Bandit Running

I originally had a different post in mind for today but I pushed everything back. I am still planning to update everyone on my trip to Boston and I am breaking the trip up into multiple posts. In between all of that, I will recap races that I have run and my weekly training. But most of the other posts will be Boston related for quite a while.

I wanted to do a few posts last week about my trip but I was exhausted and busy and it took my too long to get my pictures in order so that I COULD post about the trip. Sometimes sleep or being lazy takes priority… I am human, what can I say.

Now – onto the REAL reason I decided to postpone my original post for today.


There have been two stories floating around about Fake bibs running the Boston Marathon. This infuriates me!

Bandit running is a common issue in a lot of races but most bandit runners will just hop onto the course and run without a bib. But what these people did with Boston is actually create a FAKE bib (that was a duplicate of an actual legit runners bib) and run the race.

I know of two specific stories of this having been done. I would not be surprised to see more come out over the coming days.

I do NOT support bandit running in any form.

It is one thing for a friend to jump onto a course to help another friend who is legit running the race because they need help for a mile or two. And I have also seen lots of instances where a child will run the last tenth of a mile (or whatever) with their parent to cross the finish line. I really don’t have any issue with either of those cases. The person jumping in is not running the whole race and they are not trying to collect the medal at the end of the race either. And though I don’t really have an issue with this, a LOT of races are cracking down on this from a safety/security perspective. After Boston last year, really, added security is not a bad a thing

But what these people did with Boston was actually create (or buy… there is no clear information on this) FAKE bibs. They then lined up in the corral and ran the race. Not only did they use the resources that were there for the runners who legally (not the best word choice but lets go with it) were running the race but from a security standpoint.  These fake runners (yes, I do think that is an appropriate term) also collected a medal at the end of the race but they didn’t truly pay for that medal. They also put the BAA and others at risk.

See when you register for a race, you sign a waiver that you know what you are doing (more or less) and you will not hold the race responsible if something should happen to you. I know this is done for a half and full but I believe that it is done for smaller distance races as well. If you do not sign up for the race legit then you do not sign that waiver and therefore become a HUGE liability for the race.

And from another security standpoint, a person trying to do harm could use this method to do so. I really HATE that this thought even crossed my mind but unfortunately, that is the world we now live in.

I am now going to point out that this is not the BAA’s fault. They took every precaution with the marathon and everyone said that they felt safe the entire time. They did everything in their power to make sure everyone had a good safe race. And really, as a spectator, I have to say that the feeling at the race was all positive. I also felt safe the ENTIRE time.

Which is partially why I am now so furious about these fake runners.

Boston is the most prestigious Marathon. Runners spend most of their (running) lives dreaming of running this race. They spend YEARS trying to BQ (Qualify for Boston).

Printing a fake bib is like slapping the most prestigious race in the face and saying f$ck you to the whole running community.

What’s worse, is one couple actually seemed PROUD of what they did. Which angers me so much more. What you did is NOT proud! What you did is WRONG. I don’t care who you are and I don’t care how much you wanted to run with your spouse. IT. WAS. WRONG!!!!

I fully understand how everyone wanted to be a part of THIS year’s marathon. And really, I cannot fault you for WANTING to be a part of it this year. You are amongst those that wanted to take back the finish line and show that evil won’t prevail. I get that, but if you were NOT able to get into the race in legitimate fashion then you should have chosen to be part of the race the way I did, as a spectator, cheering for every runner that was on that course. I knew I couldn’t be a part of the actual race itself, but I also knew that I could be amongst the spectators showing that I was not afraid to be there cheering on the runners… most of whom are fulfilling their dream.

The BAA has already stated that they are looking into the matter. I am not sure what will be done to the fake runners. But I hope they are punished.

As for how to prevent this in the future… well… that is difficult, I am sure. Races have timing chips which is how you get your official time. They are connected to the bib (or it’s a separate chip for the shoe) and that runner is known by that “chip”. There has been no mention of whether these fake bibs had the timing chip or not… though I suspect they did not. And it is difficult to glance at a bib and know if it is fake or not. But my assumption is that going forward, you will need to scan your bib before being allowed into the start corral.

If you would like to read the two stories that I know of, you can click on the following links.

Story # 1

Story # 2


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