As a race director, I am constantly looking for ways to improve what we do for our runners. Our team strives to support the HMF community by delivering top-notch experiences, taking extra steps to provide safe, challenging, rewarding race events. When there’s question about a policy, we want to assure you that policies are set with purpose and explain why.
Course limits are a reality of race management, and are relayed throughout our event communications on course pages and in final instructions. There are many factors - road permits with specific time allotments, local law enforcement staffing, medical team management, SAG staff and event volunteers have to be planned around those limits.
There are a number of reasons why it’s imperative that we remove bibs from runners who decide to stay on the course beyond set limits. When the course is closed, event participation is over. While we respect a runner’s personal decision to finish a race on their own, we can’t provide support for participants past those limits.
A runner on the course with a race bib signifies event participation, which is particularly concerning to local law enforcement. Even though those bibs numbers are called in to our race command, local police are not going to track our bib numbers list to ensure we’re following protocol and staying within our event permits for use of the roads. That seriously jeopardizes the approval of permits for future events.
We work to account for all event participants prior to course closure - taking the bib when a runner is contacted signifies to race command that we have specifically communicated with that runner to ensure they do not need services (medical, food, transport, etc). We are responsible to make sure they understand we cannot provide services for those that continue to run the route on their own.
It's really not a simple issue in any way.
That said, we certainly understand that runners who finish in any time are proud of their accomplishment and want to show for it. We’ve had requests that bibs be returned to runners who finish on their own after course limits. While it would be logistically very difficult to provide their same bib/bib number, we can make sure they receive an official bib from the event. The participant needs to contact our office within a week of the event date and request a bib be sent to them, we can make that happen.
We’re working hard to make your event experience memorable, and we ask that you consider there are many factors that go in to race planning and logistics. If at any time you have questions, just contact us. We’re happy to share with you how and why decisions are made and open to considering if there’s another way we can do things – sometimes there is and other times there might not be, but we can’t even try if nobody’s talking with us about it!!