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New York Road Runners agree to do a U-Turn - sort of!

by Editor
Wednesday 12th September 2012

Tim Heming follows up on his article (HERE) about the NYRR's decision not to offer a drop bag service at the 2012 ING New York Marathon in the light of change

After much gnashing of teeth and slashing of singlets, New York Road Runners has reversed its decision not to offer a baggage collection service at this year’s ING New York City marathon.

Bravo Mary Wittenberg, who heads up these things, the nation that champions its free speech has listened to the voice of the Facebook masses and agreed to do a U-Turn. Sort of.

Most 2012 marathoners will be glad the ‘go there, do that, get the t-shirt’ contract they originally signed up to has been put back in place. Except it hasn’t, quite.

You can still go there and do that, but if you choose to check in a bag prior to the start you won’t get the t-shirt at the end... or the fleecy poncho come to that.

And when you start reading the finer details of NYRR revamped arrangements it quickly becomes apparent that they have backtracked grudgingly, with an overriding sense the T’s & C’s will be tightened to extinct the bag-checking dinosaurs by 2013.

Here are the ways the official website explains your choices

  • New No-Baggage "Early Exit" option: If you choose this option, you'll be guaranteed the earliest exit from Central Park. After you finish, you'll receive a Marathon Finish Line Poncho and a long-sleeve limited-edition T-shirt, and have fastest access to the Family Reunion area, "Call Home" stations, and public transportation.
  • Baggage option: If you choose this option, you'll check baggage in the Start Village and pick up your bag as you leave Central Park at exits farther up on West Drive. Please note that we still anticipate congestion, and it could take up to an hour to retrieve your bag and exit the park. The bag will be smaller than in years past (although large enough to hold shoes, warm clothing, and small personal items).

It’s clear what they want you to opt for. The other point of note is that all decisions must be made, irreversibly, by September 19 - a window of just over one week.

All runners should now have had an email providing instructions on how to make the choice through the website, although social media seems to suggest that a few have gone astray.

The argument against checking bags is the congestion that it will cause with runners queuing at the end.

But even if the athletes filter through the finish chute more swiftly without collecting their clobber, numerous friends and family will still have to travel to that area with a warm clothing change. Whether congestion really will be eased remains to be seen.

What is certain is that there will be fewer expensive baggage trucks to fork out for and, moving forward, more people will be able to toe the start line if they can be cleared out faster at the end.

It’s not about the greenbacks, NYRR insist. Time will tell on this one.


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