Ballad Of A Boston Marathon Bandit

From our Taking Themselves Too Seriously desk:

The Weekend Wall Street Journal’s A-Hed chronicles the world of rogue marathon runners – that is, the great unnumbered.


Fleet of Foot and Blissfully Bold, Freeloaders at the Marathon Wear Fake Bibs—but Win No Prizes

In the Running World, They’re Called ‘Bandits’ and Race Officials Don’t Like to Discuss Them; the Cockroach Analogy

Nut graf:

There’s nothing illegal about jogging down city streets without a race bib, or even accepting aid-station refreshment offerings. But in the running world, [the] offense is known as banditry, and any mention of it tends to produce righteous indignation. Do bandits realize how much it costs to provide T-shirts and finisher medals, to pay staff members, recruit volunteers and hire police to close down roads?

“Have you no sense of shame?” Runner’s World executive editor, Mark Remy, asked last year in a published dressing down of an unnamed bandit. “There’s a special circle of hell reserved for people like you.”

Seriously? A special circle of hell? As the eminent philosopher Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon, what an ignoranimus.”

As it happens, Boston has hosted a special representative of the banditerati: the pride of Hopkinton, Conrad Welzel.

Before his knees gave out, Conrad Welzel, 58, ran the Boston Marathon 36 times, 32 of them as a bandit, the first when he was a teenager. “I wasn’t going to pay for a race that started in my own neighborhood,” says Mr. Welzel, who grew up in Hopkinton, Mass., where the Boston Marathon begins.

And where common sense, at least at Runner’s World, ends.

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6 Responses to Ballad Of A Boston Marathon Bandit

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    I would suspect that Elizabeth Warren is on the bandit’s side on this one; after all, the roads on which it is run have been bought and paid for by all of us. The organizers have no exclusive right, however limited, to its use.

    That the race injects millions into the region’s economy is irrelevant; the private interest is ripping off the public’s.

    • Do you suspect that Brown is NOT on the bandit’s side? His argument seems unassailable!

    • Actually, the organizers *do* have an exclusive use for the roadway, since they have paid for and been granted permits for their use. That’s why police cars — with the police officers paid for by details paid for by the race organizers — are blocking all other cars from entering the road, and why barricades are erected in many areas to keep the watchers back.

      The race costs around $100 per participant. The towns and cities limit the size of the entrant field so as to minimize impact on their cities; when lots of bandits run, they are increasing the impact on the towns beyond the limits of what the towns agreed to.

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