I saw this blog post this morning from Lani Tashima who is a writer for MousePlanet and I couldn’t agree with her more. Now, I am nowhere near a level where I would ever have to be concerned with being cheated out of an age group win – but as someone who diligently pays for her races and trains for them, those that do not really rub me the wrong way. I know the first race I ever ran, when I went onto Marathofoto to look at my pics I realized someone else also had my bib number. Now, how they got it I have NO clue unless they just guessed, but it was still an annoyance.
We all know cheating, in any environment, is a bad thing. We’re (hopefully) taught it at an early age. When you cheat on a race, regardless whether it’s a small local event or a large production like the runDisney races, you are hurting not only everyone that pays to run that race, but everyone that helped to ensure that the race was something that could even exist AND you make future races all the more difficult to participate in, which is really counterproductive.
Now, I wish I could say I get it because, particularly in the case of runDisney races, they are expensive. A 5k is generally going to run you about $65 – $75 and the challenges are usually a couple of hundred dollars and that’s before you factor in hotel stay, transportation, etc. Local 5k’s in my area, by comparison are usually $25 -$40 with little to no transportation and obviously no need to lodging to factor in. But runDisney races are expensive in part because they do provide finisher medals for all and (usually) those medals are solid quality items that simply because they are Disneyana can become collectors items. This is in addition to the event shirt that is provided with registration, AMPLE amounts of post race refreshments (which cheese dip that is not purchasable anywhere else and is apparently to die for) and race specific merchandise that is available for an additional charge that has to be designed, created and stocked. Beyond that though there is the traditional Disney spin on things; on route entertainment, plenty of water/rest stations, medical staff on site and on the routes themselves (not all races provide this!) plus opportunities that are intrinsically Disney with character meet-and-greets before, during and after the races and a tremendous amount of organization for not only the races themselves, but logistically pre, during and post race. Even the Expos that they provide are generally larger events unto themselves and chocked full of vendors and training and information.
But here’s the thing, just like anything else that someone loves to do, they are going to be alright spending money on that thing. For some it’s crafts, others it’s dolls, for some it’s even Christmas decorations. For some of us, we ENJOY the races, even when we despise the training, and there for we plan and save and decide which ones we want to do and invest not only in the race, but in our own motivation, determination and enjoyment of the experience.
When someone cheats – either transfers/sells/buys a bib when that is not allowed, or has a sub racer run for them, or outright just copies a bib from one posted online – they are hurting everyone. They might feel that they are sticking it to Disney, or the race promoter or whomever. They might feel that they are getting away with something taboo. They might just be an ass who simply doesn’t care. But they forget that they are hurting the people who want to invest in this sport and themselves. They are hurting the person who decided to start running in order to improve themselves, their health, loose weight, help out an existing medical condition, or otherwise celebrate something that they have overcome. They hurt the kids that have goals and dreams to accomplish something. Because if they continue to do this, then the races get more and more expensive, there is less and less provided and those that normally could have participated have to opt out.
Basically, if you cheat when it comes to running, then I have no sympathy for you and truly feel you suck. I worked hard to meet the goals I’ve met so far and to work towards the ones I have set for myself and I will not allow others to ruin the opportunity for me , or anyone else who is TRULY working and investing in themselves, to accomplish them. This is the feeling when you know you’ve worked for it, tackled it and overcame it. This is what you are actually robbing people of and that, my friends, is just despicable.