Roll Recovery, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that builds recovery tools for runners and other athletes, is offering to reimburse Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers the $30 entry fee required to enter the Feb. 13 race in Los Angeles. Founder Jeremy Nelson, whose wife, Adriana Nelson, and sister-in-law, Brianne Nelson, will both be competing in the Trials, said in a release on the company’s website that it struck him as odd that Trials qualifiers running for a chance to represent their country at the Olympic Games should have to pay an entry fee.
“Roll Recovery is a small company dedicated to the athletes it serves,” the company wrote on its website. “We are offering to reimburse the entry fee or provide a $30.00 credit on our website (rollrecovery.com) for any athlete competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. If you are competing and reading this, please send an email to email@example.com and we will respond with instructions on how to be reimbursed.”
Jill Geer, Chief Public Affairs Officer for USA Track & Field, says the $30 entry fee helps cover administrative costs. “All Olympic Trials (including Track & Field) have the fee,” Geer wrote in an email. “All entrants pay the fee.”
The event, which will be broadcast live on NBC at 10 a.m. PST on Saturday, is being hosted by USA Track & Field and is supported by numerous corporate sponsors. There is $600,000 in total prize money, split evenly amongst the top-10 finishers in both the men’s and women’s races. Winners will take home $80,000 each, while the 10th place finisher in each race will claim $7,000.
“Extending sponsorships, hosting premiere events in mass media markets and gaining broadcasting partners is great for the sport, but shouldn’t some of that success be extended to the athletes competing?” questioned Nelson. “After all, isn’t it them we’re watching?”
According to USATF’s Official Athlete Manual for the Olympic Trials Marathon, men who have hit the “A” qualifying standard of 2:15:00 or faster for the marathon or women who have run 2:37:00 or faster are eligible for a “hospitality package” that includes reimbursement for travel and transportation to and within Los Angeles, along with accommodations and meals for three days and nights. “B” standard qualifiers—men who have run between 2:15:01 and 2:19:00 for the marathon, or 1:05:00 or faster for the half marathon; and women who have run between 2:37:01 to 2:45:00 for the marathon or 1:15:00 or faster for the half marathon are eligible to enter the 2016 Olympic Team Trials but do not receive reimbursement for travel, lodging or meals.