What Not To Do at Boston (Or Any Race)


Don’t Let Someone Else Run With Your Bib

This should go without saying. But, this is the most common method that is used to run Boston among those that I identify each year. Also, this doesn’t just mean that you shouldn’t sell or give your bib to another runner. It also means that you shouldn’t post a ‘Flat you’ on social media. From Baa.org

Seems harsh, right? It’s simple, don’t post your bib on social media, and you won’t be disqualified. Don’t post a ‘flat runner’ picture of your outfit with the bib. It’s not worth the risk. I concede that if someone is determined to make a forgery, they will probably do so. Just don’t make it easy to be the owner of the bib they use.

Multiple runners were disqualified last year for copying their bibs or by allowing their bibs to be copied. The most notorious example was the group of Reebok employees that ran with bibs that were copied from a charity that they sponsored. The runners involved were disqualified from the 2016 and 2017 Boston Marathons, and reportedly have been banned. The charity co-founder defended (who was involved in the bib copying) defended their actions. I hold to the belief that he felt pressure to copy these bibs since Reebok was a supporter of his charity.

Don’t Sell Your Bib

Even putting aside all the reasons why selling your bib is wrong..safety, liability, the fact that the buyer didn’t earn the right to run Boston, it is not a smart decision to sell your bib.

You, as the bib seller face all the risk. You are the one that will be banned. The buyer has no reason to obscure your bib. Case in point:


This is Joe. He has posted multiple years that he wanted a bib and could run a Boston qualifying time. (By the way he did not run BQ times for the seller in either 2015 or 2016. When I contacted him anonymously, it only took a few emails for him to give up the sellers for the prior two years. As you can see above, Joe made no effort to hide the bib or his identity.

There are plenty of ads on Marathonguide for runners wanting to buy bibs. Resist the temptation. If you get caught – you likely will, you will be banned.

Red Rover

Just don’t. It’s selfish. It impedes other runners, it ruins their finish photo. When I posted this last year, one reader commented:





OOne Medal Per Runner

Last year a runner wrote about the sacrifices his wife made during his training for The Boston Marathon.





Everyone that ran Boston had people in their life that made sacrifices. There are not enough medals to go around. If you feel that strongly that your significant other deserves a Boston Marathon medal, give yours to them. For what it’s worth this runner felt the wrath of social media, and returned the 2nd medal.

Tomorrow, I will write about the runners that had their 2018 bibs pulled, and some of those that still have a place in Boston despite evidence of cheating. For all the strides The BAA has taken in dealing with cheating, they still rely heavily on the qualifying marathons to validate results. Some races take this more seriously and are more diligent than others.

To support Marathon Investigation, please consider making a small contribution:


One Time Contribution


  1. If you want to talk about racing etiquette in general, here’s one I particularly hate: When runners approach a water station and they stop dead in their tracks to take in their water. As if though they think they don’t have anyone behind them! So for all you marathon newbies, please grab your water and if you must stop (which is highly not suggested), move to the side so that you don’t cause a pile up of runners.

    I no longer stop when someone stops abruptly in front of me for water. I simply now run them over…..

    • That’s why non-newbies know to run past everyone and grab water at the end of the station. And honestly, if you’re around people who come to a dead stop at water stations, then I suspect that a few seconds added to your time is not costing you a BQ or OTQ. Running over people is just a dick move.

        • NoobMarathoner, I hope this exchange has taught you a valuable lesson and you have learned to NEVER stop at a water station (you should move to the side or just past the station so as to not impede other runners). Cause if you do, a DICK and a POOR SPORT like me will run your ass over.

      • Thanks for your valued opinion J! And clearly you’re a newbie and you’ve never BQ and never will because, yes, a few seconds can mean qualifying or not! But once again, thanks for you opinion, it means a lot to me!

        • Sure, I still consider myself a Marathon newbie. I did manage a BQ -25 though and will be running my first Boston this year. Not that that makes me more entitled to run than someone running their first race just to finish. Assaulting someone because they dared impede your all important marathon goal is horribly selfish and represents the worst of the running community.

    • What a terrible way of approaching someone’s ignorance or obliviousness! I’m training for my 10th full right now and think people who intentionally run into people are worse than those oblivious, why not say something instead? Do you struggle in all social situations? You are a poor sport, and sound extremely pretentious, I hope I never see someone intentionally run into another runner. I would report them and ask for them to be dq’d!

  2. I don’t understand the policy of disqualifying the source of a duplicated bib number. If make a fake bib with number 5432, then the unfortunate legitimate owner of that bib will get disqualified, even though that person did nothing wrong ?

    • If you just randomly make a bib with that #, the other runner is not the source of that bib. If they post it on social media or intentionally allow it to be copied, then they are the source.

      • The question then is whether they only disqualify the original bib owner *if* they know that the person posted a picture?

        Say I don’t post my bib, but someone with a bib # near mine posts theirs. I’m 5550, they are 5500. The cheater takes their photo of 5500, swaps out a 0 for a 5, and now they’re running in my 5550 bib.

        Do I get DQed, period? Or does someone at BAA take the time to pour over my social media accounts first to determine if I violated the rule before they DQ me? How do they know I didn’t post it and remove it later? Or post it somewhere they don’t know about?

        Honest question, do you know the process?

        • No way would you be DQ’d. I think they have that broad language so that they are covered in every case. When I wrote about the Reebok bib copying scandal, one runner had his bib copied, but was allowed to run this year. It seemed like he was an unknowing victim.

          Plus in your example, you didn’t post your bib.

  3. Derek, just reading this article and thought back to my actions over the past couple of weeks…I posted my “acceptance” envelope on social media that unfortunately also has my bib number just above my name and address… Is this against rules too? It’s not a photo of my bib, but it does have my bib number.

Comments are closed.