The current war in Ukraine has been raging on since the Russian invasion started on the 24th of February, with new atrocities being reported every day as Russia continues its siege with seemingly no end in sight.
The world has taken notice with harsh financial sanctions issued against Russia, and organizations like the International Olympic Committee have recommended that sporting events “not invite or allow” the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions.
As first reported by CBS News, The New York Road Runners Association issued a press release on Sunday rejecting the IOC’s recommendations and the online petition request of the Ukrainian Running Club New York asking that runners from Russia and Belarus not be allowed to participate in the upcoming New York City Marathon on November 6.
The NYRR says they “strongly condemn Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine,” “stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” and they will “not allow or recognize any official representation of Russia or Belarus at any NYRR events.” However, they will not “discriminate against individual runners based on their nationality or country of birth,” which effectively means that the country of Russia will not be represented at the New York City Marathon, but they won’t disallow individual Russian or Belarusian athletes from competing.
This announcement follows decisions by the International Paralympic Committee to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games back in March; World Athletics banning Russian athletes from track and field events; and the Boston Athletic Association banning athletes from these countries from participating in the Boston Marathon under their countries’ flags. Ukrainian Running Club New York founder Anna Shpook says the Boston Marathon was the impetus for starting their ban request.
In a September 30 Facebook post, the Ukrainian Running Club says that after reaching out to the NYRR multiple times, they started their petition because Ukrainian athletes can’t even leave the country — let alone participate in athletic events — and that by continuing to allow athletes from Russia, “NYRR is implicitly normalizing these diabolical acts.” The group feels that bans on Russian athletes shouldn’t be seen as punishment against individual athletes, but as support for Ukraine and a way to take collective responsibility.