To Check or Not To Check?
Good Morning folks! I’m glad that it’s Friday and hope you all have a fun weekend planned ahead! I can’t believe that summer is almost over – August seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye 😦 Before we know it, the Fall will be here, then Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year! OMG!!!
Speaking of Fall brings me to the title of this post, and the upcoming series of Fall races, including several major marathons (NYC, Marine Corps, Chicago etc) and Half-Marathons (Boston, Staten Island, New Hampshire, Divas etc). Yesterday, in a statement that caused quite an out roar, the NYRR announced that they were no longer providing Baggage Check services for the ING NYC Marathon on November 4th. This was being done in an effort to reduce congestion at bag check spots, speed up the process of exiting after the race, and thus make the event more enjoyable (?!) The announcement elicited mixed reactions from many people – both those who are running the race this year and those who are not but would like to at some point. Some people didn’t care, saying that they rarely check baggage anyway. Others were downright angry, saying that it is an inconsiderate decision and announced on very short notice – just 2 months before the marathon. Petitions were sent out, letters and emails were sent, and I’m sure Mary Wittenberg who is head of NYRR received a barrage of angry phone calls, emails and twitter messages.
What do I think of it? Well, first of all, I do think that it is inconsiderate making the announcement just 2 months before the race; NYRR could either have made this decision before opening this year’s race lottery, or said that for future events they would not provide baggage check. Secondly, while it may be true that baggage check gets crowded, many people don’t live in Manhattan and have traveled from other boroughs, states, counties etc, to be there and may have various essentials that they are counting on checking in for the race. Not everyone runs with a phone – and many people need to be able to get in touch with other friends and family members after the race. While some paticipants may have friends or family waiting for them at the finish, with fresh clothes, food, shoes etc, some people don’t and rely on baggage check to have their essentials. Plus, there are individuals like me who have certain food intolerances (lactose & gluten intolerance) and cannot eat most of the post-race food provided (regular bagels, milk & wheat based bars etc), and have to bring our own post-race recovery food. All of this goes in bag check.
All said and done, the NYC Marathon is not a cheap race to enter and at $255, baggage check seems like a service that really should be offered. If people don’t wish to use it due to congestion then that’s their decision – but for some who really like having it there (after running 26.2 miles), the inconvenience of no bag check may be sorely missed.
I hope that NYRR reconsiders their decision and reinstates bag check, but maybe they have many reasons for not implementing it this year. At any rate, I hope they can provide a more detailed explanation for their decision, and going forward, if any other changes are to be made then I hope they announce them before opening the lottery for that year. I doubt that a “no baggage check” policy will deter future entrants or ruin their experience of the run itself – but still – runners like to plan and like to know what’s coming 🙂
Whatever happens this year – I will be happy to hold a bag or two for my friends who are running – and as always – good luck to all you runners out there!! One day I hope to be out there pounding the streets of the NYC marathon too….just not this year 🙂