If you are running the NYC Marathon or are a member of NYRR you’ve already heard about the new policy announced today — there will be no bag check at the marathon.
This will also probably be the zillionth blog post about this new policy. It just sucks. The reason behind this was to ease congestion at the finish my guess during the time when the majority of runners finish, have to walk a mile, and somewhere in there get their bags. I can understand that problem and I even empathize with that. But from what I have read on the NYRR Facebook page and Twitter feed, people still want to be able to have dry clothes to change into.
Some people have been complaining that they won’t be able to bring stuff to the start. That’s not true you will be given a bag to bring stuff to the start but you won’t be able to check it. This is fine for me. I usually bring food and “throw away” clothes that I discard at the start anyway. But…
By the time I finish the marathon it will be nearing dusk in November. I will have been on the course for over five hours. I want some dry clothes or at least some sweat pants and a change of shoes. Just last week I was starting to think about what to bring in my bag and how I could make it lighter. Instead we will be given “water-repellent, hooded, and fleece-lined Marathon Finish Line Poncho.” Ponchos don’t cover bare legs if you’re over four feet tall. With my luck they will be orange and I’ll look like a giant traffic cone.
NYRR suggests that you have friends or family meet you at the finish family reunion area with anything that you may need post-race. Great if you have friends and family waiting, many of us don’t. We also don’t live near the finish and won’t be staying in nearby hotels.
If you’ve been following the discussion you’ve seen these arguments already and while we know congestion can be a problem at finish it’s hard to suggest solutions to this that don’t impact other things. Moving baggage trucks outside of the park won’t reduce the amount of walking you have to do or be less crowded on a side street. Move the finish line? But where? This is New York City, we don’t have that much space.
While I love running in this marathon, this very well maybe my last NYC Marathon. For the amount of money we are being charged, being denied a basic race necessity seems the wrong way to go. We do get a lot of swag for this fee so I don’t particularly mind the price when I know if I travel out of town I’ll end up paying more travel and lodging. But even some of us who are forgiving have a limit and this baggage thing is mine.
Right now I’m looking at Chicago, Marine Corps, Richmond, or Philadelphia. A lot will depend on my business travel around that time of year. Now, if NYRR changes this policy I might reconsider. But right now, this will be my last NYC Marathon.