Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Your Bib, Period!

For the second year in a row, I have learned about a bib-and-chip-transfer situation at the Chicago Marathon that has caused hard feelings and wreaked havoc in an age group, pushing strong runners down a place for no reason other than someone's stupidity and possibly greed. This year's situation was worse because it involved prize money. Basically, what happened both years was that someone who didn't even run was listed as the age-group winner. Last year, it was in a men's age group; this year in a women's. The good news is the marathon has corrected the results for this year's snafu, but it could happen again and probably will. Besides the obvious skewing of the results by undeserving runners who allowed someone else, younger and faster, to use his or her race number, there are other issues. First and foremost is the integrity of runners, and ultimately of the event itself. You don't give your race number to someone else, period!! Second, there is the injury and liability situation. What if you have someone else's bib on and become injured or die? Don't want to go there? I didn't think so. And what about the race being liable for your safety, providing you drinks, medical help etc., when it turns out you aren't even registered? Enough's enough. Next time someone can't run and offers you a bib, please refuse. Under-the-radar bib transfers have been out of hand for a long time and need to stop. Just do it!


ESE said...

First of all, thanks for taking the time to write about the Chicago running scene. Your blog is a pleasure to read.

Bib swapping was issue at this year's Shamrock Shuffle as well. I noticed several Chicago women listed in the results ahead of me who I had never heard of. After a little research, it turns out that their numbers and chips were worn by men. While using another person's bib number to enter a race is not the best idea, wearing another's chip is completely frustrating and wrong amd hurts those of us who actually look up results and care about where we finish.

Anonymous said...

Aghh, it's frustrating this is so common and people seem to think this is okay. You're right Bob - it's not cool at all. In September I wrote about "Race bandits stay on the sideline" on my blog. Keeping the topic to the forefront and getting people to talk about this might curb some of this.
Brenda B

Anonymous said...

I'll stir it up a bit and say that it's not that big of a deal Bob. If the person who runs under another bib/chip gets hurt that's their problem...this is America and people make their own decisions.
For the sake of argument, some people get injured, sick, etc...passing the bib along to another person in these cases should be alright, especially if a race like the Chicago marathon is sold point is unless you are competing for any of the top few spots in any race, have fun and stop being so serious...that's what running is supposed to conjure up...being synonymous with excitement and fun. If someone younger/faster wins an older age group by passing off a bib, I'm sure the times/results will be pretty skewed and the correct results will come to light. I don't think it's as big of a deal,in the big picture, as you are making it out to be. Think the Economy, Global Wars....don't worry about Joe who gave his bib to Jim who beat you at the Race to the Taste 5k in Chicago.

ESE said...

To the anonymous poster that thinks running under someone else's name is ok: I am competing for top spots in most races I run! There are many of us who run both for competition and enjoyment. It's definitely not "fun and exciting" when someone uses another's chip and screws up the race results!

Anonymous said...


When "competing for top spots in most", I agree that it's not "fun and exciting" to deal with the results immediately following the race if a chip/bib were swapped. However, yourself or whoever is beat out of a higher position, will have a chance to protest the results and most likely win in an investigation. My advice, as someone who also competes for "top spots" in most races...Train harder and Race faster. These two in conjunction with some good rest will most definitely allow you the opportunity at least to make this issue a moot point.

Eileen said...

Oh, so you don't think the 2 people who actually cheated in the race have any responsibility -- it lies on the innocent runner to "protest". In my opinion, your thinking mirrors today's society in a nutshell -- don't think of repercussions with your actions, don't follow the race director's rules, and by all means, don't take responsibiity for your bad decision -- let somebody else fix the problem.

Keep up the great work on your blog, Bob.
Eileen Skisak

Raoul Bamberger said...

If the Chicago Marathon would allow for the transfer of numbers between individuals maybe this wouldn't happen. People are forced to register early for the race and many never make it to the starting line. If they would allow for the transfer of registration this would alleviate your concerns. Why don't they? Greed? On a good year only 32K out of 45K even start the race - and that's what they plan on. $$$

ESE said...

Thanks for your training advice, Anonymous, but I've already met with success using my current coach and plan. By the way, I'm a woman. No matter how hard and fast I train, there will always be a faster man and when that man uses a woman's chip, he will beat me. Also, I'm not sure why it should be my (or other honest runners) jobs to actively monitor and protest race results. I think we'd all rather celebrate and drink beer.

By the way, I doubt your competing for a top spot in any race. I'm lucky enough to know most of the top runners (male and female in Chicago/Midwest and not one of them feels it's ok to do this.

This horse is dead, so I'm done beating it!

Tony said...


I agree with your point that the marathon should allow transfer of bibs to those that do meet with an unfortunate accident in their training.

generic viagra said...

I can not believe that someone who doesn't run dressed up as a runner! There are many people that feel envy of others!