Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Unregistered Bib Swapping

Full disclosure time...

There was a time I would park in accessible parking zones. I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would drink and drive.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would bandit courses.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.

There was a time I would swap bibs without registering the swap with the race director.  I stopped when I learned it was wrong.  

There was a time I did lots of crazy stuff but I stopped when I learned it was wrong, illegal, unethical, or just plain stupid.  

I'm here to tell you UNREGISTERED BIB SWAPPING is wrong plain and simple. It's akin to banditing a course only considerably worse because the unregistered runner calls the integrity of the race into question.  

Unregistered bib swapping is wrong for many reasons. Aside from being unethical the following is a thumbnail sketch of the issues at hand:
  • Men are running as women thus raising the competitive bar unfairly for female runners.
  • Experienced runners are running as 15 year old children thus robbing younger runners of their glory and setting impossible records for teens and tweens.
  • Unregistered runners requiring urgent medical care may not receive timely medical intervention because their bib number is associated with another person.
  • Race directors assume liability for unregistered runners even though the runner has not signed a waiver.  
I attended a meeting last evening organized by Manitoba Runners Association Executive Director, Kathy Wiens. I will not disclose our conversation but I can say it included the following three points:

1. Data collection.
2. Education
3. Punitive Measures

Manitoba Runners Association will issue a 'statement of concern' on February 5, 2018. The statement will be sent to all Manitoba race directors under MRA's governance. Clearly, we expect an educational social media blitz will solve 90% of the problem. The remaining 10% may require further investigation and possibly, punitive action.

Suffice to say, unregistered bib swapping is unethical, causes significant liability concerns, puts the charities they support at risk, and call the integrity of the race into question. Unregistered bib swapping is akin to banditing and broaches on cheating.

Now that you know unregistered bib swapping is wrong, please stop.

Spread the word.

More to come later.

As always, it's a good day to be alive.