he organizers of the Cazenovia 4th of July Foot Race are offering a detailed explanation of why a request to push two twelve year old boys in baby joggers he organizers of the Cazenovia 4th of July Foot Race are offering a detailed explanation of why a request to push two twelve year old boys in baby joggers is not being allowed. Syracuse Chargers Track Club President Dave Oja says the decision was made after the Chargers board rejected the idea as part of their ongoing "commitment to participant safety in all of our events."
Oja says the criticism of race organizers for not allowing wheelchairs in the race is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. Oja says Rick Cote asked whether the club would be okay with having two or three boys pushed in the 10 miler in what he described as essentially a large baby jogger. The club prohibits the pushing of baby joggers during races out of concern for safety.
There is no ban on what is commonly referred to as wheelchair racers even though the 10 mile course is considered a difficult course for wheelchair racers. The club also does not keep individuals from using self-propelled wheelchairs in the race.
The decision by the Syracuse Chargers led to a strong public response and calls for runners to skip the traditional 10 mile run around Cazenovia Lake.
In a letter to Rick Cote, Oja added: "I believe that each of the members of our Board of Directors admires your generous intentions in providing these experiences to children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, but--as a Board--we have an overriding obligation to do everything we can to make Chargers-conducted events as safe as possible for all participants.
Thanks very much for asking in advance."
The running community that has advocated for the two boys, Jack and Nolan Willis, reached out to national media about the story including Runner's World which plans to run a story on this event and the controversy tomorrow.