In light of the recent and on-going debate on whether or not Cross Country race distances should be the same distance for both genders, London City AC conducted a member survey to establish their views. Our club competes in the Metropolitan Cross Country League in which the distances are 8K for Senior Men and 6K for Senior Women. Members were given a week to respond to an online survey and 50 members responded. Debate on the subject was encouraged and facilitated on our private social media channels.
Q1: Do you believe that the Metropolitan Cross Country League race distances for Senior Male and Female competitors should be ‘equalised’ in light of the debate of gender equality in sport?
This is a huge vote in favour of equalising the distances. It should be noted that the 10% who voted ‘No’ were all female runners.
Q2: If ‘Yes’ what distances should they run? Rank in order of preference (1 = 1st choice).
Members were given four choices taken from our online debates on the subject and asked to rank them. These options were:
- 6K for both races.
- 7K for both races.
- 8K for both races.
- 8K and 6K ‘alternating’ gender per race (so in first race of the season Senior Men would run 8K and Senior Women 6K, then in the second Women would run the 8K and the Men would run 6K).
These options assume that the Senior Male and Senior Female races will remain separate in order to manage the increasing numbers participating in the league.
Our first clear conclusion is that 6K is by far the least popular option with an average score of 1.81. It was picked as the least favoured option most, and the most favoured option least.
Members mostly picked a first choice of either ‘8K’ or ‘Alternating’, and then 7K as second choice. This happened so often that 7K won the vote with a score of 3.00. 7K was rarely anyone’s favourite option, and was never picked as the least favourite. 7K is seen as the least controversial option and probably the best option for the Met League if distances are equalised.
8K was the favourite option more times than any other, but it’s score came down as it was picked 3rd and 4th choice often enough (Average score was 2.88).
The ‘Alternating’ option was divisive. Members really loved the idea picking it as their first choice, but almost as many picked it as their last choice (Average score was 2.58). Based on these results ‘Alternating’ would be too controversial an idea to put forward to the Met League.
The conclusion is that our members believe distances should be equalised, but have varying opinions on what that should look like in the Met League.
Moving forward we will share these results with the League organisers and the teams in the league to see what their thoughts are. If 10 clubs express support for the least controversial and divisive option of 7K for both senior races, then we will be happy to propose a rule change to the League for a vote at this year’s AGM in April. Also, if clubs back 8K for both, our club will support this as it was picked 1st choice most often. A majority of the 24 clubs in the League would need to vote in favour of any change.
Update: London City AC proposed increasing the distance of the Women’s race to 8K. This was voted against 8 votes to 6 by the other clubs in the Met League. A threshold of 11 votes (two thirds of clubs attending the AGM) was required for the proposal to pass.