By now, you’ve probably heard about the four jerkfaces who “bandited” the Boston Marathon on Monday, printing replica bib numbers to sneak into the world’s most prestigious race. It turns out, they were trying to raise money for a friend’s charity. I’m sure it’s a really worthy cause, but in this case, the ends do not justify the means.
I’ve got a problem with banditing in general, but banditing at Boston? A race people train their whole lives to qualify for? And one year after the terrible tragedy there? Yep, still jerkfaces.
I know banditing is a “tradition” — the Boston Athletic Association even acknowledges that people do it every year — but when it comes down to it, they are thieves. They did not pay for entry. They used aid stations on the course. They received finisher medals. Yes, I agree, some race fees have gotten a little out of hand ($185 for the Chicago Marathon this year, for example), but that’s part of the game. You pay to play. And if you don’t pay, well, too bad.
Also, just because something happens all the time, that does not make it right. I can think of plenty of other “traditions” in our culture that are far from virtuous.
I know people who have bandited races, from neighborhood 5Ks and to the ginormous Shamrock Shuffle 8K, and I shake my head at all of them. You’re not sticking it to the man. You’re not a badass. You’re not a revolutionary. You’re a thief.
Oh, and you’re a jerkface, too. — Mags