Last week Kelly Roberts ran a New York half marathon and quickly became known as the runner who took selfies with hot guys. Inspired by the silliness, a Georgia woman decided she would do the same thing, only, oopsie, she snuck into the marathon and then bragged about it. A collective, “oh no she di’unt” was heard throughout the running community.
Selfie shenanigans may be tolerated but “banditing” will not.
The Georgia Race Bandit snapped this pic at the beginning and titled it, “The ‘Waiting to Start the Race in a Corral You Snuck Into Because You Don’t Have a Bib Number’ Selfie.”
Beware the Bandits
In runner’s lingo, a “bandit” is someone who participates in a race without paying the entry fee. Some latitude will be given to those who jump in for a few minutes of jogging encouragement, but make no mistake, they’re still being watched. Spend too much time on the course and daggers will start shooting from the eyes of legit bib-wearing runners.
Frankly, I was surprised by the backlash. I figured people would write the Georgia Bandit off as a copycat trying to mimic a fun idea that had already been done. Since I’m a mediocre jogger, not a runner, I didn’t realize that within this fit band of brothers and sisters their lies a code. Thou shalt not bandit a race and bogart the swag. I’m paraphrasing, of course.
Runners Speak Out
Our resident marathon rock star, Lacy Hansen, was not amused. “When you pay for a race, you’re paying for the services of medical assistance, police, food, water and first aid,” she said. “If you cross a finish line, take a medal, shirt, whatever – that’s stealing. Those who paid, earned those things. They committed to the event and played by the rules.”
Race fees can be steep, sometimes over $100 in some states, but runners who feel the pull will find a way to scrape up the cash. Angela VanBuskirk (pictured below) borrowed money so she could run her first race four years ago. “I needed to prove to myself that I could do it,” she explained. “It was my first half marathon. It seemed like an absolute impossibility. I wanted to prove to myself, I AM a runner.”
The proof is in the Bass Pro medal!
After all the backlash, you might think the Georgia Race Bandit would say “I’m sorry” and blend into the scenery for awhile, or offer to volunteer at a selfie station at the next race. You would be wrong. On her website, she is responding to the criticism by thanking haters for all her new page views and reminding people she tried up until the night before to get a race number. She tried, you guys!
Veteran 5k fan Greta Funk suggests maybe next time, instead of stopping to make fun of the security that was hired to protect her, or blocking the guy running shoulder-to-shoulder with her while claiming “arm rape,” she should take her comedy into the crowd and snap selfies from the sidelines instead.
Race selfie photo via witty and pretty