Nike Marathon Swindle Update

Last Updated Nov 7, 2008 1:17 PM EST

arien.jpgA couple weeks ago we reported that at the Nike Women's Marathon, held October 19 in San Francisco, the training shoe company awarded the first place prize to Nora Colligan of Austin, TX, even though Arien O'Connell, a school teacher from Brooklyn, ran the best time. Nike explained that Colligan was part of its elite group of pros and that the "winner" was to be selected from this group alone. Later, Nike lamely issued a statement saying, in effect, that everyone was a winner.

This didn't sit very well with BNET readers. In fact, of the 252 people who voted in the poll, 80 percent said that Nike should declare O'Connell the winner.

Nike hasn't done that. But Nike competitor Reebok has. In a clever bit of public relations bravura, Reebok presented O'Connell with a trophy inscribed with the words "Winner and Heroine of Non-Elite Runners Everywhere," along with a free pair of shoes each month for a year, T-shirts for the kids in her class, and a $2,500 donation to her school.

Reebok surprised O'Connell by giving her the award at a special ceremony at her Beginning with Children Charter School.[poll id=67]