Buying Running Bibs Is Wrong. Period.

Buying running bibs is just plain wrong. There really shouldn’t be a discussion, yet I recently found myself explaining why this is a bad practice all around.

Buying running bibs is wrong. Register early instead.
Everyone one of these bibs is under my name.

First, if you’re selling running bibs, and you get caught, you’re going to get banned from that race. Different race committees have different rules, but don’t expect to be able to register for at least a couple years. (And if you’re buying running bibs, you may also get banned.)

Also, if you’re making any kind of profit off selling running bibs, that’s wrong on so many levels. Yes, it may be a popular race, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to register early and then sell your bib.

Second, if you’re buying running bibs? I don’t care if it’s a sold out race. That’s why you register early. What you’re actually doing is:

Buying Running Bibs Is Cheating.

That’s right, you’re cheating. You may be as fast as a turtle running through molasses, but you are running under someone else’s name. You may be faster than the person you bought the bib from, and you’re giving that person a better time than she otherwise would have obtained. And, hey, you’re cheating yourself, because what if you run a BQ for the first time? You don’t get to use that BQ.

You’re also cheating the people that didn’t get a chance to register for the race. They played by the rules. They missed the cutoff, or didn’t register soon enough, and they said, “Oh, well. Maybe next year.” You missed the cutoff, or you didn’t register soon enough, and you said, “Forget the rules; they don’t apply to me.”

And that brings me to the last prong of my rant: while running is a sport of solitude, it is also a sport of rules, especially in races. I keep hearing, “Well, it’s not like I’m Meb, so I’m not hurting anyone! I’m just having a good time racing!” The rules are there for a reason. Imagine if you get hurt, and the organizers try to get help for you based on someone else’s registration information. Imagine if you get a qualifying time for a person who shuffles a 15-minute mile.

And there’s always the “rules apply to everyone” argument. They really do, and no one is above them. If you think you’re special enough to skirt the rules, please rethink your entire life right now.

Point being, if you want to run a race, register on time. Register early, especially if it’s a race that sells out fast. But don’t engage in buying running bibs; it’s cheating, and it’s not fair to other runners, and you are hurting people.