Today, the story is Bandits. Running bandits. I googled this to find some cool articles, and of course as is prone with Google, I got lots of different hits, some having nothing to do with running.
- There’s a Facebook Page for Bandits , although its some High School miscreants, so I doubt it’s in the same category as the bandits I’m talking about.
- There’s a group called The Valid Bandits, and they put out a song called You Are Running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Yen3ki45w]
And I found several articles, all of which I mostly agree with, and that you can find here.
However, I’m talking about what happens not only to us at the back of the pack, but the volunteers, and indeed on a different level the ones in the front!
- Having been very satisfied with a 10:40 pace as a 50 year old, I’m assured that on any given marathon or race, I’m going to make it under the wire in enough time, so as to not have the course closed on me. However, running with bandits has me coming in to empty water stations, empty Gu boxes and volunteers who are wiped out already with the ton of people coming through.
- Who knows how many actual bandits there are, but how will the race directors know how much materials to order for everyone, if the number of runners exceeds the paid registration?
- As a volunteer at Mile 20 in LA, I can assure you that we are VERY concerned about those folks who come in wiped out (as Mile 20 is supposed to feel), who need our help, our aid…and there’s something of a resentment brewing inside of me as I watch non-paid runners glide on past…or even get water and throw their cups on the ground. If you pay for it? Yeah, go ahead and throw it down. That’s why I’m here. It’s my job.
- I remember Napa to Sonoma half last summer, when there was not ONE drop of water at an Aid station. The worker there started yelling at us…”Don’t bug me about it…all the runners came through already!” And I’m standing there parched…and I didn’t bring water because I knew when and where to get some … (that was the last race that I relied on the aid station)…but there’s a level of hostility that arises…
In general, a bandit is actually a thief. Even the pacers…which brings up a separate issue. If you’re pacing someone at a Marathon, and you’re a bandit, then you are doing two disservices. One to the race directors and volunteers…but other, more significantly is the fact that is seems more like cheating.
I believe in pacers. I’m having one at the Marine Corps Marathon. But, you will bet your life that he will have a paid registration, and a bib, and will be able to enjoy every bit of the marathon …legally. This includes the crowds, the volunteers, the water, the excitement…and me.
Because no one steals from Ms. V.