Gatta La Bandito

“The illegal practice that is becoming all too popular at some of the biggest races.” -Local News Anchor

They’re calling bandits cheaters on the news today. Uggh. Come on! I’ve done this 4 times in my 10 years of running and paid for more races than I care to think of (including the $300.00 fee for the 1/2 IM). I guess you can also count the few times I’ve jumped in the small, local 5K to support my dad. Every time has been to comfort, hydrate, joke with, sing to and generally support a friend. In the process, I’ve given strangers my gloves and ear warmer, water, my Cliff Blocks and, in the case of Chicago, I helped pass out beer. I always cheer for people and never consider myself a marathoner, even when I’ve covered over 21 miles supporting my fantastic mom who walked a marathon! I guess the news did get something right. You do get caught up in the marathon spirit! I want to pace everyone, learn everyone’s running story and help get everyone through their race.

The local news showed video of bandits with some lame commentary. Most of the “cheaters” are blatantly waiting on friends, but the video cuts off when they meet up with them. They are saying these people jump in with “only 7 miles to go” to “get the medal”, to “get the glory”. Are you kidding me? If they are cheating anyone, they are cheating themselves. Here’s news for the news casters: THEY DON’T GIVE YOU A MEDAL OR LET YOU IN THE RACE TENT WITHOUT A RACE-SPECIFIC BIB! In fact, they kick most bandits out 2 miles before the finish. Period. There’s no discussion and the race police are very efficient at their jobs. Of course, these local police wouldn’t be news worthy, right, without a catchy name. Yep…Bandit Busters. I’ve came into contact with Bandit Busters at Boston and Chicago. I was not at all shocked. They were very polite. And I left the course. Plain and simple, but thanks for the drama local news. When my mom walked her marathon in 7:03, not only did they let me hang out at the virtually empty finish line, but they actually put her medal in my bandity hand and let me put it around her neck. For me, and probably most of those bandits out there supporting friends, you could never be as proud of yourself as you are when someone you love crosses that finish line. I choke up just thinking about it. So, call us cheaters and glory hogs, I’ll still be out there supporting my friends and family while they’re completing something that only 0.1% of the population will. I learned that most races have Bandit Busters, OKC doesn’t, which I may or may not have already known 😉

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