From time to time, situations arise where a RUSA member has participated in a RUSA event and, owing to reasons recognizably beyond his or her control, has not met the criteria for completion of the event. Occasionally, the RUSA Board of Directors has been asked to waive the criteria for completion. In some of these thankfully rare instances, the reasons preventing participants from completing the event have been heart wrenching to consider.
Over the years, RUSA has matched its membership growth with newly designed events and awards which encourage participation on all levels. RUSA now has an expansive list of events and awards on offer. Consistent with the traditional ACP core events of 200, 300, 400 and 600km brevets used to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris, all new events - for example permanents and populaires - and their related awards have clear requirements for route design and for completion. For example, a populaire route must be between 100km and 199km long, and has straightforward criteria for achieving completion: complete the entire route as designed within the time limits calculated for all controls.
One of the fundamental concepts behind the rules and criteria is that they apply to everyone in the same way. When responding to requests to waive the criteria, the board needs to be consistent with responses from past boards, and to consider all the other participants that have met the completion requirements. To do otherwise would almost certainly mean that more than one set of criteria has been applied. Additionally, there is the problem of where to fairly draw the new line to determine what exceptions are valid, which in the end would simply redefine the group of participants who would have come heart-breakingly close to meeting the new criteria but would in the end fall short of that.
Therefore, the board has reached the conclusion that it can not waive the fundamental requirement that a route must be completed to earn credit for the event. We do not support rule changes that would give partial completion for distance completed prior to a DNF, regardless of the extenuating circumstance that prevented completion. Similarly, the board does not support rule changes that would allow awards to be granted without completion of all of the events required to earn the award. We understand that this decision may have the unfortunate consequence of preventing or postponing a member's pursuit of a RUSA award, and we regret and empathize with the disappointment that will inevitably be the result.
Rob Hawks, President-Randonneurs USA, for the Board of Directors