Alex Blake was denied prizemoney in the QUT Classic yesterday. Picture: Richard Waugh/AAP
Alex Blake was denied prizemoney in the QUT Classic yesterday. Picture: Richard Waugh/AAP

Uni fun run organisers accused of sexism

A PROMINENT runner was left outraged after she placed first female in the QUT Classic run yesterday morning but did not receive the advertised prize alongside her male counterparts.

Alex Blake, 25, who participates in about 15 fun runs per year, has accused organisers of blatant sexism.

"I placed first female in the 5k run and was given a prize pack however my male counterparts, who placed first, received a $300 cheque," she said.

"It isn't about the money though - sometimes there are no prizes - it's just ridiculous because a female is never going to place top three.

"It was sexism, and that's the bottom line."

Ms Blake said the Brisbane running community was riled up over the claims after several posts and comments were made online to the organisation, with some even saying they will boycott the run next year.

"I thought we were past that (sexism) in society, especially in 2019," she said.

"All of my male coaches have been really supportive and shocked over what has happened."

"I would have left it alone but the man I spoke with was so rude and said to me that if I wanted the prize money, I should have placed top three - he was not apologetic and just kept going…it now is getting a lot of public backlash."

Ms Blake, who runs most weekends, said the money she gained in runs every year went back into supporting her running.

"I can make between two and three thousand per year in prizemoney but a lot of that money goes back into my coaching, shoes," she said.

"Around $120 a month on coaching, about $300 per year on shoes, clothing is about $300 also and races cost about $50 a race."

The incident has received online attention, with one person who even commented a photo of the gender results on the QUT Classic web page questioning why they published the results by gender if they were not interested in splitting the prizes.

QUT Classic did not respond to questions from The Courier-Mail yesterday, but replied to the post on Facebook saying its focus was to "make the event as inclusive as possible, whilst having fun and raising money for our charity."

"This is the first year that we've been able to offer prize money in addition to the race category prize winners," QUT Classic wrote.

"The prizemoney was promoted as being awarded to the first three runners to cross the line in the 5km and 10km races, regardless of gender.

"There was no intention to favour males over female runners, however your concerns have indicated that we may inadvertently created a disadvantage.

"Thanks for taking to time to let us know, so we are able to improve future events."

Ms Blake said all other runs in which she participated gave prizemoney to the top males and females, and if QUT Classic did not have the budget, it could have split the men's prizemoney.