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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Great Eastern Women's Run 2013 - the men have it too!

This year at the Great Eastern Women's Race, I saw a fair number of guys running alongside their wife or girl friends or partners. Later on on Facebook, some ladies was visibly angry at these guys for gatecrashing their party. But I think the guys who ran the GE run obviously don't see it that way. 

These guys who were running are what is known in races as bandit runners. That is, runners who do not register for a race but still run in it. In the West, this is a big no no. But what is the big fuss? Those who bandited will argue? After all, they do not take the drinks, the gels, the banana and there are so few of them they are not likely to cause any obstructions. And beside, most will know enough to run to the side and not cross the finish line. So their argument will be that nobody has suffered an disadvantage because of them. And of course the line that everybody use. It is a public place and everybody can run in these place.

Not true. The other camp will argue. Most bandit runners will still take the drinks. And if everybody think like them and many more turn up, they will be an obstruction. And beside, what if they collapse during the run. The race people will still have to divert resources to them notwithstanding that they are not registered. And it is unfair to those who paid to run......

And so the arguments goes on. I am actually surprised that the GE organiser do not have bandit catchers. I saw the bandit catchers first hand at the previous years' Shape Run and Nike Run and I was pretty impressed at the power of the security although I didn't think they could outrun the bandits:) Maybe next time round I can volunteer to be a bandit catcher. Anybody want to join me?

But seriously, while I think the bandit runners are not correct to run without registering in the race, I think the guys in the GE Race had good reason to do so and that is to support their loved ones. I can understand why they do it since I am always running side by side with the sidekick although I have never bandit a race with her before. My support if they can be counted on as support is to drive her there, take her photo and drive her home. And beside, if I run with her, I will in most cases end up as the pacee and she the pacer.

But back to the bandit pacer. I think there is good reasons for races to have this category. The Malaysia Women Marathon this year had this. The Craze Ultra had this and many oversea Women races actually allows men registration. So if the problem can't be resolved, maybe next year GE, Shape and even the Venus Run might want to create a new category for male pacers. Charge them a fee to run but no freebees except whatever is given to the ladies and no prizes. Then the bandit pacers will have no excuses to be bandit and the organiser - they might as well make a buck from it. After all, if you can't beat em - might as well let them come it and have it too! 

1 comment:

  1. no a bad suggestion abt having 'legal' bandit pacers ... but i think most important is that a paying-to-run bandit pacer MUST sign up to be one by a REGISTERING RUNNER AT THE POINT OF REGISTRATION ! ie the runner vouches for and signs up for the bandit.
    Advantages :
    accountability. so that organizers know who is responsible for the bandit. as such, perhaps the bandit's bib is an extension of the runner's one eg Runner's bib : 12345 ... Bandit's : P12345P (P denotes Pacer).
    this tag-on signing up process should also eliminate any creeps (loners) who wanna run alongside the women in a women's only race.

    lastly, bandit's bib does not have a timing chip ... and hence will not be officially clocked. this will prevent bandits from joining the event on a pretext as bandits but with the actual intention of racing against the registered runners.