“I Will Run Boston For You”
I mentioned this classified in an article I posted about bibs wanted and bibs for sale from marathonguide and Craigslist. I responded to this ad posing as a potential buyer. I said that I was injured and unable to use my bib.
I quickly received a reply:
Hey, I’m sorry to hear about your injury! That’s devistating. I hope it’s something that you can heal from quickly. I would put you into contact wth the ppl I have run for in the past, but somehow I don’t think they want to be named. The last official marathon I ran in my own name was in 2014. I tend to do it just for myself at this point. What age group are you in and what time do you need to qualify. If you are unsure we can meet up and discuss any and everything to make sure you are comfortable with me taking the bib. I’m open and honest and will def make it easy. I work in Boston so I can meet up quick. Let me know if you’d like to proceed or have more questions. Thanks, joe
After I asked for some proof that he was capable of running a BQ time, he still was protecting the identities of the other bib sellers. He provided a link to the last marathon he ran legitimately. He ran Boston 2014 using a charity bib. He ran the race in 3:34:53.
I persisted in requesting some evidence that he has carried another runner’s bib and can run a Boston qualifying time (I said that I required a time under 3:10:00). He was unable to find his bib for 2016, but eventually sent me this photo of a bib from The 2015 Boston Marathon.
He didn’t want to name the runner – but this was even better. Evidence that he physically had the bib. The time for this runner was 3:22:51 – not a Boston Qualifying time. I didn’t expect to find photos – surely he was hiding the bib. But, I was incorrect. There were plenty of photos of Joe unashamedly wearing bib # 676.
This bib was registered to a runner named Anthony. I decided to check Anthony’s race history. He ran the 2014 Boston Marathon in 4:49:04. Here’s the photo of “Anthony” from 2014.
Turns out Anthony ran qualifying times for Boston 2014 and 2015 during two different races in 2013. Anthony sold his bib to the woman pictured above for 2014 and to Joseph for 2015. The identity of the buyer pictured above is unknown.
Joseph was advertising to run Boston based on his ability to run a qualifying time. So far, I had not seen evidence of this ability, so I insisted that he give me the information for 2016. He had thought he ran just under 3:10:00. After some back and forth, he gave me the first name of the runner . He didn’t want to give the full name. But he gave me the first name and age of the runner. Only, the information didn’t match up. The only runner that fit the criteria ran her own race. He thought he may be confused on the last name.
I asked him for more details, here was his response:
Def not a charity bib. Second wave, I can’t remember coral position. I won’t be in the photos as I was covering it due to running for a woman and didn’t want her to stand out in the pics.
So I went about checking all the runners with the first name he gave me that weren’t running with charity bibs. Finally I came across this runner – not with a time of 3:10:00, but with a time closer to 4:00:00. He confirmed that this is him in the photos. Obviously he didn’t cover her bib as he claimed.
Yup, that’s me! I must have shaved for the next marathon. Which would have been a couple months later. Wtf! I apologize for being thick-headed. That also means my 3:10 was at the next one as well. I suck! I’m sorry I didn’t even realize that.
The 2015 Bib Seller
I reached out to the runner that sold the bib to Joe for Boston ’16. She did say her intent in selling to this runner was not to qualify for The 2017 Boston Marathon. Her intent, she says was primarily to recoup the cost of the bib and not have her bib go to waste. She was unable to tun due to injury. I don’t feel that excuses the behavior. There are reasons the rules on banditing and unauthorized bib transfers are in place.
Boston R.D. Dave McGillvrey wrote this Runner’s World article about banditing. His last two points apply equally to bib buying and selling as they do to bandits.
- Most importantly, we don’t know who these people are so they can pose a security risk, especially with the heightened security measures at road races.
- And, by the way, it just isn’t fair for all those who earned the right to be there who have trained hard, entered on time, and who may have raised a lot of money for a worthwhile cause. These bandits didn’t officially enter and they didn’t pay the entry fee like everyone else did. The race cost money to pay for all these services, including police along the course to secure the roads so the runners can run on them, provide port-o-johns and medical supplies and the list goes on and on. Bandits didn’t pay for any of this.
While I am not naming her here, I will make the B.A.A. aware of everyone involved. It is up to them to make a decision on what actions to take.
Joseph or ‘J’ as he posted in his classified, first came to my attention after he advertised last year. His story was included in a Runner’s World article about my efforts to identify Boston cheaters. It would seem that he advertises the ability to run BQ times to lower the price he pays. Despite his claims of being able to run any time needed, he has yet to achieve a documented Boston Qualifying time for himself or anyone else while running Boston.
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