New York City Bib Swapping Recipient Cheats Real Winner and a Racing Legend

Marathon pioneer Kathrine Switzer was one of the runners that was cheated out of their rightful placement due to tbib swapping at The New York City Marathon

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the New York City Marathon Women’s 60-64 age group results. The 1st place finisher in this age group was disqualified after it was discovered that someone else ran with her bib.

The Female 70-74 Age group results look like this:

 

Here is the photo of the first place winner. This is not a photo of a 70 year old woman.

This is clearly another instance of bib swapping upsetting age group awards.

 

Congratulations To The Legitimate Top 3

Liz Burger 4:39:19

Kathrine Switzer 4:48:21

Misae Taniguchi 4:52:34

 

A Legend Cheated out of 2nd Place

Kathrine Switzer is a pioneer in running.  In 1967 Kathrine became the first woman to officially run and complete The Boston Marathon. It is sad that 50 years later that she (and everyone else that competed in the age group) was pushed down the leader board by the actions of another woman. By a woman that likely was inspired by Kathrine back in 1967.

I’m sure this swap wasn’t done to intentionally rob others’ of their age group glory. However, it would be very difficult to claim complete ignorance regarding bib swapping. The New York Road Runners have put together a very public policy against bib swapping and selling. The runner who used the bib should have been aware that her time could be good enough for an award.

Now, it is very likely that this woman will be banned from The New York Marathon after affecting the results of a woman that fought for women to have the right to officially run 26.2 miles.

 

More Needs To Be Done

Some people like to blame the issue of bib swapping on the races. I’ve seen people argue that if races allow deferments or transfers that this problem would go away. (NYC does offer guaranteed a guaranteed entry to the next year’s race if you cancel, but you do need to pay an additional entry fee).

By allowing transfers, you would just raise the supply of bibs that hit the secondary market. Runners would enter the lottery just to try to earn a few hundred dollars. This policy would decrease the # of bibs available to legitimate runners while increasing the amount of bibs that get in to the hands of people with no intention of running.

I think a possible solution would be to have a wristband system. When you pick up your bib at the expo, you get a wristband that cannot be removed without breaking it. If you don’t have a wristband and a bib, you are not allowed to enter the starting corral – or you get pulled from the course if spotted.

 

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New York City Marathon
18 Comments on this post.
  • John
    10 November 2017 at 11:57 am

    Transfers don’t necessarily increase the cost. Marine Corps allows transfers only at cost (or at least they used to do this). No reason other than greed that other races can’t do this too.

    • Brandon
      10 November 2017 at 7:57 pm

      I don’t believe Derek is talking about transfer fees of a bib transfer. More on the lines of a 3rd party upmarking the price for the actual bib. Let’s say a NYC Marathon bib is $295. One could raise that price to $400. Easy, don’t like the price don’t buy it. Wrong, someone that is entering the lottery just to profit is taking a legitimate lotto spot.

    • j
      12 November 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Try putting on an event for 50k people and then let us know how easy it is to switch people around at the last minute. If you’re worried about getting injured then buy race insurance. If you feel you need to drop out of a race because you didn’t train hard enough, well you’re just SOL.

    • Mike
      13 November 2017 at 2:21 pm

      The Marine Corps Marathon allows bib transfers – only through their registration website – with a $50 transfer fee paid by the transferee. Any monetary compensation outside of that is between the transferer and the transferee, and it certainly does happen that bibs go for above the original registration cost.

  • Shel
    10 November 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I noticed that Berlin has what looked to be an easily copied bib that is printed on site when you pick up. But they also do have a wristband that would be difficult to remove and transfer to someone else. I think you are on the right track with this thought.

  • Sam
    10 November 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve been in races that have high demand but limited entries that use the wristband system. Check ID at packet pickup and put a wristband on that can only be torn off. They can check the wristbands at the bus, start line and aid stations. Someone will always want to figure out a way, but it helps.

  • Joseph M. Leary
    10 November 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Comment: Nina Kuscsik was the first woman to officially run & finish the Boston Marathon in 1972. Kathy Switzer was the first to run as a numbered entry in 1967.

  • James Fletcher
    11 November 2017 at 1:38 am

    I ran the Berlin marathon and you had to show an email with your details before entering the expo.. then you got a wristband and was again asked for id before your number was handed over.. on race day i had to pass through 3 security checks to get to my corral and my wristband was checked every time.. i think big city marathons could learn from Berlin, cos no wristband no number no race..

  • Sean McDonald
    11 November 2017 at 11:15 am

    Last year MCM was $65 to defer & $50 to transfer. I believe the deferment went up to $80 this year.

  • Larry
    11 November 2017 at 11:16 am

    That young runner with the bib should be ashamed of herself – not only for misappropriating a bib for someone much older than herself but also for running such a slow time for someone her age!

  • Sean McDonald
    11 November 2017 at 11:20 am

    The ‘additional fee’ that Derek says NYRR offers is a full $300 race fee. That’s gouging, plain & simple.

  • derek murphy
    11 November 2017 at 11:30 am

    “Additional entry fee”. I thought that was implied. If you can’t run, you can guarantee your entry for the following year which you have to pay for.

  • derek murphy
    11 November 2017 at 11:31 am

    It’s better than not offering any option.

  • Orson
    12 November 2017 at 11:42 am

    What is with obscuring the names of the persons whose bibs are being swapped, muled or otherwise cheating?

    These are matters of public record in the race results. You cannot get in legal trouble for listing public information like that with your well developed interpretation of those facts. In order for there to be a lasting deterrent upon cheaters there must be shaming involved.

    • PATRICK KROTT
      3 December 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Agreed

  • Greg
    19 November 2017 at 4:41 am

    Silly, people will just make fake wristbands.

  • Debbie
    21 November 2017 at 11:59 am

    “The 2nd place finisher in this age group was disqualified after it was discovered that someone else ran with her bib.” I think you mean the 1st place finisher??

  • Stephanie
    21 November 2017 at 6:56 pm

    So with the NYC Marathon if I picked up my bib on Thursday I’d have a wrist band on until Sunday? Doesn’t seem realistic.

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