Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The disqualification of Joe Dubay a college skier from Minnesota who borrowed his teammate's bib at the American Birkebeiner 54K classic race this year has created quite a stir on Fasterskier.com. I even chimed in, and know several of the commentors from years past in the Lower 48. His teammate had signed up for the race back in November (it fills early) but qualified for Junior Nationals and said, hey just use my bib at the Birkie. The 21 year old Dubay, probably figured what the heck, and no doubt did not expect to be in the lead group, but he was and he outsprinted the legendary Olympic and World Champion Vegard Ulvang and David Chamberlain. Awesome! But the organizers figured out the bib issue and so he was DQ'd, AFTER standing up on the podium. Now that had to suck. Well, in my somewhat misspent youth of running I did something similar once. It was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just a week after my final college track meet. I drove to Cedar Rapids and jumped into a 10K along the Cedar River. I got there just a few minutes before the start and neglected to sign up, ahh just a workout I figured and I was banking on at best a 4th or 5th and I'd just drop out before the chute. Half way through, running about 5:20 pace which felt easy I took the lead and pulled away easily. Came to the chute and stepped away, but the Race Director, a past training partner, ushered me through. I told him that I hadn't signed up, but he said no problem. So they awarded me 1st place and a trophy. But the 2nd place guy--he had his entire family there, girlfriend, ma, pa, grandma--complained and so I was asked to give the trophy back and faced a lot of scolding and finger wagging from the family. Oops. I didn't do this often, but a couple years later in Eugene, OR, I was just visting "Mecca" for a couple weeks--I ran a 10K a fundraiser for "Dr. Zultan's Track Club" along the Willamette River. This time I was nowhere near the top (they were sub 31), maybe 5th but as I approached the chute, I veered off and those few dozen in attendance were laughing. Turns out 1,2,3,4 were also bandits. I think it was 7th place about a minute later who was the first legitimate finisher. Oh to be young and stupid in the early 1980s! I stopped the nonsense after that. Yes you need to pay, or sign up. And yes switching bibs is in poor form. Nevertheless, some of the comments want Dubay's head, and additional sanctioning. It's over. He paid his dues. Makes for some fun discussion and memories, though.