Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Idea About Bandit

I want to make sure I make this clear that I do not condone Bandit Running in races and will not do it again, but I came across a very interesting topic that an experienced runner/race director wrote about the subject.  It is interesting to see the different ideas on the topic:

devil's advocate: organized races use public land, streets, parks, etc. plus cops, plus whatever other pieces of publicly owned infrastructure. a running race is not ever "yours." it's like a parade. i pay taxes. i paid to have the roads paved, trails maintained. i'll run that race or walk in that parade if i want! U! S! A!

in the case of a "cause" i.e. breast cancer or whatever, hey, i'll always pitch in some dough for the rego, but if someone runs it bandit, you (as race director) gotta relax about're putting on a fundraiser using land that isn't yours, blocking traffic, etc. and should be pleased with the money raised and be happy (this is coming from a guy who's organized a few fundraiser races).

on the other hand, an "official" type of race where everyone gets their running shorts in a bunch over times and know what official time you ran and you know what official place you got...if a bandit wins pikes...well he doesn't get the special prize now does he? boo hoo. but practice harder next year, 'cause you still got beat.

and when i ran as a bandit in the Big City Mega-Bank Life-Insurance Half-Marathon...well i could not care less about them, the race organizers or the money they didn't get from me. if they don't like that, don't hold races. your companies suck at doing what they purport to do. plus, the city does not belong to you beyond your front lawn. are there new yorkers who think ING owns them? ha. could you imagine telling a new yorker that? telling anyone that?

bottom line: whoever runs fastest wins. all these debbie downers need to spend less time on the internet and more time in their running shoes! to anyone short on funds and long on legs...go run the hell out of those "stolen" races! personally, i welcome competition no matter what.

if i weren't so hammered i wouldn't have posted anything at all. this whole big argument is silly. that poor guy shouldn't have apologized for anything. calling his military service into question over a running race? the list of better ways to spend your time is so long it's covering up your common sense, apparently.

i can't remember how i came across this collection of blogs, but i couldn't help but 2-centing on it.

run well guys. healthy, wealthy and...something something.

So end of quote.  I do not want to stir things up again, just offering different perspective.  Some races are really "known" for their bandits too.  Bay to Breakers in SF would not be the same without the bandits, and the same thing with Boston.  So maybe there is a time and place?  Having said that I gave my word that I would not do it again; and God forbid I surely would not write about it.  I was surprised that anyone read my blog, but when I really think of it, Race Directors want to know about what people think about their races and once a topic of controversy comes up people tell all their friends and it goes from there. 
Now to think about the root of all this, I have thought of some opportunities that are a result of high cost races.  There will always be people who want to the t-shirt and want to see their "official" results, so I don't see an end to people paying for races, but it seems like the more experience (especially ultra runners) are looking for alternatives to spending big bucks for those little returns on investment.  Once I retire and have more time, I plan on setting up a series of non-official runs that are bare bones and the only payment is that you help every third or fourth race.  They would have to be small and called fun runs, and probably run on trails, but the savings are huge; no insurance, no security.  People can help out with aid station food or bring a "recommended" donation to help with the food/water/trail marking.  We could keep official time (stop watch/sticks given to match up splits/time/person.  Finally we could hang the results up on a cheap website to give people a more "official" feel to their finish and competitive standing.  This would probably fill in the gaps between the few official races that most of us want to do a year.  Anyway, just some low cost ways to bring people together and "race" without putting down $60-$450 that is now the common cost for races in the length of half marathon to 100 mile ultra races. 

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