Tracksmith, a brand deeply embedded in the world of running, recently found itself at the center of controversy.
In the fast-paced world of social media, a single post can spark a firestorm. Tracksmith recently learned this the hard way with the release of their 2024 BQ Singlet.
The release was accompanied by an Instagram post that ignited a heated debate within the running community.
In response, Tracksmith issued an apology, acknowledging the missteps in their initial approach and affirming their commitment to celebrating all runners.
What’s Wrong With Their BQ Singlet?
Tracksmith recently found itself at the epicenter of a controversy. The cause of the uproar? The release of their 2024 BQ Singlet.
It all started with a seemingly innocuous Instagram post that snowballed into a heated debate within the running community.
But what exactly is the fuss about, and why has Tracksmith’s BQ Singlet become such a topic of conversation?
Critics of the BQ Singlet have raised several key points of concern.
The Jock Semple Controversy
Tracksmith posted the Instagram post quoting Jock Semple, a former co-race director of the Boston Marathon.
Semple had famously tried to stop Kathrine Switzer from running the race in 1967 because she was a woman.
The choice to reference Semple in this context was seen as insensitive and disrespectful to the history of women’s struggle for equality in the sport.
Some argue that it appears to trivialize the significant progress made in promoting inclusivity and gender equality in running over the years.
In contrast, there are also defenders of the BQ Singlet who offer counterarguments.
First, they emphasize that the Jock Semple quote may have been taken out of context.
They also say that Semple later advocated for women’s participation in the Boston Marathon.
Also, there are some people who see the quote as a historical reference rather than an endorsement of discrimination.
Tracksmith Controversy | Exclusivity or Elitism?
At the heart of the debate is another question of exclusivity versus elitism.
The Instagram post appeared to emphasize that the singlet was exclusively for Boston Marathon qualifiers.
This has created a division between “fast” and “slow” runners, leaving out those who may have achieved a BQ time but didn’t make the registration cutoff due to the race’s field size restrictions.
It raises a fundamental question:
Should running, a sport known for its inclusivity, be celebrated in a way that caters only to the elite few? Or should it embrace runners of all paces and abilities?
Critics argue that the singlet sends a message that only certain runners’ accomplishments are worthy of recognition.
They say it undermines the achievements of other runners who came close to the coveted Boston qualification.
However, there are also people who have presented different views.
Supporters of the singlet also assert that it is meant as a reward and recognition for those who have demonstrated high performance and dedication in their running journey.
According to this perspective, the singlet does not intend to demean or exclude anyone; it simply celebrates an extraordinary accomplishment and the hard work that went into achieving it.
Tracksmith’s Apology: Acknowledging Missteps
On October 5, 2023, Tracksmith released its official apology following the controversy that its previous post had created.
In their apology, Tracksmith expressed regret for their post and recognized that their intention to celebrate Boston Marathon qualifiers had missed the mark.
The apology wrote:
“We apologize for our post on Monday. Our intention was to celebrate those who qualified for the Boston Marathon, but our approach and the words we chose to amplify missed the mark. We regret that the message offended many in our community, especially those who put in the miles every day towards a myriad of running goals and who are just as committed as those who will race Boston in April…..”
In this way, the brand openly acknowledged the offense their message had caused within their community, especially among dedicated runners working towards various running goals.
The brand affirmed its dedication to supporting all runners, whether aspiring Boston Marathon qualifiers or individuals pursuing unique running achievements.
The apology further highlighted that Tracksmith’s commitment to celebrating all runners extends beyond a social media post.