To Bag Or Not To Bag?

There was a storm brewing today via twitter and Facebook. NYRR announced that they were eliminating baggage check  at this year’s marathon. WTH?! There are approximately 47000 runners who paid to run in one of the 5 majors this year Fees were increased : NYRR Members: US $216 Non-Members: US $255 and for international travelers $347 (not including airfare and hotel)

I questioned NYRR decision here. Why would they do this? Why wait until after everyone has paid their fees and made their travel arrangements? Is this not a breach of contract? NYRR specifically stated that the fee includes :

Included in the ING Entry Fee
● Entry to the ING New York City Marathon 2012 including hydration and fueling stations, medical
support, entertainment, baggage handling, security, etc.

NYRR reason was that this will eliminate overcrowding and bottlenecking at the finish. Did they bother to ask the runners who will be traveling from Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx and Brooklyn? What about the international runners? Many runners  store a change of clothes, shoes, food, phones, cash and metro cards for emergency What are they to do? What about the runners that have to travel more than 2 hours before they can take a hot shower and change?

I for one ran this race last year. I was pumped My first marathon and in my hometown of NYC It was a dream come true. The adrenaline rush awaiting the start of the wave, hearing New York New York sung at the start, the cannon shooting off, the Verrazano, the electrifying crowd I could go on and on but the experience came crashing down. I witnessed first hand that runners such as myself who run slow and those with disabilities were treated as the red headed child. They give us 7 hours to finish and I was well ahead of that time As I passed through Central Park I noticed that water stations were literally being dumped and the NYC police dept were  gathering the barricades along Central Park. It made me cry Was I that bad? Did I not pay the same fees as everyone else?

What I noticed with NYRR, not only with the marathon but their half marathon too is that they cater to the elite athletes and treat their members and non-members with such disregard. NYRR members are given the choice to run 9 races and volunteer for 1 to obtain guaranteed entry to the marathon for the following year. Do you know how much that costs? Close to $1000 Never mind if the runner needs to reserve a hotel and their transportation.

This is the thanks we get Pay more for less service without questioning those who are registered to run. The entrants paid to run with all the services that were provided. Now NYRR has taken that away. What are the runners to do with their clothes at the start? Some of their items are expensive Should they donate the items to Goodwill? While in the past there were throwaways at the start I do not see how you can force someone to give up a jacket that could have cost them $100 because they cannot place it on the bag. What if the runners have no one meeting them at the finish? NYRR states that the bags can be given  to a friend or family member so they can met you at the finish. How exactly are the runners going to give that bag? The runners village at the start is specifically for the runners No bib no entry.

Running for me is fun It gets me out of the house and it distresses me. I have noticed fees for races going up and the junk that is sold at the expos and I declared last year that I have a choice I can run in a big race or a smaller one depending on the fees. I have found that NYRR marathon fees are the most expensive and the medal is not that great folks.

The best races are the ones with less than 10,000 with amazing events after the race. The medals surpass NYRR  The goody bags contain more than an apple and Poland Spring water bottle These races provide a service  where you can actually check in your bag. I am treated with respect and encouraged to finish I feel as though I mean something and I am not just a runner with a high bib number

Shame on you NYRR for yet again dismissing your running community and treating them with such disrespect and disgrace. Its all about money plain and simple How are they to pay all the elite athletes I guess cutting corners with a dedicated running community is the way to go but rest assured there will come a time when your members  will choose another race besides your”s NYRR . I believe you have gotten too big and have missed the big picture The everyday runner The ones who get up at 4:00 to run before work, before we have to get the kids off to school before we begin our day. We are dedicated runners running to reach for our dream To complete our first marathon in the greatest city

I saw this picture today on Facebook and had to share. Fred Lebow the founder of NYRR was quoted as saying, “In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”  I would highly advise NYRR and their board members to read this quote again as a reminder to what your running community expected from NYRR



Credit for photo Kevin Beganics who posted this on NYRR Facebook page today


2 thoughts on “To Bag Or Not To Bag?

  1. I too ran this race last year and loved the actual running portion. I wasn’t a huge fan of the absurdly complicated trip to get to the start, and the finish, where they just dump you into the middle of the city, wasn’t as hospitable as I had imagined. Taking away gear check just seems cruel at this point.

    My biggest concern is for international and out-of-state racers who don’t have any contacts to help them out. You race how you’re comfortable and here you’re being forced to add a fanny pack or stash your shorts with keys / phone, etc. Uncool.

    1. I feel for them too It is already stressful and people are a bundle of nerves the night before a big race and now more stress is added. When I ran the race last year I stayed with friends in Times Square My bag contained all the essentials and my clothes and pj’s from the night before. After the race I had to get on a subway to Penn Station and then head back to Long Island on the Long Island Rail Road It took me over 2 hours to finally get home I was exhausted and cold Thankfully before leaving NYC I changed my shirt and shoes and had an extra jacket since I threw away my $5.00 sweatshirt I picked up at TJMaxx. Follow us on twitter @Running_Junkies we have a hashtag #NYCMarathonFail spread the word ..not that NYRR will do anything They basically ignored everyone’s comments yesterday on their live chat and answered maybe 4 questions with a general response

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