Behind the Scenes: The Decision to Prohibit Running with Strollers

March 25, 2014

Running with a stroller is not permitted at the 2014 Bellin Run. It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly, given the Bellin Run’s tradition as a community event.

To help participants better understand the change, race organizers are sharing some of the factors involved in making the decision and how it is being implemented.

1. We are not prohibiting participation with strollers. Walking with a stroller or wagon is permitted. All walkers with a stroller or wagon will begin in the walking corral.

2. The Bellin Run has made adjustments over the past several years to continue to accommodate running with strollers, however, the growth of the event brings us to a point where we cannot – for safety reasons – continue to accommodate running with strollers.

3. Despite these adjustments, safety concerns related to running with strollers continues to be the top participant complaint in our post-race survey. 

4. There is no other 10K race in the nation, of this size, that allows running with strollers.

5. Precise calculations are used to stage the start of the race, with each participant being allotted a specific amount of square footage in a starting corral. A stroller necessitates a greater amount of space and creates a hazard for others in what is already a crowded environment.

6. Runners have different speeds and participants passing one another are frequent occurrences. It requires a greater amount of space while pushing a stroller to pass other participants. Our number of participants has more than doubled in the past decade. A portion of our course consists of narrow city streets, further restricting space. As a result, running with strollers is a legitimate safety concern.

7. For the past several years, myTEAM Triumph has allowed individuals – who would otherwise be unable to participate in the Bellin Run – to be a part of our event. Race officials provide myTEAM Triumph with specific direction and limit the number of teams in the Bellin Run to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants.

8. myTEAM Triumph and wheelchair participants are the only groups provided a special start time.

9. Bellin Health and the Bellin Run are strongly committed to encouraging age-appropriate healthy activities for children. More than 2,600 children in grades 3-8 participated the Kids for Running program in 2013. In addition, last year’s Friday night ½ mile Children’s Race was one of the largest ever. The event – for kids under 10, features divisions for those ages four years old and under, with many toddlers experiencing their first race ever.

10. A “Terms and Conditions” statement has been added to the Bellin Run registration process, so all participants may understand this change.

11. Course marshals who observe individuals running with strollers will record the bib number of those participants and they will be disqualified, with no results posted. This is the same process of violating any other terms of participation (e.g. cutting the course, using roller blades, not following a course marshal’s instructions).

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Comments

  • Being a walker in the Bellin Run for several years now, I have almost been run over by people running with strollers and also have had people who are pushing strollers suddenly stop right in front of me because the child dropped something or threw something out of the stroller.  Thank you for recognizing the hazards of the strollers in the run.  I am glad they still are allowed with the restrictions, as the Bellin Run does promote healthy lifestyle.

    Becky    March 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

  • I am very pleased with this decision.  As a walker/runner the last couple of years in the Bellin Run, I was very frustrated and discouraged last year as I heard throughout the whole race “STROLLER COMING THROUGH, STROLLER COMING THROUGH!!!” and certain “stroller runners” expecting people to move out of the way for them.  As a walker/runner, I do not yell (speak loudly) for people to move out of my way. With the growing number of participants in the Bellin Run, I feel it is impossible to be expected or told to “move over” consistently throughout the race. Couldn’t be happier with this decision.

    Jill Dahlke    March 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

  • I am very disappointed with this decision and because of this we will not be participating this year. We have children too small to run and we prefer to run. If I wanted to walk I would be a walker.I did see someone get hit in another race last year and it was from a my team triumph stroller. Nothing against them, but it should be all or nothing. I now feel like My kids and I are an inconvenience because they are tool small to run and we prefer to run.We will just have to go somewhere that we are not an inconvenience.

     

     

    kpp    March 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm

  • Not sure if I’m happy about this decision or not.  I’ve run a few years and last year was the first time I ran with my stroller.  It was awful!  You are put behind the slowest of the slow which requires all the weaving around people.  I don’t think it’s the fault of runners with strollers for the incidents.  I think that this event has gotten too massive to the point that it’s not enjoyable to me anymore.  I think participation needs to be capped so that all can enjoy the race.  That or proper education on race etiquette like looking behind you before making a dead stop, starting in the appropriate pace corral, etc.  Think I’ll pass on the event this year.

    Bobbi    March 26, 2014 at 5:44 am

  • I, too, am in the category of “kids too small to run”. We had previously been walkers but have since started running. We talked about doing the Bellin this year, but since the change, we will also be opting out. It isn’t that I don’t understand the change…I can see both sides of this story. It just doesn’t work for us.

    Angie    March 26, 2014 at 8:37 am

  • This decision is a huge disappointment to me and my family.  My son Aidan was born June 8,2012 the same day as the bellin run, at bellin hospital.  He and I, and my step daughter watched the race from my hospital window.  My step daughter, sydnies and I decided we were going to run the race every year celebrating Aidan’s birth.  Last year the whole family ran with him!  We had a happy birthday sign on his stroller, and everyone on the street sang and yelled happy birthday to him.  It was the cooliest thing I ever did with my son yet.  I now became in love with running from that day, and last year ran my fist half marathon , and this year running my first full marathon in the cellcom.  My don Aidan, my husband Shawn, and my step daughter Sydnie have not missed a race cheering me on!  And it all started with our love of running that race with Aidan. 
    We all were looking foward to this year bellin run, and had it marked on the calendar as Aidan’s race.  When I heard I can no longer run his race, I became out raged!  It’s something I wanted to do with my forever!  I am not a walker!  And aidan loves his jogs with me!  And no matter what I will stand by my word with my son, and wil be running with him in his race!  Go ahead and disqualifie us.

    Casey Schmidt    March 26, 2014 at 8:49 am

  • To words.  “baby sitter”.  that will take care of the stroller issue.

    CG    March 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

  • THANK YOU CG, exactly what I thought!

    Bd    March 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

  • I have run the Bellin for atleast the last 8 yrs and have never been inconvenienced by a runner with a stroller. Most of these stroller runners are faster runners with a stroller than I am on my own. I as a single runner I often say “on your left” or “on you right” when I am passing someone as to not startle them or have them move over in my path at that time. There is a difference between a stroller an a “running” stroller which is more maneuverable. I hope Casey get the opportunity to celebrate Aiden’s birthday with his run!!

    Tara    March 26, 2014 at 11:54 am

  • I am very disappointed as well with this decision.  For those people talking about walking and being almost run over, you then started in the wrong spot.  The last 2 races, walkers were behind the strollers.  The only way this should have been a problem is if you snuck into the inappropriate starting corral.  As a runner with a stroller, it was very difficult to run around those people who refused to follow the rules.  Maybe the “course marshals” should pay attention to that too this year.  This is something my daughter looked forward to every year, “our run” and now it is unfortunate she won’t.  I will still run as a single, but it is my daughter that will be home disappointed with her BABYSITTER.

    af    March 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

  • CG and BD…..You either don’t have kids or you are not supportive of quality family activities that encourage kids to get out and be active, I refuse to leave my kids home with a Babysitter as this is a family event and my kids got more out of being a part of this race than they would with a babysitter. I am very disappointed in Bellins decision to do this especially regarding one of the reasons being that other organizations are also eliminating runners with strollers. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and doing what everyone else is doing why not come up with something new and innovative to alleviate the problem instead of excluding people. I guess it must just be easier to exclude certian people. I am reminded of a quote I once heard “What’s popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular”
    This decision is apparently popular, but definately not right!!!! I don’t see the DOT excluding semi-trucks from sharing the road with other drivers because they are big and bulky, or bicylists from sharing the road either. Everyone needs to obey the rules of the road and that should count as double for running so that EVERYONE can be included. As a runner I have MANY times been frustrated by walkers who choose to walk side-by-side in groups of 3-4 taking up much of the road making it difficult for a runner to pass. As on the highway, slower traffic stay to the right so others can pass. Again, rules of the road/course. Unfortunately it is always the minority who gets jilted. To Casey and your son…..go ahead and run, maybe if enough people complain Bellin will reconsider this poor decision in the future and once again my family and I will join the Bellin Run, but until then we will be taking our RUNNING shoes and stroller elsewhere.

    kf    March 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

  • I’m trying to look at this from the outside.  My daughter has been running for about 8 years, she’s now 17.  From my personal parental observations, I can honestly say I think a child that is young enough to be in a stroller will probably not remember running the race.  My daughter doesn’t remember going to Disney World, and she was about 6 at the time.

    She began running “The Bellin” in elementary school as a group and has participated ever since.  She remembers all of these experiences and the kids she ran with. I get that it is a “personal family” boost for the adults to have their children along.  With that being said,  are the babies & toddlers really getting anything out of the race that they will remember? Just an observation….from my personal parental experience.  A change in any life situation will unfortunately have people who are happy and people who are unhappy because of it.  I wish you all well.

    Jean    March 27, 2014 at 10:09 am

  • I respect the organizers for taking this stand, am sure it was not an easy or rash decision.  As to those who choose to opt out—good for you.  When I had my children, I opted out of a great many things—that is the choice you make when you have children.  In the same way that running strollers are a safety concern for the other runners, they are also a safety hazard for the children—on an open, quiet street they are just fine, but in the midst of hoards of people?  The same people that are angry with this decision are likely the ones that take their infant or toddler into a church and allow them to babble and fuss while the rest of the congregation tries to get meaningful information out of the service—even though there is a great, well-equipped nursery with wonderful caregivers (where, truth to tell, the child would rather be).  Children do not want to be part of a crowded race on a hot day—anyone who insists that this decision was a poor one is being selfish.

    Marge    March 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  • Well Marge Obviously you know nothing about the safety of a running stroller.  A child is strapped in it just like a car seat.  There is a band for your wrist and hand breaks in the front so the stroller inches from you at all times.  Ours even has a cover to protect our child from the sun, and weather.
    And a for me being selfish, and mean to my child.  Then please explain to me why my child climbs in his jogger the minute we take it out of our garage. All summer long.  And has a smile on his face ready to go. 
    Maybe befor judge people, you should think about what you learn in church

    CS    March 28, 2014 at 8:11 pm

  • I don’t understand the decision either.  Couldn’t they have kept the running strollers in their own wave before the walkers and done a pause at the starting line before the running stroller wave was allowed to begin?  This would have given separation between the runners and stroller runners to avoid any conflicts.  I like how the race used to be handled with separately released waves for all runners, this kept the course much less congested and made it more fun in my opinion.

    N.D.    March 31, 2014 at 10:57 am

  • Thank you for making the decision to not allow strollers.  I’m sure it was a difficult decision as so many families do much more together these days.  It is a good decision because we have seen too many accidents and close calls.  I wondered if maybe there could be a separate corral for the strollers.
    Marge does have a lot of correct points.  It’s too hot for us adults some years, I can’t imagine how a little one in a stroller feels. It is not fun running next to someone who has a crying child in a stroller. 
    We are choosing to opt out of the Bellin this year anyway because it has just gotten way too big.  And part of that decision was because of the strollers.  It has now become a hassle and isn’t enjoyable anymore due to the large attendance.  The planners can boast about their record number of registrants but it has truly gotten out of hand. The volunteers do their best to control the crowd but it is still just too stressful to attend anymore.  Sorry.

    KV    March 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

  • I myself love running in the Bellin Run.  I don’t have children but have never had any issues with strollers in the race.  I’m not the fastest runner in the world and a lot of the stroller runners pass me right by but they are never rude asking me to move even if I’m walking at the time.  I think Bellin needs to make accommodations so that everyone who wants to participate is able to do so.

    Sandy    April 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

  • I’ve been running the Bellin run, along with my husband for many years.  When our children were infants and toddlers, they were able to participate by standing along the course with their grandparents to watch us run.  When they were old enough to run, they first did the kids run and as they got older and were capable of doing a 10K it was a family affair.  I applaud Bellin for trying to accommodate everyone but this race has become very large and thats a remarkable accomplishment for the race director and all the volunteers who give their time to make this run a great community event.  As a race or any event grows, the team organizing it must keep safety as their number 1 concern. As a health care provider I’ve always felt that pushing babies in strollers is not safe in a race of any significant size, especially for the baby.  I’m as avid a runner as anyone else and now we’re a whole family of runners but there are tons of rules and laws that are made in the best interest of the majority to ensure safety and it is absurd for an adult to say that they’re going to break the rules because they dont want their baby to miss out.  What a sad lesson you’re teaching your child.  Congratulations to the Bellin run team for making a tough decision…stick by your decision and the whiners will get over it or find runs that allow strollers.

    Kelly    April 23, 2014 at 7:11 pm

  • For those of you who commented above who have “children too young to run”, do what everyone else does, get a sitter for the day.  With this many people, it is simply too dangerous.  I was clipped by a stroller one year and almost fell on my face.  Decision well made!

    Karen    April 28, 2014 at 10:56 am

  • I appreciate the decision to forbid strollers in with the runners.  This race has grown into a huge event for Green Bay and is a wonderful tradition to promote healthy lifestyles. Along with the growth, however, there are different concerns when that many people are crowded together on the same streets both as participants and spectators.  The Bellin run has become too large to safely allow people running with infants or toddlers in strollers.  It’s a disaster waiting to happen and I’m glad that the race committee made this decision BEFORE something tragic happened.  For those who wont run in the race due to this policy, thats too bad that you’re going to miss out on a fun morning.  The rest of us will enjoy the extra running space.  I would consider teaching your children that there are certain situations where its appropriate for young children to be part of and there are other situations where it’s not.  If you can’t or wont get a babysitter then maybe you would all enjoy cheering for the runners as they go along the 6.2 mile course…it’s alot of fun to enjoy the Bellin run that way also.

    Jan    May 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

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