Watchdog says Utrecht Marathon discriminated

Posted Dec. 12, 2011, at 6:52 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 12, 2011, at 11:16 p.m.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch watchdog group said organizers of this year’s Utrecht Marathon discriminated against foreign runners by not allowing them to race for the $13,000 top prize.

Organizers asked the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission to investigate their prize policy after the April 25 race sparked angry accusations of racism.

The winner’s payout for the Utrecht Marathon was $132, but organizers also selected a group of 20 elite Dutch runners who would be eligible for bonuses of up to $13,000. The bonuses were not available to foreigners.

Louran van Keulen of race organizer UtrechTrent said in a statement he was disappointed by Monday’s ruling.

“Our intention was always to stimulate national athletics, never to shut out foreign athletes,” he said in a statement.

The incentive appeared to work. Dutch runner Michel Butter won a race often dominated by Kenyans.

Second-place finisher Mutai Kipkorir of Kenya won just $105 while Dutchman Olfert Molenhuis won $79 for coming third and another $9,900 as the second-fastest Dutch finisher.

The commission said that while the organizers’ motives were “understandable … the way the prize money was divided leads to discrimination.”

Van Keulen said that organizers now plan to change their system of appearance money and bonuses for next year’s Utrecht marathon.

 

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