Friday, August 24, 2012

No Baggage Policy Doesn't Go Far Enough

Sorry for the radio silence folks. I was on vacation for several days and when I got back into town I had interviews to prepare for, relatives to entertain, and work to catch up on. Somehow, the blog got put on the back shelf.

Well, if anything could get me out of hibernation, NYRR's just-announced "No Baggage Policy" is it. For anyone who hasn't heard already, NYRR sent an email to New York City Marathon participants yesterday outlining "a new policy designed to ease finish-line congestion"--no more checked bags. Plenty of people seem really upset about this idea: no longer can you bring a book, your favorite blanket, or a cell phone to the start unless you're willing to throw it away donate it or carry it with you on your 26.2 mile jaunt. 

Where did she get that flag? Not from her checked bag.
I for one, however, support NYRR wholeheartedly. I've always said, if there's one problem with the NYCM it's congestion. In fact, I think NYRR missed several other opportunities to ease congestion during marathon weekend so I'm offering some additional suggestions.

Eliminate Friday/Saturday Packet Pick-Up - The expo gets really crowded Friday after work and all day Saturday. Since the expo is much more manageable when it opens on Thursday I suggest NYRR eliminate the other congested days and just hold a one-day expo.

Eliminate the Port-O-Potties in the Athletes' Village - With over 45,000 runners, Ft. Wadsworth is unbelievably crowded before the start of the race. I believe the runners need all the space that can get. To help ease the congestion, NYRR could do away with port-o-potties since they take up so much extra space. People can just answer nature's call once they get to the Verazano Bridge.

Open the Roads to Traffic - Runners aren't the only ones who have to deal with congestion on Marathon Sunday. Trying to get around NYC in a car can be pretty difficult when 26.2 miles of surface roads are closed to through traffic. NYRR should work with the city to keep the roads open during the race so that drivers don't have to deal with congested side streets.

Ban Spectators - Sure it's great to have your family and friends cheer for you along the course, but imagine how frustrating it can be for them to try and work their way past 2 million other spectators to see you. Rather than subjecting them to this torment, NYRR should simply ban all spectators from the course. They can watch the race from the comfort of their homes thereby saving them from dealing with congested sidewalks.

And finally....

Reduce the Field Size - Call me Captain Obvious, if NYRR recognizes that having 45,000 runners causes serious congestion at the end of the race, rather than increasing the field size they should reduce it. Adding an extra 5,000 runners isn't going to do a thing to make the race less crowded, no matter how many proverbial baggage trucks are eliminated. Hmm... I think I might be onto something.


  1. i think NYCM is a great race but a logistical nightmare if you don't live in NYC! i'm not so sure i'd be OK with no baggage check. agreed, they should reduce the size of the race. but ban would really want that?!

    1. There may have been a bit of sarcasm in my post...

  2. I was waiting for a post from you about this topic. Never expected a little humor.
    Loved it!