View Full Version : Jog Strollers Question
11-19-2007, 06:02 PM
I'm familiar with the debate over whether or not jog strollers should be allowed in a race, but have a quick question. Are jog strollers allowed per a USATF sanctioned event? I feel like I read this on their website before and now I can't find the info.
Definitely not! Although a brief perusal of the Competition Rules didn't reveal it exactly.
11-20-2007, 12:36 AM
Technically, jog strollers are not allowed in USATF sanctioned and insured events. That said, the vast majority of 5K races around the country--INCLUDING those sanctioned and insured by USATF--permit people to use jog strollers. It's not as common with longer distance events (marathons, half marathons, 15K's) but it is very common at events of 10K and below.
Keep in mind that USATF insurance will not cover you as an organizer for accidents related to the presence of a jog stroller on your course since you are violating their rules. That said, I don't see how you disallow them from 5K and 10K competitions.
Final word of advice: MAKE THE STROLLERS LINE UP AT THE VERY BACK!!!*
The serious competitors will thank you for this and scold you if you don't. Some runners with jog strollers may whine about being relegated to the back. Tell them that if they keep complaining, you won't allow ANY jog strollers at the following year's event.
*Caveat: A customer service friendly way of pushing the strollers behind the runners is to give them their own wave start and simultaneously offer awards for the "stroller division." Pushing a stroller handicaps you as a runner so this acknowledges that they should not have to compete head to head with runners not pushing strollers. Designating it as a legitimate division also gives you some basis for pushing them into an entirely separate wave. The greatest benefit is that you are able to put the strollers behind the runners and perhaps even delay their start slightly so that the runners are spread out by the time the strollers catch up and begin weaving through the crowd.
11-20-2007, 02:01 AM
Thank you both for your replies. I really don't want jog strollers at my race, but being a new company, I hate to turn away any entrants.
11-20-2007, 08:18 AM
I have to caution people about insurance and strollers. The previous comment about giving them is a division or asking them to line up in back can leave you totally without liability insurance.
Verify with your insurance carrier, since if you have a waiver that says they aren't allowed for insurance reasons, then you go ahead an allow them by creating a division or specifically telling them where to line up it can void your insurance. You could be on the hook.
It may have changed in recent years, but I was told specifically about that risk by the RRCA at an insurance seminar at a conference a few years back. I've also been told that by the agent that writes some on the private insurance for events in the area. If race officials allow their participation explicitly even though they're not covered and something happens, you're on your own.
If you think that some parent who's kid gets dumped from stroller after getting tangled up with another participant won't sue, you're deluding yourself.
I help manage USATF's insurance programs (specifically, the liability insurance that is a benefit of a sanction). Liability insurance covers the race organizers, volunteers, officials, and a few other named third parties if they are sued for their actions (and inactions) while managing or working at the event. I say this first as many people are confused on who/what is covered. That limited list of insured are insured if they hurt someone or damage someone's property. For no-fault accidents or incidents where someone other than the insured group is at fault, the USATF insurance does not apply. That means a trip and fall or even a heart attack is not insured (the injured party can always claim the medical services provided were inadequate, but that claim - in all likelihood - will not go far).
If one runner hurts another runner, the injured party can make a claim against the guy who hurt him. Sure, they can try suing the race director or a volunteer but they won't get very far (unless the RD or volunteer was grossly negligent). This is an important point as it leads to the stroller issue.
Remember, we insure the RD and his workers. It does not really matter if the injured person is a participant, bandit, or bystander. What matters is whether the RD was negligent and caused the injury. The bystanders and bandits have just as much right to make a claim ("sue") the RD as a registered runner.
The current policy does not exclude claims that involve strollers. Assume a RD makes a mistake and instructs the strollers to start at the top of a steep hill, with a hairpin turn and gravel at the bottom. He could be liable if anyone is hurt. (Even then, courts would consider the relative negligence of all parties including the fool that pushed their kid down that hill, so the RD's liability is not absolute.) If sued, the policy will cover him.
Looking back to my comment on runner versus runner injuries, consider this: If a stroller is pushed into another runner, that injured person sues the stroller pusher, not the RD. If a stroller topples over and the child is hurt and the RD et al are not negligent/at fault, then there is no claim.
So, when asked, I say "strollers are not covered...but that is only because the RD and his workers and a few third parties are covered...you probably do not understand who is/isn't covered so asking about strollers is inaccurate...so it is not accurate the say strollers are not covered since, if a stroller-pusher make a valid claim against a negligent race director, then the "claim" is likely covered...."
Of course, few - if any - RDs would be so negligent. The claims are more likely to come from less obvious issues. The most important matter is to take a few risk management steps (whether you allow strollers or not). Smart, safe course; good police and traffic control; reasonable medical services on site and nearby; an overall safety plan that considers weather and other factors; a good waiver reviewed by legal counsel; clear instructions to your participants; and, consideration of special circumstances like strollers. If you want to allow strollers, advise all participants that strollers will be on the course and consider how to manage them (a separate start "wave" at the back is fine from an insurance perspective). I don't like the idea of stroller awards since it may encourage two pushers to sprint/battle at the end of the race and cause a collision in the chute (but is just my two cents). You want the notification (to all participants) to include a clear communication of the risks and included in the waiver.
Good Luck, Jim Elias, CFO, USA Track & Field.
12-20-2007, 07:15 PM
Thank you Jim for your detailed input!
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