers, I daresay!

Now, I'm done matching wits with this unarmed opponent, and I invite any and all shrine maidens and fellow commenters to join me in locating some billy goats, quite gruff, to chase across this bridge in order to lure out the troll.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Mr, Anon, dearheart, you may not be aware of this but non-disabled people are able to use an accessible toilet, having accessible toilets does not cut down on services to YOU it just manages to include US. And, no, even though you think you are - you are not a man. A man stands by his words, not hiding behind 'anon' like a child behind a mother's skirt.

Elizabeth, you do inspire me - not because you do sport (sport bores me) but because you don't take shit and you don't back down. We need more righteous anger in our movement. You stiffen my spine (but that's all - sorry).

Elizabeth McClung said...

A bear in the woods: well, yes, I guess we all don't neccessarily realize that there is all that gunk inside until some button is pushed, which is what seemed to happen here. I just liked the irony that if there was any gay discrimination is was the assumption that I was temporarily brain damaged or confused if I refered to my "girlfriend". Actually the anon. aspect makes it a better voice for Victoria for me. I would guess it is Male, lives in Oak Bay or a good, traditionally british suburb, owns thier own accomadation, over 50 and has either a british, "Stiff upper lip" or similar background. But that is just a guess. Sometimes you can get the same response from a 20 something bus driver (like the one driving the wheelchair handidart which kept talking about 'ya handicapped' and 'the cripples')

Neil: I was wondering if you had reset that - but I got the inaugeral ride - woot! Nope, 180 km, was that a road race? Also, is that a "I agree" - please help in snort interpretation.

Yes it did seem quite odd that Day 1, event happens, I post blog and then 24 hours later or so the "coming soon" and wheelchair aspects is gone from the site completely. I called in the correction because I kept getting people going, "Was that YOU in the news, they kept saying Elizabeth McCluns and I know you, but I've never heard of her...." And if I was number 4000 I wouldn't have cared but who knows, If they send me some sort of plaque in the post I don't want one dedicated to the wrong person for all time.

Lene: Yeah, seriously, I think that what for me was three parts, the race, the first aid and then the interactions with 'the organization' - one or more or those triggered some buttons that I was attacking the TC 10K, when quite honestly, I just comment on anything that is odd or amusing or does something stupid, which usually is ME. It is just what came out was not from a viewpoint that was informed from wheelchair use or users. The only point that kind of made me go a little odd was that this was "lighter note" which implies some sort of humor or banter.

Veralidiane: - that is a good saying even if I am so curious about something like, how does post polio work that I will say to someone, "I know this is probably annoying but are you will...." So maybe I am the ignorant one often, but at least trying to move toward the light (while knocking people down). And yes, I was unable to do the distinctive lesbian handshake! Sorry!

Hmmmm, now I am not sure if you didn't find me a wee offensive, oh well, I do get my (please look away) tit in a wringer when someone starts telling me that wheelchair have no sex. Or since all the men have finished there is nothing left for the women. Thanks.

Anon: I believe that you believe what you say and that things ARE done by committee, it is just my viewpoint that if you put up YOUR stand next to the awards stand, if you put your NAME on something, if you print before and after all the details of the race (and on the web page clearly states that they are one of the four people who organize the race), it is hard to say there is NO INFLUENCE. They could for example say, "Due to your actions toward people in wheelchairs, we do not wish to public sponsor or be associated with this race." They are an organization which is made of beings who can make decisions, and thier presence does make a statement.

I guess I am asking is, do you really believe that whomever fronts money and some time is thus good - that you would be as willing to run in the Marlborough Smokes & Phzier animal research 10K (sic) - that having a tobacco company next to the award booth handing out packs of cigs has no say, that the organizers couldn't say, "We don't want that action taken" to TC and that TC couldn't say, "We are fronting time and money, we feel this is important." Honestly, do you think there is no input or association with the TC and the TC 10K and if it is the Abolish Gay Marriage Alliance 10K next year, that will exactly the same?

It did seem from feedback I am getting from my partner's workplace in government that many people had, problems, this year, like being listed as a male and the people refusing to change it, or paying early bird and being refused a shirt becuase it was being saved for "late paying people" amoung a few examples. So perhaps I was not the only one with communcations problems that day.

Anon Part II: Actually, I did what you asked me to do - post your comments and respond. I also would say that I didn't call you a bigot but that I did point out many aspects which I percieved at extreme bias of a particular point of view. What others say, I don't know - I have no desire to turn this into a forum, and will probably have to ask people to tone down, though since you got your full say, I am still trying to find a middle way.

As for TC involvement we will agree to disagree and what I saw as rude brush off behavior you saw as justified ignoring of someone demanding something that was not there to be given - okay, I think the horse is dead. I have many issue regarding the TC, which if you will read my blog you will note (like when you have a pride parade march through downtown and your big headline is that there was a nighttime firework in Oak Bay - THAT was a TC editorial choice - as is the way they cover disability issues).

Actually there were more entrants who paid, just not all showed up. Also, the organizers had no way of knowing how many family member, supporters or since there WAS not box for making wheelchair, other wheelchair users would show up. I do not like the "They paid more money so they get the service" viewpoint - since YOU are the one putting forward that theory view (the committee seems quiet), I can only surmise this is how YOU see it. Well, unfortunately a society, and an event does not work based on that - there were I believe 70% women at the TC 10K but we still gave men prizes, there were 99% whites, but I still think other races were eligable as well - both for prizes but for cookies and drinks, there were not santitary pads handed out instead of drinks because one sex was higher represented than other. And having several hundred toilets at the START, DURING and at the end compared to ONE is shitty, as you point out. Because a society looks at the NEEDS of all of its members - I am well aware of the idea, becuase I know of government and private buildings who minimize and would elimiate blue parking spots if they have no one working there AT THAT MOMENT who needs that spot. But accessibility means you get to have equal treatment and with amount of people I saw in race who were post stroke, or other major injuries, I think a few more toilets with bars for support would be a simple human kindness (we are allowed that still), if not a requirement of what it means to be a community. The latest survey has shown that 1 in 7 Canadians have some for of disability. I did not ask for 13% of toilets to be wheelchair or disability accessible. I am not going to go into a this over that - both races charge about the same amount, both raise hundreds of thousands, of which a percentage is taken in administration - both offer thousand of dollars in prizes (which I believe you pointed out was NEEDED for able bodied athletes to remain professional atheletes) - the TC 10K made a choice - please let us give them the dignity of being grown ups. They chose to give it to the able bodied runner elites and the able bodied runner 40+ with prizes to fundraisers and groups. The HBC gives smaller amounts but to virtually every catagory. Both runs have adults who make decisions which reflect how they view the people in thier run. The TC is about how WE the community are supporting (actually asking many people in the run, they had NO idea what charity was being supported) the community and offering enough cash to bring in top runners. The HBC (remember, they only are supporting the event and have no say.........right?), since it is encouraging sport and participatation as well as paralympians would look like right idiots if they only gave money to the best able bodied runners. But then, in my opinion, so does the TC. And that is reflected by the amount of people in wheelchair who come down from various areas to participate, usually only 1 or two from victoria - over the years other wheelchair athletes have found the TC not interested in them enough to pay for transporting a long and cumbersome chair a long distance to be in a race in which they may or may not have a gender - and no public prize as the able bodied athelete do. It is the TC's right. I is also the right of my neighbor to only praise male atheles and call female athletes, "women who haven't found a good enough man to keep them in the kitchen" - it is thier right, but it says something to me about how they view people too.

I am glad I have finally met someone of no discrimination, becuase I have it, and everyone I know who works on making an equal society admits to working against thier own often, unconscious or unrecognized discrimination. My friend at the para association echoed what you yourself said, "You should not be starting with the other wheelchair elites. They are going under or low 30mins and that is why they are in front to begin with." Now, while an incorrect statement it does indicate why along with the whole Oscar Pistorius issue, wheelchairs are considered a seperate catagory. One which is comprised of people with various degrees of impairment and with TWO genders (male and female).

This is a sort of "seperate but equal" issue - are we respecting the athletes as equal human beings with the same drives as athletes which run on two legs? Well, in the case of the TC 10K - no, the money shows that, the rankings show that, my experience show that and your attempt to simplify the, "If you want to be seperate than everything I say about "you" versus "everyone" means that I have no discrimination.

If you believe there is a level playing field, then take this challenge. Quit your job (if you are not early retired), get fitted for a wheelchair, research something like secondary MS, and with those limitations see what kind of job you get in a wheelchair, or what kind of stores or resturants you have access too, how you are treated and then come for NEXT years 10K and pull yourself, with your ARMS up and down those hills and then we will talk about catagories and discrimination. Because right now, you have yet to demonstrate that you have even asked someone in a wheelchair about "inspirational" or "plucky" or "brave" or if they get treated different - I mean, you do KNOW someone in a wheelchair, don't you?

Yours still remaining Elizabeth McClung, an open target with a recognizable picture (why not come down to the Y and join the boxing program and then we can compare notes on able bodied versus wheelchair boxing). Thank you for responding Voice of Victoria, I appreciate your love of the run, and the TC10K, I have yet to see you appreciate my love of being an equal human being.

Gaina: Yes, well, the choice of being anon is his. Please refrain from attacks on spelling or other issues which may result from impairment like dyslexia (I have enough problem in that department myself).

Um, actually that was me in brackets trying to explain to anon that wheelchairs DON'T go sideways, which is while a file of runners approacing a wheelchair from behind (which according to race rules has right of way!) can more easily avoid than vice versa - same with baby carriages and babies strewn on the road.

Cheryl: if only I had the energy. I published it becuase it DID seem to genuinely reflect the attitude we were encountering there and so, if Victoria chooses a voice and decides that the problem is that of the wheelies, I am interested to hear it.

I agree with the second paragraph, it seems that enlightenment or understanding the frustrations which might occur from the seated view was not the point.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Please let us not obsess TOO much on the anon, we are not, he is, okay - just accept that. For all I know it is my neighbor.

Veralidaine: I like your posit, and I agree with your points on the power of the TC (though they DO have a seat on the final board of 4 people - according to the TC 10K website). I think we should treat mr. Anon as a potential ally, as I believe all will, at least when old age hits, reach some form of enlightenment.

Dave: Oh you, I had a well enjoyed laugh as you managed to put some sexual humor into this - it is like having a bit of Stephen Fry pop by. Yes, I think if we were midsummer's night dream, our torrid affair would be a bit of farce and slapstick comedy indeed. And while I am in awe of your writing and commitment, you also do not light me up where...um....ice is often applied.

Veralidaine said...

Good point, Beth- I'll call off the goats and go sit on my hands until age leads him to notice the substantial benefits of accessible places to do essential things like have a poo.

Dawn Allenbach said...

What the hell is a "recreational wheelchair user"? Do you have cooler of beer on one side of the chair, a grill on the other, and an awning over you to keep the sun off?

Oh, and "anonymous racer" -- I don't have words that haven't already been said. He upholds the status quo of discrimination and pandering to those in authority, but he does it anonymously. Because it's WRONG, you privileged piece of . . . .

sarah said...

jeez-zus christ-on-a-bicycle.

she lost me at "rebutle", which for the record, rebuttal (two t's lady) refers to presenting actual evidence, not just your own personal opinions.

sarah said...

oh, and seeing her re-butt-al, I will also add that it is people first, ie, a person with a disability, not a disabled person. tomato, tomahto, but an important distinction when you're fighting for social change.

Maggie said...

in the midst of a headache so take all of the words in a ramble and my wit as it comes!

As to only having one disabled toilet yes, only the five registered wheelies would need to use it. Never mind there might be other disabled people in the crowd needing to pee. What about people with temporary disabilities like broken ankles? Maybe an elite runner tripped and fell on a bad day; might they need to use a larger toilet to accommodate their crutches? Personally, I have bladder fortitude and a fear of peeing in mobile places so I'm not really familiar with the dement ions of portable toilets, but being a trained observer I'm pretty sure they might need a bit more space.
Also, having worked with event management companies, corporations are extremely paranoid about what and how their corporate logo gets attached. Yes, there are committees involved, but you can bet your bottom dollar that everything is cleared through at least one company representative and in reality there is probably at least one rep on each committee and volunteers at events like these are usually emblazoned with VOLUNTEER so folks know who they are. Volunteerism is another topic near and dear to my heart...I'm sort of an expert. When people are identified as volunteers they tend not to be abused by the public. Seeing as 1. Jason didn't identify himself as a volunteer and 2. Wasn’t plastered like a volunteer billboard he WASN'T a volunteer. So, you are probably right in your assertion that he was a paid employee of the event company. Like we ever had any doubts.
Now, I just have to share this with you, since you apparently lack a gender, the ability to form independent thought, or have the ability to care for yourself (I had this funny image of you rolling around with Linda always on your lap so you were never without your appropriate chaperone) please, go back to the cabins behind the big house...after all you are such an inspiration (giggle giggle). Love ya!

FridaWrites said...

Umm, anonymous, it is a bit insulting to refer to Elizabeth as a "girl" since she's in her 30s.

As far as the disability toilets go, people who aren't in wheelchairs often need them as well, and that goes for volunteers and visitors, not just athletes. Because of my back problems, a regular toilet was difficult for me to use pre-wheels. It was also difficult when I was pregnant (and had back problems). Port-a-potties are particularly small. The disabled toilets may also be used by women with small children (all those strollers??). Who wants to leave your toddler outside the port-a-potty because you won't both fit? Wheelies should get first dibs and people shouldn't go in there and hog.

On the inspirational issue, you may not be aware that is the cliche that everyone tells us all the time, and it keeps people from seeing the needs we express. It also devalues people who aren't able to be as strong or compete. Popular media stories on people with disabilities state how they didn't let disability stop them; well, sometimes it does stop us and we can't do anything about it. For a good, brief article on why people find it insulting:

Neil said...

It wasn't quite the first ride of the year, but just the first ride with a new toy on the bike. My wife's snort was at the thought that I don't go fast - last night I got up to 37 km/hr on the way home with panniers full of milk and other groceries.

The 180 km day was a randonneur ride in 1984. It was two months after I bought my beloved road/touring bicycle. Randonneurs are a time/distance challenge, not a race. We had a time limit of 12 hours and a distance of 200 km. I couldn't read the bloody map and cut off a 20 km loop at Ft. Qu'Appelle, and by the time I got to the finish line, I was too wiped to do the 10 km "out and back" I was offered to officially finish.

Wings as plumage for lesbians (and thank you everyone for not being offended at my poor excuse for humour) would be wonderful, and probably quite beautiful. I'd be tempted to copyright the idea, but Beth beat me to it.

Here's to more beauty in the world.

yanub said...

Anon is a fine piece of work, no? I especially love the excuse making that there aren't many people using wheelchairs in the event, therefore there is no reason to make allowances for people using wheelchairs. Of course, Anon is right sad about this state of affairs, but it just wouldn't be reasonable to expect anything else. Reminds me of a true life story MD told me of a hamburger joint she once went to. There was wheelchair parking, because that's mandated by US law, but there was no wheelchair entry into the restaurant. Since she wasn't in a wheelchair that day, she was able to go in and ask about it. The owner-manager actually said to her, "Well, we've never had anyone in a wheelchair come in here, so we don't need it." Anon, I'm not going to explain to you why that was a stupid excuse. I'll let you figure it out on your own.

Neil inspires me! I would never have thought to be a virtual race partner with someone. That is a truly magnificent idea. I'll have to put it into practice somehow.

(Elizabeth, sorry to end up picking on Anon somewhat, but it isn't often that a real life example of our frustrations blunders onto a disability/feminist/glbt-type blog. I'm sure Anon is a nice person, and this may even be a Learning Experience for Anon. Another lesson for Anon is that one should at least use a consistent pseudonym when posting comments. It's what most of us do so that we are known. You don't have to be as identified as Elizabeth is, but there are a billion Anons, and you could be anyone of them. And they are always jerks. Be Sir Porknbeans instead.)

Raccoon said...

I think that anything that I was going to say has already been said.


cheryl g said...

Can I get the wheelchair model with the cooler of beer and grill? It sounds like the perfect choice for a day at the beach although it might get cumbersome around the office.

Neil said...

It's very nice of you to say that, Yanub. Thank you! I'm glad I can inspire SOMEONE; I'm not very inspiring to myself tonight, though.

Gaina said...

I unreservedly apologise to anyone who thought I was being insensitive towards people with dyslexia, as I have good friends at Uni with the condition and after seeing how frustrating the condition is for them, I do feel lucky that my disability is visible.

I was thinking more that this indicated someone who isn't smart enough to get smug with someone with such stellar brainage as yourself :).

Lisa Corriveau said...

hm. The TC 10k seems very disorganized when it comes to accessibility. Perhaps they should look around at other races in BC for 'inspiration'... It's not like they're the only 10k in the world. I'm pissed that they evidently don't care enough about accessibility to look around to see how other events are run, like the Vancouver Sun Run.

After the Sun Run, $2000 prizes are awarded to top wheelchair racers of *both* sexes. These prizes are less than the prizes awarded to the top international runners, but equal to the prizes for the top Canadian runners.

Wheeling entrants are divided into two categories: unassisted entrants in wheelchairs start the race first, assisted wheelchair-users go in with the walkers & strollers et al.

Not to say that the Sun Run is perfect or anything, but just a few minutes of googling turned up a lot of very useful information about how they do things. Maybe we should forward it to the organizing committee of the TC 10k?

Keep on rolling & keep on fighting, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Gaina: I didn't think you were, I just didn't want us to end up doing what we were trying to get others to avoid, so I mentioned it - thank you for responding in such a positive spirit!