Runner with Stoma told she couldn’t compete in NYC marathon
Organisers of the New York City Marathon have told a runner they could not run with a vest carrying supplies for their stoma and water.
Gayle Redmon, from Flint, has competed in marathons held in London and Paris wearing the top without being challenged.
But New York Road Runners [NYRR] said the piece of clothing was not permitted by the rules laid down by police following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
The GP was fitted with a stoma following surgery for endometriosis, she needs to self-catheterise six times a day.
Up until now she has been allowed to compete in a number of marathons, but the one on the top of her list will not allow her to run with the vest.
“New York Marathon has been on the bucket list for quite some time," Redmon told BBC News.
She was awarded a space in the race six months ago after registering as a disabled competitor.
At the time she sent organisers images of her vest, which has pouches on the back, one with room for a 1.5 litre water bag and a straw and a second to fit the stoma.
"I carry huge volumes of fluids when I go out on my really long training runs," Redmon explained.
But the NYRR told her the rules state runners can only wear waist belts, which would affect her stoma.
"I emailed them again and said this is a disability issue, this is really important," Redmon said. "I can't take part if we can't figure something out."
The organisers sent her an alternative vest, but the clothing had no room to carry supplies for a stoma.
Eleven days ahead of the event Redmon received another email informing that she could carry water bottles in the vest, but no details on where to put the stoma.
She had no choice but to pull out of the marathon and lose her £500 entry fee.
"I'm disappointed that they couldn't find a way of including me," she said. "I feel like I've been discriminated against.
"I've got a disability that is recognised... the Equality Act in the UK, and as far as I can tell the Americans with Disabilities Act is very similar, says that reasonable accommodations should be made.
"I have gone out of my way to try to meet them halfway and see what I can do.
"They've made accommodations, but they're not accommodations that suit me."
NYRR said in a statement: "We work with intention to provide reasonable accommodations in accordance with local laws and federal ADA guidelines to ensure runners of all abilities have access to our races while making sure that each and every runner, spectator, volunteer and staff member are safe."
It said it went "above and beyond to provide this runner with options including purchasing two hydration packs for her, in addition to our 20 course-based hydration stations".
"It is unfortunate that her requests didn't align with local law enforcement restrictions and that she has chosen not to join us this year.”
Redmon said she understood why strict guidelines had been put in place after the Boston tragedy, but was prepared to have a conversation with the officials.
"I would have quite happily had a conversation with New York Police Department about what the what their concerns are," she said.
"I've repeatedly asked [NYRR] what other suggestions they have to help me with this, and they've not come forward with anything."
After being told she couldn’t take part in last Sunday’s marathon Redmon is finding an alternative race which will be more inclusive.
"We're already exploring what we can do in the next few weeks to get into another marathon that will welcome us and accommodate us," she said.
"The reality is [on the day of the race] we'll probably go out and do a long run."
[ The first New York City Marathon was held on September 13, 1970 won by Gary Muhrcke in 2:31:38. ]