Friday, May 30, 2014

Bandits and Bib Transfers - Please Don't!!

It’s great that so many runners enjoy the course, this Sunday’s Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon, 10K and 5K reached capacity because of its popularity.  However, questions we’ve received from those shut out by course limits prompt us to assess hotly debated topics in the running community.  Bandits and bib transfers.
We’ll start with the simpler of the two scenarios.  Bib transfers are not allowed first and foremost for safety purposes – we don’t know who you are if you get hurt or an emergency situation occurs.  Period. Not knowing who you are is a scary situation.  I have had too many conversations (any one is too many) with family members of runners transported by medical.  Making that family contact immediately is necessary on many levels to ensure the best possible physical and emotional care for the runner.  At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than keeping everyone safe.

People ask us why we can’t do bib transfers in person on race day, a logistic impossibility on many levels.  It’s nowhere near as simple as saying “I’ll just give my bib to a friend and they can give you their name”.  Really, it doesn’t work that way with hundreds or thousands of runners on race day. 

And, bandits… Bandits make a race dangerous – we don’t know who they are so if injury occurs, we’re back at square one with major safety concerns (re-read above if you don’t think that’s a valid dissuasion to bandit).  We’re also not planning on extra bodies on the course so increased traffic causes safety concern that can negatively affect others, you know, the people who paid to participate. 

Everything a bandit uses is a stolen service from those who entered honestly  – water, portalets, medical services, food etc.  They are stealing.  Everyone else registered and paid the entry fee, which also provides for police, medical, road closures and all the other expenses of the race.  And, our permits allow only the number of people set by course limits to run, so bandits are also jeopardizing the continuation of the race by breaking our permit.

If you don’t believe me on this, please take a look at what my dear colleague Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director, thinks about bandits in a recent “Ask the Director” Runners World column.

Please don’t do it.  Please discourage others from doing it.  You wouldn’t dress up for a wedding, hit the dance floor and eat the cake because it was a public venue, and there isn’t even a major safety risk there!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with the bandit issue but NOT with bib transfers. Transfers should be allowed up to the night before the race. A registered runner should be able to go into their account and edit/change the runner information. There are too many runners getting shut out of races. Yes you can register when a race opens but with busy lives sometimes you just don't know that far in advance. And...the cost is too high to just register for the sake of registering. There are so many reasons a registered runner does not run on race day and it's so sad that someone who wants to do it can't. I think with today's technology you should be able to come up with a simple automated way to handle this to make it fair and yes safe for everyone...