FORT WORTH — The 34th edition of the Cowtown Marathon featured somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,000 registered participants Sunday in three events.
And two men’s marathon winners because of one who was not registered.
Initial runner-up Kolin Styles was declared the winner of the 26.2-mile race when Scott Downard was disqualified because he didn’t register for the race and was wearing an unauthorized bib.
He acknowledged without any prompting that the bib he was wearing belonged to a friend who couldn’t make the race.
Races have strict policy against running with someone else’s bib. I don’t know if it is considered worse than banditing – running a race you didn’t register for and have no bib for – but it can really mess things up sometimes if someone runs the race wearing the bib of a different person, and the race is unaware. For instance, if a 25-year-old fast runner wears the bib of a person who is maybe 34 and not as fast, the 25-year-old’s results are going to be included in the 34-year-old’s age group. This can potentially affect age group awards, and of course when found out, that runner would be disqualified. Also, if the person wearing someone else’s bib passes out while on the course, race medical personnel are not going to have the right emergency information for that runner.
My issue is with most races’ refusal to allow the transfer of a bib prior to the race. Races don’t give refunds. If I pay $100 for a race and then find out I can’t make it, why can’t I let my husband run the race with the money we’ve already paid, if we give the race an update on whose name and information belongs to that number? Some do allow it for an extra fee, but in the cases where they don’t allow it, I don’t understand why not. Is it because the race wants that second person to have to register, so they get their money too? That’s what it seems like to me. I know there are a lot of costs the race fee covers, and the race expects a certain percentage of registered runners to skip out (affecting number of shirts, medals, water/Gatorade, food, etc. purchased). Maybe it’s too complicated or something.
I looked on Cowtown’s website and they do not allow bib transfers. I don’t know why the winner didn’t just register himself, but it’s possible he didn’t know it was taboo to wear someone else’s bib. Maybe he didn’t care. I don’t know, but I would love to know why most races don’t allow official bib transfers.