Bib Swappers Claim Top Finishes in Baltimore

Bib Swappers Affected The Top Finishers in at Least Two Races


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The Baltimore Running Festival took place on October 9th. There was Marathon, a Half Marathon, a 10k and a 5k.

Shortly after the race, a Facebook post was brought to my attention. The post approved in the Eldersburg Road Runners Group.

After learning of this, I joined the group, and a day later I was accepted. I noted that all comments in this group were positive. Not one response questioned either running with someone else’s bib or claiming the age group award.

When asked if anyone saw the problem, the response by the runner was that she was in the same age group as the bib owner and would’ve won anyway.

Shortly after I posted, the runner made two edits to the post. One edit referenced that she was in the same age group, and the second edit a few minutes later removed the line about the age group award altogether.

Within minutes of notifying the timer about the infraction, the runner was disqualified.

I also learned that the runner below was initially the 2nd place female in the 10k. This runner was detected during review of the race video and disqualified.

10 female 2nd place

Get Your Own Bib or Don’t Run

After many years of investigating results and catching bib mules, course cutters and the like, I am still surprised by the selfish behaviors and attitudes of those that cheat, steal, or run with someone else’s bib and claim an award as their own.

I try to give the benefit of the doubt that the initial swap was just an uninformed and careless decision. But when you go onto social media to brag about an age group award (and then edit the post to hide the fact) that wasn’t rightfully yours, it goes to a different level. Sure, in this case, this runner was in the same age group, but she was not a registered participant, and therefore not eligible for a finish time let alone a top age group finish. This behavior is a slap in the face to the real winners

The legitimate Top Half Marathon 40-44 Female Finishers
The legitimate Top 10k Female Finishers

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  1. I dunno. This doesn’t seem that bad to me. I don’t see who was harmed. First time I think I’ve disagreed with you on a case.

  2. Woohoo! Now I have moved up one in my age group! LOL Not to place, mind you. But I had a miserable race so I will take what I can get.

  3. If the two are in the same age group, I don’t see the problem. This is a victimless crime.

    I am all for catching course cutters, and also people who use someone else’s bib and place in a gender or age category they’re not entitled to.

    Using someone else’s bib who’s the same age and gender? Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    • Jennifer, if the substitute can guarantee that she will run at the exact pace of the original registrant, and finish with the exact time, then perhaps swapping can be met with a nod and a wink. However, it’s possible that the substitute will take an Age Group place, and bump a legit participant off the podium, denying the genuine sense of accomplishment for finishing “Top 3 or 2 or First” in Age Group. Regardless of the massaging, swapping is cheating: it’s presenting someone else’s ID as one’s own.

    • Isn’t this like taking a test for someone? “We are in the same grade” isn’t an excuse there. Not any different here.

  4. Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say this one isn’t really a big deal. If you’re still competing in your same category, there’s no ethical issue with swapping a bib (From a competition standpoint.)

    There are still issues with safety, and I can see why an RD wouldn’t want it to happen, but the people se beat were not cheated out of a medal at all.

  5. Dear Derek, Is there news about the married couple who wore the same bib number in the London Marathon? Have their medals been revoked? Lifetime bans issued? Thanks.

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