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Petition started to change women’s Little 500 race to 200 laps



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The Independent Council trades off bikes during the women's 2017 Little 500 race. Independent Council cyclists Hayley Kwasniewski and Celine Oberholzer started a petition to change the women’s race to be as long as the men’s race, with 200 laps.  Rose Bythrow Buy Photos

The women’s Little 500 race has been around since 1988 and consists of 100 laps, while the men’s race is double the laps with 200. 

But one women’s team has started a petition to try to get the women’s race changed.

Independent Council and RideOn cyclists Hayley Kwasniewski and Celine Oberholzer started a petition to change the women’s race to be equidistant with the men’s race at 200 laps. 

"It's really just to show support, to show that there is proof that there are several people on several different teams and in the community, alums that are on our side," Kwasniewski said.

The link to sign to the petition is in each of their Instagram biographies in addition to that of fellow Independent Council cyclist Marie Wirsing who created a post on the site about trying to get more people aware of the petition.

“The Little 500 has made a tremendous impact on mine and many other women’s lives and we believe it is time for the women’s field to have the equal opportunity to race the full 200 laps,” Wirsing said in the post.

The social media post credits the two for creating the petition and mentioning how to sign it. The petition has been live for over two days and has received roughly 250 signatures with an end goal of somewhere near 2,000.

In order to pass the petition, the rider’s council will vote on the rule change. If it passes by a 2/3 vote, then a decision is made by the rules board of the IU Student Foundation.

There's a chance that the women's field will see a major change to be more like the men's as early as 2020 and as late as 10 years from now, Kwasniewski said, as multiple plans will be submitted to both the rider's council and the petition board.

"I do also realize there's other obstacles for other women teams like finance," Kwasniewski said. "I really do want to try to make a solution that includes both having 200 laps and having another game plan as how to make the women's cyclists of IU stronger and more empowered." 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article implied the race could be changed this year. This is not the case. The IDS regrets this error. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article implied the petition was being run by the Independent Council exclusively. This is not the case. The IDS regrets this error. 

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