Wait 'til Your Mother Hears About This
Transferring bibs has become a pretty standard, albeit rule-breaking, procedure in big New York Road Runners races. Check out craigslist and other message boards and you'll see bibs for sale; and there's no doubt that friend-to-friend transfers take place on a regular basis. Generally, my attitude is that it's NYRR's problem rather than mine. I'm fairly confident that Mary Wittenberg isn't carefully perusing my accounting records to make sure that no one's ripping me off, so why should I worry about her business? But when the transfer impacts one of our athletes (as was the case in the Brooklyn Half in 2012), it's time for me to spring into action. At Sunday's NYC Half, City Coach's own Lottie Bildirici apparently finished 5th in the 19 and under age group. Not too shabby in a race of this size. Upon quickly glancing at some of the runners who beat Lottie, a couple of things jumped off the page. First, one young lady ran nearly an hour faster than she did last year. I guess for a runner so young, a huge improvement like that isn't totally implausible, right? Except her photo from the race looks nothing like photos from her fundraising page, leading me to believe that perhaps someone else ran using her bib.
Under normal circumstances if I caught a minor breaking the rules I'd go and tell her mother. After all, isn't it a parent's job to teach her child about morality, and the importance of rules? Just one problem. Mom also got nearly an hour faster and looks markedly different than last year. Oh well, like mother like daughter.
Anywho, at the very least I figured that once this young lady's result was removed from the official record, everyone behind her would move up and they'd all live happily ever after, right? Not so fast. One of the runners who would have moved up to the podium appears to have been running on a borrowed bib.
Hopefully NYRR will look into this and determine if the runners were in fact legit. Until they sort it out, no names here (or in the comments please). If NYRR takes a look and finds that the results weren't legit, Lottie will be collecting a shiny new 3rd place award for her efforts. Stay tuned.
Several people have asked if we provide info about cheaters to New York Road Runners (NYRR). Generally speaking we do not. As far as I'm concerned, it's their job to keep their race results accurate and clean - not mine. Some organizations like NYRR will typically act on it when bogus results are brought to their attention. And as we saw with the Philadelphia Marathon, other organizations don't care to DQ even the most obvious cheats. That's their prerogative. In cases where one of our athletes is directly impacted by the behavior, we take a more proactive stance, and I will be bringing this to NYRR's attention. But even though there are other highly questionable results from Sunday's race listed, I won't be compiling the list for NYRR, though I hope that they clean things up.