Race organisers will, from tomorrow, be forced to offer age category prizes by birth year and star sign, as part of a government strategy to make runners feel more awesome.
Currently prizes are usually given for just a gender and a 10-year age group such as M40-50, but all races will now be forced by law to segregate by age and astrological calendar, so M40-50 could become Sagittarius Male 1973, for example.
Local runner Russell Elmond, a Capricorn in his late 30s, told us: “It’s about time legislation was passed to force race directors to do this. Do you have any idea what it’s like being born as a Capricorn in the depths of winter? My lungs are smaller than other people’s, and my fast-twitch fibres less well-developed of course. And, like all Capricorns, I often make silly mistakes in crowded situations.”
Not everyone has reached the state of enlightenment shown by the likes of Elmond and senior government ministers who devised the strategy. Oliver Spencer, a Pisces who sometimes likes to run alone but sometimes likes to run in a group, told The RUNION: “Well, it’s all bollocks really, innit? You can’t say we’d be any different because of our birth month. Then again, I guess I don’t care because I’m a water sign and prefer swimming.”
Hugh Jass, general secretary of The Union of Race Directors which represents 91.4% of the UK’s race directors, was similarly scathing: “Race directors are already stretched to breaking point, with often kids’ races, 5K, 10K, half, marathon and ultra distance races in the same event. With age categories that increases the variety of medals massively, and to have one per star sign per age could mean that literally every runner would win a category of some kind.
“Then again,” Jass added, “I would say that because I’m a Taurus, and therefore I am stubborn, possessive and uncompromising, and I dislike complications and sudden changes. But I do like gardening and music, so I’m not a complete twat.”
So what do race directors think of this new legislation? Raj Kapoor, Libran RD of the Dilly Dash 10K, told us: “Well, we’ve worked out that we need to buy 1,000 trophies to cover all possible categories, despite only having 250 runners. Can you imagine what my spare room’s going to look like the day after the race? And the awards ceremony – I’m going to have to book the village hall for three days and glue people to their seats. That will really annoy Gladys, who does yoga on Monday morning. Unless I had the race on Thursday night, but then that’s just after the dog training group has been in. I wish I could be more decisive.”
Despite all the negativity, some people are thrilled. Peter Popper, 29 and a Virgo, said: “I’ve got my eye on the Aries 1983 prize at the Great North Run next weekend, and I’ve put a tenner on myself at 33/1 to win down at the bookies. That would be a claim to fame, moreso than my current one which is having the exact same birth date as Mo Farah.”
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