Here is my imaginary interview with Mary Wittenberg, President of New York Road Runners (NYRR). I have used actual explanations (hard as it is to believe) from the announcement and FAQ for the responses.
Wait, what's going on?
For 2012, under a new policy designed to ease finish-line congestion, runners will no longer check baggage at the start of the race, and there will be no baggage retrieval after the finish.Oh, why have you forsaken us, Mary?
The post-race walk-off has historically been too long and too congested, and was overwhelmingly the number-one complaint of our runners for years.What if I want to change into warm, dry clothing or shoes after the 26.2 miles I've just run?
We recommend that those of you who have a friend or family member meeting you in Family Reunion have them bring along warm, dry clothes.That makes sense. It's usually a cinch to meet up with family after the race. I mean, there are only, like, 40,000 other runners looking for their families.
Your friends in NYC and elsewhere can follow your progress during the race and upon your exit from the park with TrackMyRunners(TM) Via Web and Txt.That service never works! Every year I get text messages eight hours after the race is over that my runner has crossed the half-way mark.
[No response.]Anyway, my husband is also running the marathon. Should I ask my 10-month old baby to crawl over and bring us some dry socks?
We recommend that those of you who have a friend or family member meeting you in Family Reunion have them bring along warm, dry clothes.What about those of us who don't have a family member meeting us in Family Reunion?
Your friends in NYC and elsewhere can follow your progress during the race and upon your exit from the park with TrackMyRunners(TM) Via Web and Txt.Okay, I feel like we're in a bit of a loop, here. Let's switch gears. What about the warm, dry clothes I want to have beforehand, when I am stuck in Staten Island for three-plus hours in essentially the middle of the night, in November, huddling with others to keep warm?
[C]lothing left behind at the start will be donated to charity.Okay, well, I was planning to donate the long-sleeved shirt used to start the race, but what about beforehand, during the long wait? Shouldn't I be wearing more expensive clothing that will actually keep me dry and warm?
Warm, water-resistant clothing is recommended for the staging area, which is outdoors. We recommend that you start to set aside clothing now to wear to the start and donate.Thanks for the recommendation. What about other stuff I might want to bring, like food, my phone, water, race nutrition, gloves, money, a Metrocard, Tylenol, toilet paper for your gross bathrooms?
You must recycle, dispose of, or consume the items or carry them with you during the race.Oh, so I can run with a little backpack if I want?
Backpacks and bags... are not allowed.How am I supposed to get back to Brooklyn without any money or a Metrocard?
You can carry a credit card, Metrocard, and/or cash in a pocket, wristband, armband, or small waist pack, or have your friends and family meet you at Family Reunion or a nearby location and give you the items you need.I just told you there isn't going to be anyone to meet me at Family Reunion. At best, my husband is going to have to wait, shivering and cramping up, for me to finish.
UPS is a valued partner of NYRR and has been a sponsor of the Marathon for more than 15 years. This year is no different. NYRR has been very fortunate to have UPS as a partner. In the past, UPS has provided more than 70 trucks and 300 volunteers to help transport baggage from the start to the finish. With the change to our policy, we are not able to utilize UPS trucks. However, UPS employees will continue to be key members of our team, including a partner of our clothing donation effort at the start.What? That didn't answer my question at all. Who gives a shit about UPS? Why do you think runners care about UPS? Why is this on the FAQ of your website?
[No response.]So let me recap. Essentially, your new policy effectively requires everyone to have a support team (i.e., friends and family) in order to have basic things like a phone, cash, car keys, let alone clean clothes and food. Every other major race in the world has a bag check for just these reasons.
We are implementing the No-Baggage Policy to ensure the best and safest runner experience at the marathon.That seems implausible given all the inconveniences I have outlined here.
The post-race walk-off has historically been too long and too congested, and was overwhelmingly the number-one complaint of our runners for years.You said that already, and it's true. But is this seriously the best solution you could come up with? Why not split the exit and allow those who want to use the bag check to go right and those that want to leave go left?
We have put a great deal of thought and planning into the No-Baggage Policy and its execution from an operational standpoint. We have worked closely with City agencies and the Mayor's Office and together have developed this plan.Well, I'm comforted to know what good hands I'm in. I'm sure it will all go swimmingly. There's no way this marathon will live in race infamy. And I doubt you will have to issue a long apology on November 5.
[No response.]I'm being facetious.