Jog Strollers in Half Marathon
For those who organize marathons or half marathons, do you permit or prohibit runners/walkers from pushing strollers or jog strollers?
Last year, I allowed a male runner to push a jog stroller in the event. I told him that he needed to line up at the back of the start line chute. Turns out that he can run a 6:30 per mile pace pushing a stroller. By mile 4, he had gotten around the main pack and was passing some elite female runners. After they protested to the elite athlete coordinator, one of my course directors ordered him to the side of the course for two minutes. He later complained to me about losing time. The likely solution this year is to simply prohibit the strollers. This isn't an easy decision -- With increasing female participation and technology offering faster, lighter jog strollers, we receive more inquiries every year about this.
I know that USATF rules prohibit the use of strollers or jog strollers in sanctioned events. Then again, this applies not just to distance events but 5K's, 10K's, etc. and most everyone permits them in these shorter distance events.
Where does your race stand on this and why?
In my area the municipal authorities want us to keep as much of the race as possible on trails, which are much narrower than roads. This is one reason we use when people ask if they can run the race with a jog stroller - that it's too bulky for the trails. We also say that rules & insurance prohibit them. We do allow jog strollers on the fun or kids runs since those tend to not be on the trails and are on a shorter, more controllable course.
I genuinely believe that they are a true hazard both for the child in the stroller and to the runners all around. We do not allow them in our race. I always get a number of inquiries in advance of race day (even with the policy stated in numerous places) but those people who ask do not protest.
I do not ever want to be in the position of trying to defend the policy after
a child gets injured.
It also helps to make sure that your race announcer does not mention their participation in any way when they cross the line. Making a big deal about parents and strollers in the race only encourages others to participate.