NYRR Attempts To Take Stand Against Bib Selling and Bandits as Runners Openly Buy and Sell Bibs



Bibs were readily available on the secondary market for The Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. There were plenty of options for those looking to buy entries. Here are just a few examples.

This runner proudly posted that he completed the race, and took a medal without registering. It is unknown if he banditted or bought a bib.

The NYRR put flyers in runner’s packets when they picked up their bibs for this weekend’s Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon.

We know things come up and you can’t always run a race you signed up for. But we need to know who our runners are on the course so we can help you if you need it. If a runner wearing your bib has a medical issue, we won’t be able to help them as effectively if we don’t know them. If you run using someone else’s bib, we don’t know you, so you’re at risk as well. You get the idea. Run only with your own race number—period. If we find you doing otherwise, you and anyone else involved risk being suspended from future NYRR races.

-NYRR – Respect The Run

The NYRR is rolling out their “Respect The Run” campaign at http://nyrr.org/respecttherun.



It is a good move for NYRR to promote it’s policy to educate runners that selling their bibs could result in a permanent ban for all NYRR races. As far as handling bandits, if races really want to prevent them, there has to be better security along the course and to get into the corrals.  Races need to decide if they really want to prevent and monitor bandits and bib sellers.  You can keep illegitimate runners of the corrals by scanning bibs upon entry, or by affixing wristbands at packet pickup. Of course there are pros and cons to any new procedure. Any new procedure adds costs and complicates the process and experience.



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  1. Wow, medal guy hit all the tangents and may have the most accurate gps watch I’ve ever seen.

    • he probably stopped his Garmin the minute it said 13.1 miles. Notice you can’t see where the finish is in his little pic montage…

    • I wish all runners would understand tangents! Too many runners are clueless and think the miles signs are wrong!

  2. I can’t imagine many runners would be upset with a bib scanning system, it would be possible to set up an RFID scanner at the entrance of a corral and which confirms each runners bib upon entry; there would have to be an employee to verify and enforce the policy but it could be done in a non-invasive and mostly automated way.

  3. If NYRR really cared about race results integrity, they never would have changed their bib numbering system. Previously faster runners would get low numbers (e.g., 3-digits, some even 2-digits) then the slower you are, the higher your bib # (like what is done for NYCM) So when you see a fast race time with a 5-digit number, it would immediately throw up a red flag. Now, they seed people by corral letter (AA being the fastest, K or L being last?) but bib #’s are totally random-so it’s completely possible someone in the AA corral would get assigned a 5-digit bib number. If they won’t go back to the old way of doing things, I wish they’d at least put corral letters in results, especially for races like Brooklyn, NYC Half, Staten Island half. Would make weeding the cheaters out so much easier (especially when they bump deserving people out of their AG award.)

    • Yeah and their new results page is unusable to search for potential cheaters. It’s really difficult to even find your own results.

  4. The wrist band thing is really not a bad idea.

    In the triathlon world, both Rev3 and Ironman affix a wrist band to you at packet pickup and if you do not have it on you cannot participate in anything having to do with the race.

    Not sure it would stop somebody from lining up, since in triathlons you often can wear a wetsuit for the swim, and that could cover the band, but usually your swim cap has your number on it for those bigger races anyway, and those could be passed on by the user selling the bib, but I would say it is rare to get away with being a bandit, or selling a race entry for those events.

  5. Why don’t you criticize races for not offering a transfer/sale option? Many races in Europe and other areas allow this. And more races in the USA have this option. Like Maine Marathon and Revel marathon series.

    Obviously there needs to be a final cutoff but Races are helping create this problem.

    • That’s great for the Maine Marathon, but it’s not as if they have 50K runners to manage. If you don’t like the policy, don’t run the race. And if you’re prone to getting injured buy race insurance.

      • In many ways, the bigger the race the easier it would be to set up an alternate/exchange system. Just charge a $10 fee to cancel out of the race IF there is somebody on the wait list to fill your spot. You should still not be able to just transfer/sell your bib for all of the other liability reasons people have stated.

        Either way, races need a better way to figure out before/during the race who is not really who they say the are, and to discourage/eliminate bandits. A few ideas:
        – print your first name LARGE on the race bib like they do for the elites, which makes it a little harder to sell the bib.
        – print the bibs at check-in with your photo right on the front, so they can do a cross-check as you enter the starting corral or finishing chutes.
        – move the RFID to the front of the bib so it is more obvious if a bib has been Xeroxed.
        – mats at every mile with automated announcement of the names, (I’m sure the computer-generated system would butcher some of our names, but even in a big race it would help if some folks–especially the true bandits.)
        – prosecute a few repeat offenders for trespassing and/or petty theft. (petty theft for the guy above who took the medal.)

    • If you don’t like the policies, don’t run. Your comments here (and against other articles on this site) are like blaming a store for putting merchandise on shelves were shoplifters can reach it. Wrong is wrong.

  6. Races could also consider allowing runners to defer if they can’t run or to offer a partial refund or a fee for switching my bib to another runner. They’d make more money for hardly any additional work. I totally agree you shouldn’t use someone else’s bib, but races are so inflexible and expensive – and you often have to register months in advance to get in…they’re setting up a system that incentives this behavior.

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