The Boston Marathon’s Retro Bandit?

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Every year I see bib copying, bib forging, and I’ve seen runners using their previous year’s bib to get onto the course. This is partially possible due to the unchanged design of the Boston Marathon bib over the past few years.

In the age of photoshop and all the technology, one apparent bandit went decidedly retro:

2018 Boston Marathon Finisher Photo

It’s one thing to be able to slip onto the course without a bib or with a well done forgery. But this guy was wearing a bib from 1996! It turns out that the BAA did change the bib design over the past 22 years.

Not only did he run the race, but was given a medal and took the finisher photo to commemorate the occasion.

And, yes he did have plenty of photos on the course.

 

After I became aware of the runner, I decided to check prior years’ photos.

 

Here he is after the 2017 Marathon

And after 2016, taking advantage of the post race water bottle and mylar blanket. I would guess that he also accepted aid on the course.

I have reached out to The BAA – results are unavailable for the 1996 race.

Up Next

Within the next few days I will begin writing about bib copying, course cutting, and more. Keep sending in your tips. If you witnessed anything suspicious send an email to: derek@marathoninvestigation.com.

 

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25 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t much care for his dead-eyed stare. And since we know he has no regard for the importance of rules, I can easily see how this look could be more at home in a BPD mugshot, instead of a “FINISHER” backdrop.

    You’d think after the pressure cooker incident, they’d be more careful.

    • After 6 Bostons since 2013, the volunteers checking bibs before handing over drop bag, checking bibs getting on the bus, before getting in to Athlete’s Village, before walking to your corral, before stepping in to your corral…. Our bibs are checked 5-6x! They are looking. This guy would be a huge red flag, especially given his old age and stepping in to a wave 1 red bib corral. They should give more coaching to the volunteers who are checkign and that if they see a bib that does not say the year of that race, they need to tell them to wait outside until they can verify w/ a race official.

  2. WOW! This is insane to me. It shocks me that no staff member or volunteer pulled him off the course in the past 3 years. Changes definitely need to be made…thanks for finding this guy!

  3. This is incredible. No shame and no apologies I’m sure. The entitlement is amazing. My guess; he’s connected to someone and therefore they look the other way. I can’ wait to hear what the BAA has to say – if anything! Please.

  4. Unbelievable how this is possible!

    Also check out the huge Citco billboard on the third photo from this year, exactly the same logo as on his Bib. What are the odds..

  5. With the advent of RFID tags embedded in bibs, I see no reason why medal distributors couldn’t scan finishers’ bibs before handing out that medal. Lost bib? With four solid pins, it should be more difficult to lose it than have the chip fail to register at pads. Not saying it can’t happen, but I’ve never seen an elite lose a bib. Handle those problems individually. In 2018, at one of the most monitored races in the world, all entrants, bib-wearers, finishers should be able to be electronically identified almost instantly. Then, I’d love to see and hear this guy’s tap-dance routine.

  6. I mean yeah it’s wrong, but you’ve got to give him credit that he’s not even vaguely hiding it, and they’re letting him on the course. I’m sure that bib doesn’t have a chip, he’s not getting an official time. I understand that he shouldn’t really be out there, but if you’re going to do it, this is the way to do it. He’s certainly gotten good use of his 1996 bib.

    • I can confirm that the 1996 Boston did not have B-Tags. I think that was before B-Tags were a thing. They used the old plastic disc shaped Champion Chips that year. First race I ever did with chips.

  7. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s actually a bandit or whether he has a legitimate qualifier (or charity entry) and is merely running with his retro bib

    • I’ll admit that thought entered my mind, but I quickly dismissed it based on his finishing time and all the photos. From his 2016 photos I think I can determine the time of day that he finished and check against the results to see if he may have been registered. I am confident that he was not registered – but want to put that notion to bed one way or another.

  8. I hope you can somehow trace who he is and make him pay an entry fee for all the years he ran. What a piece of work!

  9. I wonder if he is even running the whole way or is he hopping in at like Mile 23?

    I looked at a few of the photos from prior years and it appears like this is the case.

    • My thought as well. I went through the exercise of confirming that he didn’t have a real bib as well as the 1996. He was truly a bandit–many arguing that he may have been carrying his ‘real bib’. Would explain more of why he wasn’t stopped – if he only ran a couple miles.

  10. My $.02…

    Sure he’s “stealing” services/resources from the BAA, but, he’s not taking a spot of another qualifier and he’s not (presumably) getting an official finish time.

    He walked right past 5 to 10 different volunteers who must have said nothing about his very different bib.

    Even during the rain on Monday they made you show your bib at least 3 or 4 times through security, and there are multiple points where they guide you to correct line, corral, etc., Checking your bib every time.

    I guess maybe they don’t check as much in the blue (third I think?) Wave, but they are at least very strict in red and white waves, from my experience.

    So, yeah, anybody who cheats to run Boston is bad, but at least this Yahoo isn’t taking somebody else’s spot.

  11. After competing in 6 Bostons since 2013, my bib is checked 5-7x race morning.

    Your bib is checked before handing over drop bag, before getting on the bus, before getting in to Athlete’s Village, before walking to your corral, before stepping in to your corral (this year, two separate corral volunteers checked me). Our bibs are checked 5-7x! The volunteers are looking.

    HOW and why this guy got past all those different security checks w/ all different volunteers checking is baffling! This guy would be a huge red flag, especially given his old age and stepping in to a wave 1 red bib corral. They should give more coaching to the volunteers who are checking and that if they see a bib that does not say the year of that race, they need to tell them to wait outside until they can verify w/ a race official.

    If I was a volunteer doing security check, I’d use that place of authority.

  12. For those who insist upon commenting on the multiple checkpoints, well I hate to break it to you, but bandits don’t start in corrals (anymore). They walk along the gate of the start line and jump in. If you ever watch from the start line (so little people do) you will see tons of people do it. Furthermore, if you have ever volunteered for a race, you know full well you almost never look at the bib. You focus on the water, the cheering, and the energy gels. And, in all honesty, if you see a bandit – what are you going to do? Chase after them? Unlikely.

    I know I am not the norm, but personally, I don’t care if people bandit races. So long as they bring their own water and never collect a medal. Some people cannot afford to enter these races as the prices are absolutely ridiculous. Not everyone can justify paying $100+ to run a race. They have to worry about foods, bills, rent, etd.

    Most of the Boston Marathon bandits are locals. They live here and unless you pay close to $400 (if you even quality), you aren’t going to run it. Instead, our major roads are closed and we get to watch. Commonwealth, as most of you know, is a huge part of the Boston Marathon. It is also a MAJOR running street for runners in Newton & Boston and a major road and it is entirely blocked off. Sure, it’s only a day, but I would bet money if it was in your neighborhood you wouldn’t be so thrilled either.

    Lastly, since this comment has developed a mind of its own. Boston was built on bandits – Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb, The Man with the Canoe, Boston College students, and more. They sit in the back of the pack and coast through. They do it for fun – not qualifying times, not the medal. It’s fun to run and it’s where they live. Why wouldn’t they want to bandit it? Thousands of people bandit races every year, for some reason people only seem to care about the big ones. It’s a bit discriminatory to only allow certain times to run, honestly. Otherwise, you only have to raise $5000+ dollars and for some people, without all those “big money connections” it’s not even possible.

    My advice? Simply let them be. Life’s too short to worry about the small things. We all run for the love of running. Instead, of being angry and cruel. Smile, be kind and do YOUR best. In the end, that’s all the matters.

    • Absolutely correct. Why would a bandit bother with bag drops, buses and coralles? Simply jump in the race 200 yard in. If you have any kind of bib no one is going to question it along the course. There will be a few hundred bandits. Maybe they’ll drain some water or medical resources. Live with it. I’m thinking of running as a bandit in 2019. I’ll send you a picture!

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