NYC Running Crews Condone and Encourage Banditing and Bib Copying


I received an anonymous email a little while back regarding a couple of NYC running clubs that promote the banditing of races through copying of bibs. They are brazen and unapologetic. I cannot take credit for uncovering this information. Thanks to the emailer for bringing this to my attention. Many of the words and thoughts are that of the tipster. But I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment.


While the recent examples of Boston Marathon bib forgeries are getting a lot of attention, it’s hardly a new or isolated phenomenon. Years ago, bandits would often run portions of the course with years old bibs (or no bib at all) and then exit the course before nearing the finish. New York Road Runners (NYRR) even placed “bandit catchers” at the entrance to Central Park to physically remove anyone who didn’t have a legitimate bib. Seemingly, most of the bandits just wanted to have some fun, or often run along with a friend, and not too many years ago, NYRR would look the other way so long as the bandits weren’t taking race resources such as fluids, or going anywhere near the start or finish.


But recently, and even more brazenly at the 2016 NYC Marathon there were several examples of a shift in the attitude of the forgers. Rather than avoiding the start and finish, and rather than trying to fly under the radar and escape detection, some forgers are not only producing high-quality fake bibs that can fool race authorities, but they’re defiantly bragging about it after. They show no apparent concern for NYRR’s rules, for the runners whose bibs they’ve forged, or for the runners who were rejected from the race and chose to abide by NYRR’s decision. Mind you, in at least some cases these are not rogue individuals who produce the fakes, but rather prominent local running “crews”, complete with sponsors.


There were at least two such crews that copied bibs for the 2016 New York City Marathon.

Bridge Runners

One of their runners actually posted his fake bib in a pre-race Instagram photo, and at least two others wearing Bridge Runners Gear copied the same number for the race.





















When social media began buzzing about it, rather than apologizing, Bridge Runners simply doubled down.



It’s been BRought to our attention that some don’t appreciate our #ModusOperandi. We suggest they just keep it to themselves and Just NOT Show Up!



In a 2013 article, “Running Rogue”, The Bridge Runners were profiled.

Also, according to the below article, they were further developed through a marketing push with Nike which included product development.


We Run Uptown (WRU)

Another group who proudly claimed to have broken the rules is the WRU Crew. The response from their founder after hearing complaints?


“nothing like running a race with a bib you ain’t pay for. I’m founder of a running crew. I encourage it. No shame here. I tell everyone You want to run a race you couldn’t get into I have a laser printer and photoshop let’s get to work. That’s how I beat the system.”






Nike also promoted this group with the below article/advertisement.

Nike: We Run Uptown


Some of the forgers stated that they didn’t even try to enter via legitimate means because the race is too expensive, and argued that they don’t hurt anyone by sneaking into the race. These examples of bibs being forged from scratch also highlights the fact that legitimately entered runners posting photos of their bibs, or “accomplices” passing on their bibs for forgers to copy are not the only ways to produce high quality fakes.



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  1. unreal. Frankly, as a local NYC based runner who is a proud member of a legitimate NYC running club whose bylaws expressly forbid this and other similar transgressions, I’m disgusted. If we caught someone doing this, they would immediately be “expelled.” For what it’s worth, both of these “clubs” however aren’t recognized by the NYRR but it seems Nike is OK with cheats or probably not aware. I’ve actually never heard of We Run… but I have heard of the Bridge Runners. I know one prominent (or at least he says he is) member who is constantly extolling their virtues. I’m going to ask him about how he can think this is OK. Here is their facebook page: and instagram feed In addition, it seems their website has been taken down

  2. Pretty typical of today’s mentality of entitlement and not working for a damn thing. People walk around acting like the world owes them something. You want it? Go out and WORK for it.

  3. The entry fee covers the costs that make the races fun to run. Security, medals, timing mats and road closures aren’t free!

  4. The Bridgerunners instagram is completely belligerent about the whole thing. Check the comments on their latest post.

    • Just checked out their instagram. Pretty interesting that they slam the mainstream running community, yet cheat their way in to mainstream races. The earlier articles made it seem like it could be a cool group – like the November Project. This just makes them seem like a group that wants to pick a fight and takes pride in that. They’re getting the attention that they wanted – why would they complain now about it?

  5. Seriously, most people who see these idiots in the city think they’re lame and not as they describe it, “cool.” they run 1 mile over a bridge and then act like it’s some rite of passage. oh, soooo tough running over the bridges and crossing in between the lights. Hey, next time run with scissors that would elevate you to rock star status.

      • ah..yeah, I do. 1. It’s called an opinion based on perception which is being confirmed by your group in it’s online responses. 2. You’re own “leader” (or whatever he/she is) said and I paraphrase… we make running cool by not stopping at lights like the rest of the idiots who are looking at their watch or waiting at a traffic light. jeez..get over yourself, TN. It’s running not war.

        Can’t think anything more lame: a running group that thinks they’re a motorcycle gang. Oh, tough guys! So funny and pathetic…

        • and I was so rushed in my response I noticed my grammar was horrible. It is “its” not “it’s” online response and “your” not “you’re” own. Now, I’m going to run and maybe over a bridge, and stop at lights, and look at my watch. I’m sooooo establishment…

          • The fact that you care about spelling and grammar proves that you’re a tool of the establishment 😉

          • The fact that you care about spelling and grammar proves that you’re a polite, civilized member of society.

  6. I can’t think of any way to prevent this other than issuing bibs ON race day, which would be a logistical nightmare. Race fees pay for medals, law enforcement, paramedics, road closures, permit fees, etc. Forging race bibs is simply theft. Maybe these individuals need to be prosecuted for Scheme to Defraud and/or Conspiracy to Commit Fraud. If this happened at any of my races, I would seriously consider prosecution for egregious violators, such as this group. Hate to do it, but this has to stop somewhere.

      • I doubt that people have the wherewithal to try to prosecute all these bandits for theft – yes it is theft. A race could consider identifying them (especially the ones on social media) and dragging them into small claims court to get the entry fees. (Another side business service for MI??)

    • What about allowing bib transfer for a small fee? It wouldn’t eliminate this brazen stuff but some of the less brazen perhaps.

    • Maybe check bibs as you walk through security and metal detectors? Or when you enter your specific corral. It would be pretty easy to check for a timing tag on the back of the bib. Or have a timing mat close to the end of the race and if you don’t set it off you get pulled. They already do this to announce your name. Miami did this. Then subsequently ban anyone caught from all NYRR races. Logistically it wouldn’t be that difficult. The NY Half this year had a large number of people in the first corral who had no business being there. I assume they either cheated to get a qualifying time, or just copied the bib from a qualifier.

  7. When I shared this post in my running group, this is one of the replies I received:
    Ronald Joseph LOL!!!! I live in NYC and rock with both crews!!! I just posted this on my wall calling them out. NYRR teams are dirty as fuck out here in NYC.
    · Reply ·
    · 2 hrs
    Ronald Joseph
    Ronald Joseph So many other NYRR teams do this. I’d bet my life on it. I’d go as far as to say about 10 of the larger and more competitive teams do this. CPTC,VCTC,DWRT,NBR and WSX are just 5 of the upper echelon teams that probably do it.

    • As a member of one of those “upper echelon” teams, I can tell you that we are expressly told not to do anything like this and that we will be kicked off the club if we do. I would say that’s probably the same for all the 5 clubs mentioned in this comment.

    • Ronald Joseph is a moron. No, really! He can’t understand the simple difference: If or when someone does this, gets caught and they are part of a club, they are immediately expelled from their clubs NOT encouraged to do so. Wow, some people are so stupid it’s extraordinary.

    • Many teams have had instances of individuals caught cheating. Recently, in an occurrence concerning my club (DWRT), an individual caught course cutting was immediately brought up before the board and permanently dismissed. So, in speaking to “Ronald Joseph’s” comments, I would say: perhaps you’re right, but if we catch ’em, they are DONE. Cheaters suck, and likely you and I would have little in common…

  8. I am making generals statements about races. I find what these clubs do terrible and something should be be done. But with that said there are so many issues with races!

    1. Races should allow for the transfers of bibs. $25 up to 8 weeks before the race. $40- up to 6 weeks before the race, $50 up to race day. You got the original fees from the bib and a few more bucks for the paperwork.

    I get if races have not sold out, the race director will want to sell a bib for the regular price instead of this “service fee.”

    2. Races should allow deferrals! People get hurt, life happens. Charge a flat fee to defer until next year!

    Doing those two things would greatly reduce some of the issues with races.

    • Just a comment on the first point.

      The London marathon expressly forbid bid transfers, and at first it does seem harsh. However, the race have explained why. After holding these races for years, they know pretty accurately how many successful applicants will drop out, and plan for this. So, for example, I believe something like 50,000 places are offered through qualifying times, the ballot and charity places, but every year 38,000 – 40,000 actually start the race.

      By prohibiting the transfer of bibs, the race are able to offer more places than they otherwise would. I’m sure this is a factor for other large races too.

  9. I have replaced my addiction to “The Drudge Report” with daily reading on Marathon Instead of reading about Antifa and Resistance, I now get worked up about marathon cheaters and people trying to stick it to the greedy race organizers. I need help.

  10. I just took a look at their Instagram. I. Can’t. Even.

    I mean, seriously, they think they invented going for a run with a group? They are the only ones who run to run? Everyone else is a medal monkey?
    These are the people that make people roll their eyes when you mention you run. OK, people generally do that, but these are the people that make others roll their eyes, shake their heads, and scoot away.

    If you don’t want to pay for the race, run some other day and buy your own water en route.

    • I tried at first, to reasonably discuss with them their motivations, but they instantly went on the attack. After questioning their motives, I was labelled a racist, a rape victim, a trump supporter (so that shows they have for some really wierd reason that you have to be a democrat to be a legitimate runner, I’m not a republican but I bet a lot of people who run are… and so what if they are?), an ‘out of towner’, a nerd (seriously?). They were telling women to go back to posting cat pictures. Just lashing out at everyone while proclaiming they are the second coming to running, they have apparently reinvented putting one foot in front of another.

      The whole thing is cringe worthy and an embarrasment to running generally.

      • I hate trump and hate Bridgerunners so there. Seriously, like I stated before, they’re a joke: “tough” guy, anti-establishment posturing while posting pictures on Instagram! ooooh, that’s so rebellious!

  11. Nothing more embarrasing than a running ‘crew’ especially one filled with entiled hipsters throwing up gang signs. They should get back to selling artisnal coffee, it’s all their good for.

    That said…

    I mean by all means let them keep running lights to prove how gangster they are, one day they will find a 20 tonne lorry driven by a sleepy USPS driver is a f**k load more gangster.

    • Guys who have been on Nike’s payroll should refrain from pretending to be hip and counterculture. They also shouldn’t pretend that they can’t afford to pay for the marathon.

  12. bandits are part of FREEDOM – but they should be respectful to race authorities and other runners. We live in a free society where we have the right to run on a road that is reserved for runners. Check the Constitution. You do NOT have the right to consume race resources that you did not pay for – nor impede or alter the race nor alter the race results. Be free but be CONSIDERATE always – this is America 2019 and 2020.

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