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Banditting a Race

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Banditting a Race

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:32 am

Just wanted to stop by and ask everyone's opinions on the ethics of running a race as a bandit under the assumption that you are not taking any aid station / post race resources or going through the finishing shute.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  T Miller on Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:47 am

Hey Neil, we just had a discussion on this topic that can be found
here.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Dave-O on Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:16 am

I think its stealing in the same way that sneaking onto a golf course or into a concert is stealing.

That being said, I admit to having done it once. I regret it, but I also am not going to act high and mighty and condemn anyone else that makes that decision. Just understand that it does harm the races and the other participants, and if every person adopted the "one more runner won't harm anything" our sport would fall apart.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Admin on Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:53 am

Here's the crux of the matter... if you choose to bandit a marathon, you are taking SOMETHING from the race; otherwise, you would just do a long training run. So, what is it that you are taking? People to run with? Spectators cheering? What? Whatever it is, everyone else paid for it and you didn't. You are taking some benefit from the race for free.

There are a lot of ways to rationalize it in your mind... but the simple fact is that the event is private and subject to registration fees for participation. To participate without registering is stealing. The movie/concert analogy is a good one. People sneak into movie theaters and watch for free. People sneak into concerts. People bandit marathons. Pretty much all the same basic thing.

It's not a life or death issue, but on a personal level it is a clear indication of one's moral compass. To me, it demonstrates how willing one is to compromise integrity for personal wants. That said, I'm not claiming any moral superiority here... I've had my share of compromises, just not in this particular area.

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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Ben, I know you probably know that I ran Boston as a bandit 4 times back in the early 1980s when I was a college student. It was and may still be the thing to do. Of course, back then, there were no real water stops, no gels, etc., etc.

Would I do it today - no. I have jumped in a run a few miles with friends at various races (Detroit, Cleveland), but I actually entered the race - just didn't start with the crowd and waited for them. I have also run the half portion of a race (as a paid entrant) and then gone back and run more miles after I finished. I have also entered races (like NY may become) and only run a portion before a planned drop out. I always feel like if I paid for it, then I can take advantage of it.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Julie on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:07 pm

I wouldn't do it for reasons already mentioned. For people who might mention pacing a friend, I have a friend who entered the Lincoln Marathon and paced me. We both paid our entries and both ran it he just ran my goal pace with me. If you want to get in on the excitement of a race without entering then consider volunteering. Not kidding, it's fun and part of the event to be handing out water or clipping chips off (I did that once, but I don't think many races use reusable chips anymore) or whatever else needs to be done. We all know races take a ton of volunteer efforts. Then go run whatever route you want with your friends some other time for free with your water bottle.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  JohnP on Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:00 pm

@Dave-O wrote:I think its stealing in the same way that sneaking onto a golf course or into a concert is stealing.

@Mr MattM wrote:Here's the crux of the matter... if you choose to bandit a marathon, you are taking SOMETHING from the race; otherwise, you would just do a long training run. So, what is it that you are taking? People to run with? Spectators cheering? What? Whatever it is, everyone else paid for it and you didn't. You are taking some benefit from the race for free.

First, I am not advocating banditing nor have I ever done it. But I see this hardline position as not consistent. Playing golf causes damage to the ground that needs landscaping to fix. Sneaking into a concert takes a seat from someone who would have paid. Those are taking something and causing a company to pay money. Running in a race without using any course amenities does not cost the race additional expense. The "SOMETHING" that is taken in a race is simply good will, no tangible cost. It's like standing outside a park that is roped off for a concert and seeing/hearing what you can from there, or watching the Cubs game from a close by apartment you live in.

Here's some other things that many people commonly do, how are they any different:

- Grabbing a handful of Starbucks or McDonald's napkins to keep in the car rather then just the few you need for the meal you purchased

- Bring a bottle of water, or a candy bar (some people even bring their own popcorn) to a movie where it's clearly posted that no outside food or drinks are allowed

- Use a copyrighted photo (sorry but this takes revenue from the photo taking companies)

- Print anything personal on a work printer which costs businesses profits

- Record someone else's CDs (this may be dated but many, many, many people did this and used Napster) which took money from the artists

Is there actually a law that can place you in jail for being on the course without registration? Last year, Scott joined me at the 20 mile marker of Philly and ran six miles with me without taking any things at the water stops. I would do this for someone if ever I could. So that means we would be counted worthy of thievery? Since intentions don't count in breaking of a law (e.g., stealing food because you are starving), it would seem yes based on the logic presented.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:49 pm

@JohnP wrote:
Here's some other things that many people commonly do, how are they any different:

- Grabbing a handful of Starbucks or McDonald's napkins to keep in the car rather then just the few you need for the meal you purchased

- Bring a bottle of water, or a candy bar (some people even bring their own popcorn) to a movie where it's clearly posted that no outside food or drinks are allowed

- Use a copyrighted photo (sorry but this takes revenue from the photo taking companies)

- Print anything personal on a work printer which costs businesses profits

- Record someone else's CDs (this may be dated but many, many, many people did this and used Napster) which took money from the artists

Is there actually a law that can place you in jail for being on the course without registration? Last year, Scott joined me at the 20 mile marker of Philly and ran six miles with me without taking any things at the water stops. I would do this for someone if ever I could. So that means we would be counted worthy of thievery? Since intentions don't count in breaking of a law (e.g., stealing food because you are starving), it would seem yes based on the logic presented.

I'll bite, just for fun. (Remember, I don't think banditting is a problem, nor am I angry if others bandit races I'm in.)

Napkins: "the meal you PURCHASED." You paid something. That's like stashing a few extra GUs if you're coherent enough to grab and keep them at a race. I did that at my girlfriend's half marathon. But I don't think it's the same as banditting a whole race.

Bringing in outside food: I don't know how this comparison holds up, but it seems somewhat better. I still think your "standing outside a roped off area" one is best, but I'll just say this about outside food/drinks... That's the theater's ENTIRE revenue. They make literally a penny or two on tickets.

Photos: I can see how this is similar. Someone took an image of something anyone could see = someone made a course out of roads anyone could use. No comment on this one.

Printer: Can't comment, never been in the situation.

CDs: This I feel is pretty similar in that you're ultimately stealing from the artist, because the middle man won't absorb the costs. The same is true with marathons and, as discussed in the other thread, "shoplifting" (I still don't think that's shoplifting, but to each their own). The middle man will not absorb the cost. But with marathons, I don't think the middle man is making much, anyway, other than publicity.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  dot520 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:22 pm

I'm in as a spokesperson for the middle packers that are usually in the most crowded part of the race. Having more people on the course than it was designed for takes away from those who now have to bump elbows or go around the additional folks. The Houston marathon that I did (I did the half, but we ran part way with the marathoners) was way too crowded. That particular year many of the marathoners had dropped down to the half making it more crowded than anticipated by the race directors for the remainder of the course. That particular year they allowed thousands more to sign up as well and I found it way to crowded in the middle of the pack for the width of the roads and got taken out by a runner dodging around others in mile 10.

You may not be taking something tangible, but you are 'possibly' making the course experience for the remainder of the folks more difficult. Just saying. One person won't make a huge difference, but how many one persons are out there thinking the same thing. I don't think it's a matter of is it right or wrong...it's just not good form.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Jerry on Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:24 pm

@JohnP wrote:

- Print anything personal on a work printer which costs businesses profits


John, don't be on the evil employer's side. lol!



I am in a place with email, youtube etc blocked. I will be out of here as soon as I can. Just for the record, I came in 3 weeks and already fixed issues hanging there for months. Keep your profit, employer.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Admin on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:08 pm

It is what it is. I don't expect to change anyone's mind. To me, it's inappropriate and those who do it have a different set of ethics. Again, it's not like it's a life and death issue.

Of the 2 options; bandit, or don't bandit... one of them cannot possibly be wrong; the other can be endlessly debated. I choose the option that I know cannot be wrong. What I find interesting are the number of runners who ask the question 'is it wrong to bandit?'... if you have to ask, what's that tellin' ya?

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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Kenny B. on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:35 pm

If it works for you then do it! But understand the consequences to yourself and others.
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Re: Banditting a Race

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:40 am

Funny that we were having this discussion. I just read a blog on the "Woman's Running" forum on FB because it was written by a woman that had been motivated to lose weight, etc. and took up running. They asked her what her favorite race was and why - she said her run at Boston last year - and the why - because she was dying at mile 21 and her husband jumped in and ran until mile 25 with her. See banditting is not as frowned upon as some may think.
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