tayken wrote: I'll take this further and say qualifying times for races like Boston should be the same for both genders, as opposed to the 30mins window. There are a lot of females that run faster than women, so not all Boston qualifiers are created equal.
Again, women only races is doing absolutely f'all for advancing the sport of long distance running. The organizers are just using it as a ploy to make money and make it seem like they care about feminism.
While you are at it, why not also address ageism. And because it is the Boston Marathon that should have extra prestige, only those who can run 3 hours or quicker can qualify. Just go over to Let's Run or take a time machine back 15 years to Runner's World and you will find a number of people who will argue that if it is taking you 4 hours to complete a marathon, you are not "running" a marathon. The hotels, etc might have some issues with those sort of criteria.
In 2012, 12,588 finishers were male, 8,966 were female so you seem to have a solution in search of a problem.
And if you are right that women only gyms fail because they are not really meeting the true demand and are silly, then women only races will also fail for the same reasons and you have nothing to worry about.
If you really think about it, what about racing is not arbitrary? Why is it 5 k and not 3 mile. There are numerous shorter trail races of 6.4 or 15.7 K. A marathon is 26.2 because of a very arbitrary decision.
To approach this from a different angle:
According to Running USA, participation in road races peaked in 2014 and have been dropping since. Over 19,000,000 finishers in 2014 compared to under 17,000,000 last year. As a side note, marathons made up 4% of all races and in 2014, there were 550,000 finishers, in 2015 209,000 or a 8% drop. Running USA did not note the number of marathon finishers in 2016 but did note that the 5 K was the most popular race followed by the half marathon. That women make up 57% of all finishers. Race Directors are having to find new ways to keep the runners they have and attract new participants. So why not try and anticipate the wants and needs of your largest customer base.
Everyone is trying to figure out the next big thing: color runs, obstacle course runs were the next big thing but those numbers already seem to have peaked. So I do not fault anyone for trying a "women's" run.
As the population ages, I suspect the numbers for all endurance events will start to fade.
I was just curious and looked a couple of local Fondos - 150 km + bike rides. Banff Fondo started in 2012 and the numbers were 1,317, 1,418, 1306, 1,066 and the last and turns out final year last year was 701. Canmore Gran Fondo - three years in existence and the numbers were 183, 76 and 58. These rides are adding in Medio or shorter rides of 100 K or less just to survive as once you get a number of people to do the longer events, it is checked off their to do list and move on. Bike shops are filled and the roads I travel on are full of cyclists, it is just as the population ages, my guess is that people just have more sense than to do multiple distance events. I see women only mountain bike classes, women only road bike race strategy classes, women only group rides and women only clubs. In the ATB Highwood Pass Gran Fondo - only one distance of 135 K, 46 women finished last year v 244 men. So women only is required to grow the sport although I do suspect that women are smarter than men as they realize how dumb it is to ride for 5 or 6 hours or more just to say they finished 135 K.