It seems to me that during my last road race the runners who beat me to the finish all pushed off on their right foot. I'm left-footed and feel that I'm being penalized! Does the International Federation recognize right- and left-handed divisions for athletes as they do age, gender and weight groups? Do any of the major race organizations have policies to ensure equality between right- and left-handed runners? - Lefty the Southpaw
Five years ago a popular national fast food restaurant chain placed a full page advertisement in newspapers across the United States saying that it was introducing a left-handed hamburger. This April Fools prank went on to say that the sandwich contained all of the wholesome ingredients of the original hamburger, but rotated half way around, for the exclusive benefit of the 32 million left handed American consumers. Thousands of sinistral customers rushed to their local burger barns to request the sandwich, prompting the company to publish a retraction the following day.
It's clear that big business and industry mock the issue of left handedness.
We live in a right hand dominated world. Scissor handles are tooled for the right-handed, books are published for right-handed page turners, camera shutter buttons are engineered on the right side of camera chassis, cork screws, wrist watches, even measuring cups all are produced primarily for the right-handed consumer.
Thus it should be no surprise that road races are designed by, and thoughtlessly ruled by the self righteous dextrals of the world! I was so enraged and sympathetic to your plight that I decided to write to the International Federation on your behalf, demanding an official answer to the question "How does the Federation guarantee equality between the right- and left-handed runners of the world?"
What follows, is the email message I received by a Mr. Hugh R. Amoron, who wrote:
The Federation maintains the deepest respect for all competitors regardless of race, gender, age, religion, and sexual orientation. Our competion rule book for 2004-2005 does not include any specific policy or regulation with regard to right- or left-handedness.
Are you taking some kind of medication?
I took note of the disrespect for my question and decided to address a spokeswoman for the International Association of Marathons, a Ms. Gretta Friganklu. Ms. Friganklu wouldn't respond to me by email, so I was forced to call her at her office. What follows is the short transcript of that conversation:
RTP: Ms. Friganklu, would you care to comment on the Association response to the right-handed runner advantage controversy surrounding your sanctioned marathons and road races?
GF: Excuse me?
RTP: Is it true that right-handed runners are intentionally given certain competitive benefits over left-handed athletes in road races around the world.
GF: Is this some kind of joke?
RTP: Ms. Friganklu, these are serious allegations being made against your organization, and I feel its my duty to expose the truth to the planet. Am I to understand that you refuse to respond to this issue?
GF: Who is this, really?
Alas, my sincerity was met with ridicule. It appears, from my in-depth research on the subject, that the governing organizations for our sport lack sympathy for the consideration of left-footed runners. They deem the "handedness" subject a "non issue", and claim that there exists no competitive difference between the left- and right-handed athlete.
I think you'll agree that runners such as yourself must continue to fight for your rights as lefty's. Right?
Run long and taper.