“Where’s Your Bib?” – Dozens of Bandits Pulled From Miami Turkey Trot

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Frankie Ruiz is the South Florida’s Chief Running Officer South for Life Time Fitness. He is also the co-creator and Race Director for The Miami Marathon. He is very active in the Miami community and is a state champion cross country coach at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. He also does not tolerate bandits at his races.

In this video, you see a number of bib-less runners being directed off of the course by Frankie at yesterdays Miami Turkey Trot. Some go quietly, some don’t.

“It fell off bro, it fell off”

It is clear that most of these runners are just completely clueless and oblivious. One bib-less runner after being caught by Frankie asked if she could finish. Frankie simply replied “No”.

Other runners claimed that their bibs “fell off”

When runners would claim they lost their bib, Frankie would ask when and where they picked up their bibs. Of course they did not have answers.

At one point in the video, Frankie turned the camera on himself and noted that he was one of the last officials on the course. They had 8 people on the course pulling off runners. The runners that Frankie had identified made it past other officials before being caught.

There was an entire family escorted off the course to which one member replied, “That’s negative”, Frankie agreed , “Yes, very negative”

One particularly committed runner convinced Frankie that she needed to wait for her father. Frankie finally allowed her to wait at the edge of the course. When Frankie was distracted with a more important matter, the runner apparently took off towards the finish.

Its just a sad state…of Thanksgiving..when people do this, no respect to those people that do things right.

Frankie Ruiz – Life Time Fitness

Banditing is always wrong. To bandit a turkey trot that supports the local community and local charities on Thanksgiving is especially abhorrent. In the approximately 20 minute video, there were about 30 runners pulled off the course by Frankie. This represents a fraction of the total bandits that stole thousands in race fees meant to support the race and the community.

Last year, Frankie appeared on The Marathon Investigation Podcast, where we talked about banditing and much more.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Frankie did a great job. I’m actually surprised how few of the bandits didn’t just try to run past him or argue. If every race director had a couple of reliable people to do this 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the finish, it would do a lot to deter future potential bandits.

  2. In the video I kept hearing a lady yelling 300m to go quite a few times. I’m not sure if that’s to the finish or to an aid station maybe?

  3. Excellent local race with a great after race expo. Tons of goodies to sample, entertainment for the kids, races for the kids etc. it is indeed sad that people chose to cheat and not pay their entry. Frankie does a great job putting this event on.

  4. They should pull them off course 50 ft from the line. Or let them finish and funnel them down a “lane of shame” with a cash register at the end of it.

  5. How should a runner deal with bandits during a race?
    During the last Rock and Roll I did there was someone who was an obvious bandit (no bib, carrying a string backpack). Should I try to alert a race official? And where are the race officials stationed? At the water stations? Are they wearing some kind of identifying clothing?

    • Some races allow bandits – Boston did for years.
      And if it is on a public road, then that can add an extra challenge.
      If the person isn’t using aid station resources or planning on crossing the finish line, then I have no issue.
      Some people just can’t afford race entry fees, so they will run beside a race to see how they compare to others.

  6. It’s public streets if they want to run and time themselves how do these organizers feel like they can prevent someone from running on public roads? Now they shouldn’t take a finisher medal or food etc but try and rake me off a public road and see what happens.

  7. This gets interesting, from a legal standpoint. There is the Fourth Amendment where we are all free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, the police need reasonable suspicion to detain someone, probable cause to arrest, beyond reasonable doubt to convict. There is certainly reasonable suspicion, as defined by case law, in the case of a runner with no bib. Reasonable Suspicion generally defined as “a crime MAY have occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur, and the person detained MAY be involved.” Generally there must be some articulable fact or observation to justify the MAY. In this case, not having a bib on a person clearly running the course of a sanctioned race is enough for a reasonable person to believe that a crime is occurring.

    Here’s the rub(s): Banditing (is that even a verb?) is not a crime. The other big rub here is that a race official is not the police. The Fourth Amendment (as are ALL Amendments, including freedom of speech and right to bear arms) is in place to protect us from government intrusion, not a private citizen who is officiating a race. Were the race official acting in their role as a government employee, or directed to do so by a government employee (agent), then the 4th would come into play here.

    Unless one signs a waiver agreeing to be detained (like when you join Costco and they stop you at the door to check your receipt), the race official is likely illegally detaining someone. When a private person and NOT a government official or agent does this, it is usually called false imprisonment (even if not forcing someone to move or into harms way like kidnapping, preventing free movement is the key to the lesser included offense of false imprisonment).

    Anyhow, I think a race official is safe to wave and direct people off the course he/she suspects of banditing, but they cannot physically prevent them from continuing. However, if a bandit takes food or a medal, you might start looking at a very weak, and likely non-fileable charge of petty theft.

    ** Caveat: I am not a lawyer. Always take any legal questions you might have to a licensed and qualified attorney.

    • By the way, we did not even scratch the surface of whether or not the road had been temporarily closed to the public due to a permit issued for the race, which would add another facet to this discussion.

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