There’s been lots of buzz in the running world over the past couple of weeks surrounding Gia Alvarez and the Boston Marathon. In a nutshell, Gia was unable to run the Boston Marathon last year, and gave her bib to a friend. The rest of the story about whether she used her friend’s finish time to qualify for this year’s race seems to be up for debate, but nonetheless, she broke the Boston Athletic Association’s regulations about passing race bibs to other runners. She did something that is not only frowned upon, but violated the organization’s policies.
This isn’t the first time that there have been issues with runners breaking the rules for the Boston Marathon, or any other race for that matter. Plenty of races have seen runners commit other race crimes, including cutting the course and bib banditting. Its all just wrong.
When you register for a race, whether its you went to the website and paid a registration fee, ran a qualifying race in order to secure entry, fundraised on behalf of an organization that paid for your bib for you, whatever the entry method was, by registering you’ve committed to doing something. And while there are plenty of runners who follow through on their commitment, there are plenty of others who for whatever reason don’t run the race as they’re expected to. And I’m not including those who are injured or sick or have a legitimate excuse for not running a race, and either legally transfer their bib or let the bib go unused. I’m addressing those who cheat the race system in order to find self benefit.
Cheating the system is an issue I face on a daily basis in the classroom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with students who try to pass off others’ work as their own, thinking that its completely acceptable to do so. I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered students who are so focused on finding loopholes in assignments, trying to cut corners in order to find an easy way out. Sometimes, they’ll spend just as much time, if not more time, finding loopholes than it would have taken to complete the assignment in the first place. Overall, I’ve seen a decline in work ethic and self responsibility among students since I started teaching eight years ago, which is really quite sad. What infuriates me the most in the classroom is when students who are enrolled in honors and AP classes, courses that they’ve elected to take, fail to follow through on completing the course in an ethical manner.
I’m of the mindset of just do what’s expected of you and don’t try to find loopholes around things. I bang my head against the wall with my students all the time regarding this. In Gia’s case, it was wrong to pass the bib to a friend, and if she really did try to pass off her friend’s finish time as her own, then that was wrong as well. If she couldn’t run the race, which it sounds like she made the right decision about, then such is life. Nobody should have run with that bib, unless it was officially transferred, which it wasn’t.
Ultimately, those who are trying to cheat the system are ultimately cheating themselves.
QOTD: What are your thoughts on doing what’s expected of you?