Hope Solo you need to learn from the book of Al Roker.

Hope Solo you need to learn from the book of Al Roker.

From a Press Release: On October 9, Chicago-area residents Danielle Maglinte, Hailey Danisewicz, Susan Taylor, Scott Herrick, Chad Doellinger, Pat Arbor and Joe Jasnosz, along with six other runners from across the country, will participate in a unique charity relay during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, running alongside relay team captains U.S. soccer stars Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan. These participants were chosen from hundreds of runner applications for Bank of America’s new “Let’s Run Together Charity Relay” program detailing how their participation would help to make opportunity possible in their local community with a $5,000 charitable contribution to the following charities from Bank of America: American Heart Association, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, Ups For Downs, The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Susan B. Komen For The Cure, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, and Kendall County Triad.

I wrote about this event when the initial press release went out, and praised it.  When a former neighbor of mine Scott Herrick, was picked to take part, it sealed the deal that this was something I wanted to put all of my blogging energy behind.  It's a great story, these American athletes putting their efforts towards helping charity and the people who support those charities, slam dunk.

Then I reached out to Ashley Rittenhouse from Weber Shandwick, the company running the PR for this event and things started to take an ugly turn.  My idea was simple, interview Scott and one of the members of the U.S Team about the event, the charity element, running in the Chicago Marathon.  This is part of the e-mail, I got back from Ashley Rittenhouse at Weber Shandwick,"Unfortunately at this time the soccer captain’s time is extremely limited and there isn’t any time that they are available for an interview."

I completely understand how things get when you are being stretched one way and the other, and thought maybe they are so busy training for the marathon that there isn't enough time?  Hopefully there will be time for a phone interview or some kind of press group interview, very much like what Olympic champion Apolo Ohno did when he was in town to run the 1/2 Marathon last month.  He did interviews with me, all the TV stations, the papers and had a group lunch for everyone else.  They the next day he ran 13.1 miles.  The man was stretched, but truly made an effort.

After talking more to the folks from Weber Shandwick, that's not the case at all.  What I was told that at least one of them, most likely Abby Wambach will be at the Mayor's press conference today and then at the expo. Saturday two of them will be available for an hour long Q&A with the people at the expo.  Alex Morgan is flying in Friday night and  Hope Solo is flying in Saturday afternoon, running her part of the relay and then back out of town.  

I can't wait to see the package on Dancing With The Stars about how busy she has been all week and how it may hurt her Quick Step.

What they are doing for charity is great, and the effort to get here is appreciated, to say the least.  But as I have been talking to other marathon runners, it has come up more than once that this is a bit of  a smack in the mouth to what the Chicago Marathon is, a marathon, not a relay or a photo opportunity.  Yes, we are aware that this is big business and deals have to be made to make sure that this event can happen.  However, does this smack as another PR stunt that is more about getting these ladies more time in the spot light and less about running.

There are plenty of people that have trained for years to make it to the starting line in Grant Park and see if they can reach their goal of "finishing" a marathon, not just zipping in from the Dancing With The Stars set, trotting along through Boys Town, then taking off to LA.  The last two Facebook posts on Hope Solo's Facebook page were about her Access Hollywood interview and being on the cover of ESPN's Body issue, nothing about the marathon.

It reminds me of the old story about the singer that has to write the name of the city he is singing in on his hand, so he doesn't make a mistake on stage, " Hello Chicago, we love you, great to be here!" "What were in Milwaukee???"

At the end of the day, they are not running the marathon, they are running in a relay event, which as far as I can tell relays aren't allowed in the marathon.  Ohno came to hype Subway, but also run.  Every year Al Roker comes to town, does media and then runs as well, both of these guys are equally if not more busy than the lead footed "dancer" Solo.

Solo puts more efforts into her Salsa and spray tan than she has for the marathon.  Is that minimal effort an insult to the working mom of two boys who has pulled herself out of bed every morning at 5:00AM to get in her runs? Is it an insult to you?

Are these world class athletes making light of a world class event, by only "kind of participating?"  How would Hope Solo feel if NBC decided to do a reality show that put Johnny Knoxville on the U.S Woman's Soccer Team to see how he competed and also raise money for charity?  I wonder what her Facebook posts would be about then?

Charity is great and if you read The Pace, then you know we do everything we can to support the efforts of plenty of charitable organizations.  Is this a PR stunt wrapped in the face of charity?  Does this make light of what the marathon is all about?  If you are going to come to run in the Chicago Marathon, then run the Chicago Marathon, or at least put fourth a little effort to act that this is something that matters.

I am honestly interested in your opinion about this one.  As a runner in the marathon, does this bother you, should the marathon be for marathon running and not PR stunting?  Or am I off base, is the fact that they have tried to get here and do what they can enough to count.

Either way, as you are running, make sure to run up to Hope or her teammates and smile, chances are there will be a camera nearby.

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  • I think you're right, David. I am not a runner, but my cousin trained for years to be able to do the Chicago Marathon, and he successfully completed it, then was soon after diagnosed with cancer. It was one of the major personal milestones of his life and he was really proud of it. Sole needs to get with the program.

  • I don't know if you remember, but a couple of years ago in the Trib's 'What's Your Problem' cloumn there was a person who had written in because they and family wanted to run the marathon as a relay (none of them were distance runners) to honor their father who had run the race many times and had died while training for the current marathon. Marathon administrators had shut them down saying it was too difficlut, there were liability issues, etc. and The Problem Solver wasn't able to budge them. Iit seems like there is a double standard - to a good cause or a grieving family the answer is no. To celebrity athletes who might bring PR and $ to the race the answer is yes. Personally having trained for the better part of 6 months to get to where I will be able to run this marathon I like the idea that the Chicago Marathon is just that - a marathon. No attached half, no 5K, no charity walk. But at the same time, I hate to see a double standard. I think this sets a bad precedent and I hope that it's just a one=-off for this year. Here's a link to the column: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-10-09/news/0810080513_1_race-numbers-marathon-officials-family-members

  • I don't think they are running in it to disrespect the marathon or runners. You can paint them in any light that you want to and make them look bad (like you did with Hope despite the fact she has been talking about the marathon on tv shows and has been promoting it to her 300,000+ twitter followers back when the charity was holding its contest), but in reality they are nice people who likely have no idea it might be taken in a bad way by runners. They are professional athletes who always speak well of their peers in other sports and understand training and sacrifice. They were presented this as a charity opportunity and that is how they are taking it. If you have a problem with it take it up with those who invited them.

    I can't help but think you are mostly upset that Hope's schedule doesn't permit her to stay longer than she will be and get interviewed. That's tough, but no reason to try to make her look bad and apply your own version of moral standards on someone who can't hope to meet them. On the one hand you say they are too flashy to be in the race and are taking away from where the real attention should be...and on the other you are complaining they are not making more attention of themselves. We are talking about three world class athletes, not movie stars or or personalities. They might be uninformed on how this could look to some people but they still deserve our respect. Got a problem take it up with the people who thought of it in the first place and leave the athletes out of it.

  • Dude, you are an idiot. This is not about running the marathon or training for it, it is for charity, and if you cannot see that these women are doing this for that, and not for anything else, then you should be the one to take time of your busy schedule of bashing people who are doing a charity event, and run a portion of what these ladies have agreed to do.

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    You said that you were completely behind the "relay for charity" idea when your neighbor was chosen to participate. It seems that your opinion changed only when you were snubbed for an interview. Only then did you decide that it was an insult to the marathon concept. As a 10-time marathoner, I think the idea is a great one, and thank these busy soccer players for becoming involved. We each run our own race on marathon day, and there's room for all of us.

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    If she granted you an interview, everything would be great. But she and her people decided she doesn't have time to be interviewed by a blogger, so she's a bad person. So you write a sour grapes piece in your blog. Maybe it's this kind of weak, who-cares "journalism" that makes people dismiss bloggers and not want to waste their time being interviewed by them. Try redirecting your "blogging energy."

  • In reply to Virgil Starkwell:

    Virgil and the rest of you. To set the record straight.
    I was given access to do an interview with the other members of the team. That's not the point. The point is that she is treating this like "just another event." To the people who work, train and sacrifice to be able to even run in the race, it's a bad message from someone who should know better.
    You want to be a part, run the entire thing, or at least show up and act like you care.
    Beyond that it's the PR people that are managing the ladies and their "just push though it attitude." Weber Shandwick should know better.

  • As a first time runner in the upcoming marathon, I do not think Hope Solo or any of the other athlete runners are making a mockery of the marathon by doing the charity run. I am excited to be be running with them (I doubt I will see them on the course, but knowing they are they is cool). There is zero insult to me, a working mom with three children who gets up early to run, that she can just come in and run this. Even though you are irritated because you believe she thinks of this "just another event" (your words, not hers), don't forget, she put in her dues as well. She just did it way earlier than a 18-week running schedule or longer. She is a professional athlete and this is part of her job. If the marathon suddenly had a dozen or so celeb relay teams, then that is a different story. It seems you had an issue with the tone of the rep and are taking that out on Hope, who I am sure had only good intentions.

  • Correct, this is for charity... but it's a PR stunt for charity. Last year several members of the Chicago Fire ran to support their charity, the ran the whole race and made time for the media and fans.

    Maybe Hope should donate some of her DWTS appearance fee to the cause since it's more important than seeing her charity effort all the way through.

  • You are exactly right, PhilC11. As a former PR professional, I can tell that this event is pretty much ALL about publicity. How many of you read the press release? The boilerplate at the bottom does not read charity XYZ - it reads BANK OF AMERICA. This stunt, probably the brainchild of a 23-year-old PR account executive, was solely planned to enhance BOA's image as a charitable organization. So funny it comes just after they announced they are going to suck 5 bucks a month from their debit card users. Oh and another thing on Hope Solo, she is likely just a pawn in this whole thing. On one hand, she should have turned the opportunity down if she couldn't provide a greater commitment. On the other hand, BOA should have thought better of securing these B-level sports celebs for an event they can't make much time for. Oh and one more thing for those of you who think "but this is all about charity/don't hate on Hope Solo" - DON'T YOU REALIZE SHE'S GETTING PAID FOR THIS APPEARANCE?!?! You don't think she'd fly to and fro across the country for one afternoon to do this out of the goodness of her heart do you? Ha!! As David Wallach points out, she's only in this for the quick five minutes of publicity.

  • In reply to funkanova:

    I know now why you are a ‘former’ PR pro. You should at least know how to address world class athletes instead of classifying them as 'b-level sports celebs'. Have you lost your mind? That shows your lack of knowledge of which you speak. I truly hate when people do that. These women are some of the most highly trained and skilled athletes in the world. Yes, I said world. Just to fill you in these 'b-level sports celebs' have tryouts for the OLYMPICS coming up (oh, again, I forgot you said they were B-LEVEL SPORTS CELEBS). Do you see how idiotic your classification sounds and how much homework you need to do? You really shouldn't speak unless you know what you're talking about.
    By the way, just curious but, did that 23-year PR account executive that concocted this ‘stunt’ put you out of a job?

  • I'm running my second marathon on Sunday and I'm not upset or offended in any way. I'm actually surprised to see people upset by this. Good for her if she's getting paid to participate. I hope someone would have paid me to run the marathon.

    How does Hope mugging for the camera affect your marathon experience? I mean you put in all the months of training, why would you let what another runner does affect you? I don't get it.

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    Maybe I am missing something here, but can someone explain to me why I should be cranking up my "give-a-damn" over the comments of someone who I have never really heard of before, other than the fact she is presently stomping around the set of the current season of "Dancing With The Stars"?

    If it wasn't for that show, I highly doubt I or a whole bunch of other people would have ever heard of Hope Solo.

    That being said, why even give a holler and a hoot over what she thinks of the Chicago Marathon? Five years from now, the marathon will still be run and the rest of the world will likely be asking "Hope who?"

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    Hope Solo has been tweeting and facebooking about the Charity Relay AND Marathon since the contest started. She and her teammates have been very excited as well as respectful. They stuck around cheering runners as they finished. She promoted the charity of her relay partner on twitter and again when being interviewed during the race.

    Did it ever occur to you she and her teammates didn't run the Marathon because they weren't really able to train for the Marathon. Being busy with a little thing called the World Cup. If you have an issue take it up with the spokesperson and the organizers whose idea it was to have a PR charity relay.

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    I don't understand exactly what you are complaining about here. First it seems you are saying Hope is using it as a PR stunt to get more time in the spotlight, then complaining that she isn't spending more time there (i.e. which would be spending more time in the spotlight). So the problem is both that she just wants the spotlight, but doesn't want enough of the spotlight??

  • How long have you been privy to Hope Solo's training schedule? That must be great to have that kind of insight. Did it help you with your training? If you haven't been with her every day then don't comment on her training. The comment you made: "Solo puts more efforts into her Salsa and spray tan than she has for the marathon. Is that minimal effort an insult to the working mom of two boys who has pulled herself out of bed every morning at 5:00AM to get in her runs? Is it an insult to you?" is as asinine a comment as I’ve ever heard/read. Who better than Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and the rest of their WNST teammates would know the preparation it takes to get in shape for something as grueling as a marathon. Do you honestly think Hope or any of them would not have highest respect and regard for the training done by anyone to run this marathon? Hope and her teammates have been training most of their entire lives to accomplish what they have and to humiliate Hope with such a comment is ludicrous. I also believe that with Hope’s ‘just another event’ attitude you are so willing to say she had if it was that to her she could have backed out, I mean her busy schedule and all. Maybe it was more important to her than you know (kind of like her training schedule you know so much about). Just so you know, Hope was promoting the marathon, trying to persuade people to run with her and her teammates. Sorry you missed it. I saw it and I'm usually always asking someone what happened. By the way, Hope sent out a very nice tweet about a charity she ran for and linked it directly to their site for donations. As for how far they ran, take it up with the promoters.

  • In reply to jleam:

    I try not to get sucked into the "comments" part of The Pace. This is your forum to share your thoughts.
    But you got me, all of you who have used Hope "Tweeting" as an example of caring have to get a reality check. It backs up what I wrote. Hope Solo's idea of effort and caring comes at 140 characters or less.
    That's it. Twitter is her example of "giving it her all." That's less than this and much less that what you wrote.

  • Hi Dave - I was one of the 13 Charity Relay athletes who got to run 2 miles in the Chicago Marathon this past week. Yes, I know this was a big PR stunt. But I raised $5,000 for the American Heart Association! That is $5,000 more towards research and education in preventing heart disease. Sure, Abby, Alex, and Hope were busy and we didn't spend tons of time with them. But the time that we spent with them was great! They were very supportive of the Charity Relay athletes and gracious to the fans who wanted photos and autographs. If their celebrity appearance brought a little more attention to the Charity Relay and the 13 wonderful charities, I'm ok with that. And all of running the Charity Relay know that we only ran 2 miles. It was never anyone's intention to disrespect the hard work of the thousands of athletes who trained hard to run the whole marathon. My husband Dave has been training for months. Our mutual friend Dan M. has been committed to his training. Some of the Charity Relay athletes are in the midst of their own marathon training at this time. I have been incredibly supportive of my many friends who trained and ran the marathon throughout the summer months and during the actual marathon. While we waited for our turn in the relay, Abby Wambach joined me (and my family) in cheering for all the athletes. We had cowbells, we had signs, and we were loud! Sure, this was a big PR stunt for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. But if they want to do it again next year and give $5,000 to 13 more wonderful charities, I completely support it!

  • PS - I would be thrilled if young girls look up to Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Hope Solo instead of Kim Kardashian, Brittany Spears, and Lindsey Lohan.

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