Monday, July 7, 2014

The Back of the Pack Gets Hosed... Again

Edit - if you are here because of the AJC link - welcome!  So many good points have been made since this post was published on Monday.  Please also check out my follow up post which addresses a lot of the comments I have received.


I love the running community.  I can count on one hand the times I have encountered rude, snobby or otherwise unfriendly runners in the last 4 years I've been lacing up.

Recent posts about the slight that slower or "back of the pack" runners get by race directors went nuts.  No water.  No support.  Roads opened up to traffic.  Race directors caught a lot of heat.

I just ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta - a 44 year tradition, and the world's largest 10K.  There is a cap of 60,000 runners for this fun race that takes place on July 4th every year.  The race itself is all kinds of awesome.  You can see my post about how much fun my friends and I had running it!


It's what happened once we entered the race end in Piedmont Park that was out of the race director's hands and caused by the runners.

Publix is an awesome sponsor.  You don't just get handed a bagel and a banana and get sent on your way.  There were food stations all across the park.  Bagels and bananas, sure.  Fresh peaches.  Packs of cookies.  Granola bars.  Pretzels.

Y'all, it was like an episode of Hoarders.  People were grabbing HANDFULS at EACH table.  Yes, I'm shouting.  It was ridiculous.


Hey, guess what?  Yeah - they ran out of food before the race ended.

There was NO need for that - Publix supplied more than enough for 60K runners.  It was the runners who treated the food tables like an all you can eat buffet that were the problem.  Seriously - this food is meant for finishers.  Not your whole family who showed up to cheer you on, bless 'em.  This is not food meant for you to make your kids' lunches for the next week of day camp.  This is food for people who just ran 6.2 miles in July.  In Atlanta.  The people in the last corrals didn't start until the sun was firmly up overhead.  And they don't even get a crummy banana?



That's shameful.

Here is what I saw on the walk back to the MARTA station after the race - people with bags loaded up like they had just been to the market.



Girlfriend on the bottom left had so much in her bag she had to carry it in her arms.  The one on the top right clearly adores peaches.  Free ones.  Middle right?  At least 5 bagels shoved in there amongst the granola bars and extra beverages.

Oh, and wait.  I got my friend involved in the stealth snapping.  This one is my favorite.


Are you seeing this?  I'm hoping someone recognizes his snazzy shorts / socks and calls him on this.  The only acceptable use for all those peaches is if you are making post-race daiquiris and inviting me over.

Y'all - this is wrong in so many ways.  The running community is way better than this display would have people believe. We are encouraging.  We are forever trying to turn other people on to running.  So why on earth would we treat our fellow runners this way?  I had several friends say things like, "I thought I was going to pass out on the way to the MARTA station, I was so hungry."  And, "I started shaking because of low blood sugar but there was nothing left."  Still don't think your 5 bagel grab made a big difference?

PLEASE - show your fellow runners courtesy and love.  Only take what you need.  If you have family that showed up to spectate, warn them ahead of time that they will need to bring their own food.  We are grown people and we should be able to treat each other with respect and thoughtfulness.

Edit:  After all the comments, I felt like a follow up post was needed.  You can find that here.




124 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! Its a shame that so many people are greedy enough to walk off from a race like this. As you said, take what you need, and make sure enough has been left for the very last finishers. They are just as deserving of the food as you are, and maybe in greater need of it since they ran in more direct sunlight and heat than earlier finishers had to.

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    1. Yes! If someone is out there a lot longer, shouldn't they need the food MORE?

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    2. probably not - the last finishers were most likely slower and overweight, so they need to lose the weight anyway.

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    3. How brave of you "Anonymous" to make that post. You are obviously a fit and fast elite athlete who is restricted by contractual agreements to not reveal your name. Have fun at your next race. Oh, and grab a few extra snacks because, you know, you DESERVE them Asshat!

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    4. Anonymous, spoken like a true troll, clearly a non runner. Go play a video game or something. Leave the conversation to the people that actually do the races.

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    5. Wow - y'all, don't waste time getting upset. That person clearly has unhappy things going on in their life to make them so mean.

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    6. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and never saw this type of behavior until I moved to Atlanta in 1987. Seems nothing has changed in 27 years.

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    7. I thought it was just me who noticed this. We were walkers in the race and started in the "s" group. By the time we got to the park there was little left for us. I think we got a bagel, an ice cream and one yogurt yet I saw people actually toting BOXES(not bags) of food from the site. How sad is it that we live in a society where people think it is all about them and their needs. Take only what you can eat as you walk back home people. There are others behind you still to come who need something! This was my first and probably my last walk in the Peachtree Road Race. I was so disappointed in the behavior of others that I really don't think I want to be associated with the people who participate. Don't get me wrong, the fans on the sidelines, those handing out water, or entertaining us along the way were great and the race was a great event but how disappointing to have paid my money to walk, completed the trek and then to enter the park to witness the greediness of others just made me sick to my stomach. How embarrassing to Georgians to host such a great event and have it tarnished by the selfishness of others.

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  2. I saw a couple of posts in places online about this...and it always pisses me off

    I used to see this at the NYRR races a lot as well...though many times it was the volunteers walking away with BOXES of apples while we were being told there were none left!

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    1. That's CRAZY! It's a shame that grown people act that way.

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  3. AMEN!!!! It's horrible that people think this is okay

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    1. Yup - no idea why they think that.

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  4. Last year at the same race I saw people with boxes of peaches. I do not understand why people feel the need to stock up on bananas and other stuff. I think another part of the problem is the area giving the food away is open to everyone, not JUST the runners, so you have families stockpiling the food also. Its so nice Publix and Coca Cola provide all these items, but its very sad to finish and see people with a weeks worth of food for their family and you have nothign but one bottle of water.

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    1. Publix and Coke are MORE than generous, and people totally take advantage of that!

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    2. Last year the Wineglass moved the post-race food tents to the roped-off area that continues beyond the finish chute, so it was only open to runners. I did see a few people with a stack of pizza slices in their hands, but thankfully it wasn't as bad as this. Hopefully your post gets a big audience! I really want to believe that the big takers would choose differently if they see that they the big amounts are not due to them, and that they are hurting others.

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  5. Holy cow! I cannot believe my eyes!!! The only time you should have bags filled like this is if you are grocery shopping! However, I do feel that many who run the Peachtree are locals and make this their 1 and only race of the year...so likely they are not well-versed in running etiquette? Still, their mamas surely taught them better than that! Goodness gracious!!!

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    1. I thought of that, too. But if it's the faster people loading up on food, then that means they are probably people who are frequent runners / racers and know better!

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  6. Sigh. I hate that people do this and yet... yeah, they do. And I know because I'm usually the one who is like... where'd all the food go? I guess I'll eat this half squashed banana. :( And I'm not the last one out on the course either.

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    1. I'm usually a middle of the packer, so I blessedly don't have this happen very often. But I can't imagine how discouraged a newer runner feels when they put out a bunch of work and get "rewarded" with...nothing.

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  7. Thanks for posting this, Amy! I was one of the people that almost passed out on Monroe St waiting for my ride to come and pick me up. After the race was finished I tried to find a medical tent (none of the volunteers I asked knew where it was) and then stumbled on to the empty food tables that at that point, had only a few crusty bagels left in the boxes. I started in Corral S and finished with a decent time in spite of an injury and was so disappointed to leave the park empty handed.

    I don't want to sound like I'm dogging the ATC or the AJC. They put on a fabulous, safe event that I truly enjoy, but they need to reconsider the post race party in the park and keep Publix in the runners area with tables set up so people walk through and collect water, tshirt, then food. If the line is consistently moving and you're not in a daze from having just finished chances are you'll only grab one of each item and move on.

    When I was on the brink of passing out, a group of people walked by with bags full of PowerAde and I asked if I could have one since I was starting to see stars. They were very nice and offered me a few and to call a medic, but I (stubbornly) declined and sipped the PowerAde they gave me feeling better minutes later. I was happy they were willing to help, but also annoyed that I had to ask a stranger that made off with so many bottles (he had at least ten in his bag)

    I hope the ATC and AJC take note!

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    1. TEN?!?! WHAT? Oh, my word. I agree totally - you had to ask someone and claim medical reasons just to get a Powerade. That's unexcusable.

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    2. Agreed. The food should be before bag claim, so there isn't a bag to use for stockpiling!

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  8. Great post! It is sickening how selfish some people can be...I hope this shames at least some of those who took more than their share.

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    1. Thanks, Alison - If nothing else, I hope this will make some people think twice next time. Your actions totally affect others.

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  9. My first time I was so tiredlegs hurtinng then nothing but water. I saw them all walking around with huge bags full of fruit. I thought how pathetic and shameful. They however seemed really proud of their stash.

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    1. It's pretty crazy. And there were SO many people doing that.

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  10. Wow, so sad that people do this. There has to be a way to prevent some of this. I know it's tough because they already require so many volunteers to put on this event, but something definitely needs to be done to address this situation. The back of the packer's (myself included), REALLY need to know that there is nourishment available after a race!

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    1. Yes - absolutely. This is a safety issue, really.

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  11. I've been to a few races that have all the racers walk single file thru a line. You get your bag at the front, and volunteers drop in one of everything (unless you decline an item) into your bag - runners don't touch anything but the bag. Just like the T-shirt line. I've also been to larger races that actually ration the goodies. Stuff starts running out and they tell you you have to wait, that more stuff will be out in 10 minutes.

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    1. I've done that, too - walk down a line of tables and the vols drop stuff in. It would take some logistics with a race the size of P'tree, but clearly that's what needs to happen!

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    2. At runDisney races they hand you a pre-packed box of food. Everyone gets one...simple as that.

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  12. Shameful! If you can afford to enter a race, I am assuming you can afford to feed yourself the rest of the week, and not steal the food of other racers- ridiculous!

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  13. That is really shameful and greedy of those people and really makes me angry. Do those people have such little self-awareness that they are not even embarrassed by this?

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  14. There were definitely people with boxes of fruit this year too. I was in wave G and the peaches were all gone by my finish. It's a shame that people can't control themselves.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear your experience was different than mine. I decided sleeping in would be more fun than running with my wave, so I started with Wave N, and there was still an insane amount of food after I finished. (about 2:30:00 - 3:00:00 after the gun). I couldn't possibly ask sponsors to bring more than they did this year.

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  15. Amen. Poor behavior all around. I'm a metro Atlanta native, runner, PRR vet, RRCA certified running coach, former Atlanta Track Club coach. The only point I would like to add is that 2/3 of the folks that run the PRR only do one physically active thing all year, the PRR. At least half of those have a 'beer' crawl vs. a run. I do not believe these individuals to be representative of the Atlanta Track Club or the Atlanta running community. I do not officially represent any of the mentioned groups here, but would offer my personal apology to you and invite you to look at the thousands of running events hosted in our community. Apologies.

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    1. Oh, I don't think badly of the ATC at all. The PRR is a huge undertaking and I'm grateful for all the work they do to present it. I think one of the problems is, and it has been mentioned here several times, is that the food area is in the "public" area, allowing all people access. Perhaps I was a bit too harsh to spotlight just runners, but 90% of the folks that I saw loaded up had bibs on.

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  16. I just can't even believe someone would think it is okay to take that much food, how does that even seem okay to a grown adult? Seriously shameful!

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  17. Beyond pathetic. Why people do crap like this is beyond me and they should be ashamed. And especially for an event like Peachtree that's so generous and puts on such a great show. Glad you put this out there! -C

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    1. Thanks! Publix and Coke are amazing sponsors. I would hate to see their sponsorship levels change because of things like this.

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  18. THANK YOU for this!!!! My worst experience of race food hoarders was at the PPTC Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving. I was nearly hypothermic by the time I made my way to Starbucks to pay for hot chocolate which should have been free and provided by the race...only they did no monitoring of it and ran out because people's children who came to watch and cheer were cold.
    Some people just don't think of anyone but themselves, and it's sad!!

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    1. Oh, my gosh! That must have been horrible! When I did the Asheville Half in March, it was freezing but they did a great job of providing a staffed food tent to make sure there was enough for all - down to ripping open hot chocolate packets and mixing them up for you!

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    2. If your health is endangered (hypothermia is the real deal! beware of your hydration and clothing materials!), I would say perhaps you should START thinking about yourself. I too want everyone to have a good time, and having been caught out hiking in blizzards, hypothermia is NO FUN. Stay safe out there!

      Your body is not the race organizer's responsibility; food is absolutely a privilege and not a right. I had to look up the PPTC Turkey Trot, but hypothermia on a 5-mile race seems unlikely to be blamed on something unexpected like weather -- hydrate well, carry a gel (easily-digested carbs can provide body heat), and wear the right clothes, and you won't need to rely on volunteers' charity. = )

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    3. Really??? Wow!

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  19. So, a couple of thoughts on this.

    First: It's possible to put out the food in "stages" so that there isn't the appearance of a lot of extra bounty. Some people take the extra because they think it's going to go to waste, not realizing how many people are still behind them. This would cut down on those, by simply not making available a large number of food items.

    Second, a food bag handout would do the trick; pre-pack the food bag for the end of the race, each runner gets one bag, and that's it.

    But one of the thoughts I'm having is that this level of "hoarding" makes me wonder about hunger and food insecurity in Atlanta. Are these runners taking extra because they're basically trying to make their race fee cover their groceries? Are they having trouble making their food budget? Is that common? It would be interesting to see if post-race food hoarding is more common in a depressed economy....

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    1. Interesting points! I can totally see your first point about the appearance of a never ending supply and I agree that can lead some people to overload. I'm also a fan of the pre-packaged idea, but that takes a LOT of volunteer power ahead of time to pack all of them. But I think that's better than not having food for anyone.

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    2. Not to sound harsh, but if participants are taking extras because they can't afford their food budget, perhaps they should have saved the race fee (a luxury expense, not a necessity) and put it to better use. I'd say if that's a realistic scenario, someone really needs to reconsider their priorities. ;-)

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  20. YES, YES, and YES! Thanks Amy for reminding people to share!!!

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  21. Oh my goodness. Those pictures are ridiculous! Where is common courtesy?! We should know as grown, intelligent, thoughtful people, that each paying race participant should only take one item each (unless told otherwise by race volunteers). It's not that difficult. Also, if you really want more bagels, just go to the store and buy some... if you had the money to register for the race, I'm sure a few more bucks for a 6-pack of bagels wouldn't break you. We shouldn't have to be monitored to do the right thing.

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    1. I've heard a few people say that the vols were saying "take as much as you want" - so clearly there is a training issue there, too. But common sense should prevail. It's like I tell my kids - Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD.

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    2. Ah, I missed this comment when I posted my reply below. Thanks for acknowledging that the volunteers have at least a part (and I'd say the lion's share) of the 'blame' here. If I am *explicitly* told that my bib is a ticket to the all-you-can-carry party, then those having a problem with the volunteers' direction are performing the classic blunder of conflating their personal desires with a broader ethical mandate.

      Should I condemn the THOUSANDS of oblivious walkers with earbuds who couldn't understand or simply didn't care about the organizer's instructions that slower competitors should tend toward the right and leave the left open for runners? Those too busy gabbing to notice our repeated friendly calls of "on your left"? Nah, that's just part of the madhouse that is the PRR. It's a lot of fun, and impossible to make that fun perfect for all 60,000+ people. I just go into it with rational expectations -- like not hitting my personal record there, because of the extra kilometer of weaving I have to do.

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  22. This is quite sad. :( Sadly, a lot of adults do this. Mine was a different situation altogether. I took my son to a county Easter Egg hunt, only to see adults with big plastic bags collecting as many eggs as they could with their kid/s. Seriously? There were numerous other children with only a handful of eggs in their basket, looking around at an empty field, while I saw parents carting off giant bags filled with them.

    Not cool in any situation....

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    1. Oh, don't even get me started on that! I started doing my own egg hunt in my backyard with neighbors because of the crazy adult behavior I saw in those situations!!!

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    2. Easter Egg hunts are THE WORST. I organized one for my neighborhood association a couple years ago, and the parents are insane. I definitely had to stop adults from taking down little kids.

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  23. I would say that alot of this is not all runners (but yes, some) - happened in Athens too at their half last fall - Piedmont Park is open to the public, and there is no one telling them not to take things. I saw people walking away last year with full boxes of peaches and/or bags stuffed with all kinds of things. They need to put one of each into a "swag bag" with the shirt or have a runner-only access area where you move through a line and get 1 of each thing you want and then move out into the park area to meet up with friends, etc. Boo on those that took more than they deserved - runner or not.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes. I agree wholeheartedly with all your statements!

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  24. That's downright disrespectful to the running community! Those people KNOW better than to do that. ugh! Thanks for the post and calling out these rude runners and I hope they learn!

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  25. That is horrible! I take one item that is given. I try to bring my own snacks for the end of a race, and I make sure my family has their own.

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  26. I understand. I'd be mad too. But at some point some of the anger needs to be directed to the volunteers and their supervisors. All a volunteer has to do is ask them to please just take one, limit what is taken by the faster runners and not allow them to stuff a whole bag full of food. .

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  27. Wow - I must say I've been on races where they ran out of water on the course - which was tough! But, I've never been where people took all the after race food and supplies. It was shocking. I am glad that you got in on camera and called people out! Thanks!

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  28. This is despicable and sickening. Maybe they should ask for more volunteers in the future so they can hand out pre-filled bags.....maybe it would help? :(

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    1. I think that would be a great solution. Either that or have people hold bags open as they go down the line and the volunteers drop one of everything in there.

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  29. Want food? Run faster. Why must real runners pay for your walking and talking

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    1. Bless your heart. You think the people who got screwed out of food were just moseying along? Do you understand that the corrals were A - Y and some people didn't even get to start until a good portion of the people finished? Would you rather a slower, overweight runner just give up and sit home on the couch instead of getting out there and trying to be healthy? People like you are part of the problem. No "real runner" is paying - there was plenty of food for the first finishers. It's the real, actual, "I'm slow but I'm doin' it" runners that pay for your greed and sense of entitlement.

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    2. Oh - and the truly "real runners" I know are the ones who encourage others. Those are the ones who truly love the sport and aren't in it just for an ego boost.

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    3. 1) Last time I checked EVERYONE paid the same entry fee, so I'm not sure why you feel "real" runners are entitled to more post race food than anyone else

      2) Only a coward would hide behind an anonymous comment to a blog post. At least man/woman up and come out from under your rock with your identity

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    4. Absolutely agree-- race fees pay for course support and swag. You can thank

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    5. the fact that more people have decide to get out and start running for an improvement in the number and quality of races available. Post-course goodies are not prizes!

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  30. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, and it doesn't only happen to the back of the pack. I run back of the middle of the pack, sometimes firm middle and I've come in and seen people walking around holding full cases of drinks while there were still HOURS worth of runners coming in on hot marathons. As a coach I always tell my runners not to feed their families off of the runners' food. It's fine if there are samples outside of the finisher area that are being handed out, or you're eating a banana and offer a piece to the baby, but you do not feed the kids lunch on food that should go to a runner.

    As to the ass hat above, screw you. The last person pays the same entry fee as the first person and might be in more need to fuel and hydration due to being out there. It's not for you or anyone else to dictate how someone runs a race except the race director. If she's running a 10k is four hours, okay. I see your point. Obviously you're a big man or you'd have posted your name.

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  31. I ran the Peachtree as well and i too was shocked at the gluttony. I almost felt guilty because I took two granola bars (I ate both right there). I was stunned as I was walking to MARTA to see people carrying 3 & 4 bags overflowing with stuff. I saw one woman who had taken the free flip flops they handed out (I didn't see where they were so I didn't get a pair)... she had 6 pairs cradled in her arms.

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    1. It was really too much. I had a friend who "confessed" that she took 3 popsicles - and ate them on the spot. That's all good. Different people have different needs. This was aimed at the people who were just flat out shopping!

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  32. As a middle to back of the pack runner, we spend the same amount of money as those in the front. As part of any race, there is an expectation that we will be taken care of the same way as those who finish ahead of us. There are a variety of reasons why we are slower than others and regardless of how fast we go there will always be those in the back. You have to have a final runner, right?

    Anyway, I've run at some really large events, larger than Peachtree, and they organizers put together the bags of food for each runner during the race. If you want more you can ask and they will give you an extra banana or more milk. It takes some planning but it can be done. That said, there should still be some courtesy to those still on the course.

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  33. OMGoodness! This hurts me so much. I'm usually finishing towards the middle or front of my races, but ran a half marathon in my first trimester when I was wiped of all energy and ending up walking the last portion due to fatigue. For the first time, I found out what it was like to finish in the back of the pack and I was starving and there was barely more than chips and bottled water for me. The race director was mortified and had pizzas delivered immediately to supply for the remaining participants (which is amazing of him) but it's so sad to see people acting so selfishly. Thanks for posting this. I'm sharing it immediately with my community.

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  34. This post blows my mind. Those are pictures are INSANE! Thanks for writing this post and putting it out there.
    I think the best way to fix this is to have the food in a runner's only area, and have volunteers say-1 only please (not that it would stop all of it but it would stop some people) and have the area before you do bag pickup. You can't physically carry all of that food so you would have to just take what is needed..

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  35. Great job on this post! I've seen this behavior at so many races and it's so selfish. At my 4th of July 3 miler, my preschooler wanted the watermelon they were giving to runners so I gave him my piece. I didn't just grab a bunch because I wanted to make sure those finishing behind me got their watermelon too. Manners, people, manners! I think what makes this post different and so very striking is the photos you got of people who had literal BAGS full of the post-race food. Saying people are pigs is one thing; showing proof is another thing altogether! Guess that's why runDisney does little prepacked boxes!

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  36. Great post!!! If you have not already done so, please forward to the ATC. They were asking for photos/evidence of food hoarding in order to help them in planning for next year. I finished about two-thirds back and NOTHING was left. The hoarding was crazy!!!

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  37. Kudos to you for snapping pictures of these greedy runners! You are right, they look like they could have just left the market. Unbelievable! But anyway, you had a fabulous race outfit sweetie!

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    1. Thanks - and that's what counts, right?! LOL!

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  38. This is a great post! I fall in the middle-back of the pack group and always sad to see people take more than they should. I love it when races pre-pack bags for the runners, but I understand that can be a logistical nightmare.

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  39. Well said, Amy! And I loved that you took pics of the stuffed bags. So disappointing that runners would have such little respect for other runners.

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  40. if I take additional stuff I wait till most runners are in...I am a midpacker and some races the fluid and snacks wee almost gone.

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  41. Wow. Thats is crappy behavior on a pretty grand scale.

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  42. Couldn't someone put a sign on the table that says, "Please take only what you need. There are runners who haven't finished

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  43. Wow. That is really selfish. I have gone home with extra food from things when it was clear it was EXTRA, as in we're cleaning up the tables and this food is left over. Not when there are still runners out there!

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  44. I suffer at the BOP too. Next time take pics of their bib numbers! ;-)

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  45. I think this is a GREAT post. I'm going to be honest and admit that I've definitely taken a handful of something from a race. I'm sure a lot of us are guilty of this. I'm not proud of it, but it's happened -- especially if it's something really yummy. (The Runner's World races were how I discovered Belvita, and now I'm obsessed with those stupid crackers!) Anyway, I've never walked away with a grocery bag of goodies from the end of a race, and I typically only grab extras if I've hung out in the finisher's chute to watch the end of a race and see that there's a lot leftover. Anyway, this is NUTS, so thank you for taking these pictures and bringing it to our attention. I've definitely experienced this; the RnR full in DC ran out of bagels and bananas and most of the other food by the time I finished, and I was totally POed. It made me think twice about what I take from the post-race refreshment tables when I'm finished my race, and I think this post will do the same for a lot of runners. Thank you!

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  46. Those pictures blow my mind. I mean, I know it happens (and it's happened to me twice this year alone) but to see HOW MUCH those people were taking is ridiculous. And these are fellow runners! They know how difficult races can be. Good post. I hope a lot of people read it and take notes.

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  47. Ugh. This is so infuriating! And embarrassing as a fellow human being.

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  48. OMG! That's crazy! The last guy had enough food to make lunches for an entire week?!? Who does that? I take enough for myself and hit the road. That's usually a banana, some sports drink, and bagel.I have a tendency to be a little nauseous post race, especially in the heat so I can't imagine hauling all that around.

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  49. OMG!! LOVE. THIS. POST. My best friend and I had the exact same thing to say about the HORRIBLE hoarding that took place at the Blue Bell ice cream stations. One dude had a bag with 8 ice cream sandwiches in it as he stood right up front waiting for more. I have no earthly idea what he thought he was going to do with all those melting sandwiches. But then again he didn't seem like a guy that would be above polishing off 9 ice cream bars. I'm just saying. OH--and worse? He didn't even have on a race bib. Ugghh!

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  50. THANK YOU for your post and taking the photos!!! I finished towards the front/middle of the pack and these hoarders were pushing me out of the way as I grabbed my one banana. I'm an working adult, I have more bananas at home, I'll be okay eating just one after a run. I stopped at Starbucks after the race and my husband was nice enough to pick me up in the parking lot so I wouldn't have to ride MARTA all the way home. I'm pretty sure we saw Mr Peaches walking to his car in the parking lot by The Independent. My husband and I commented on how many damn peaches he had in his bag. I didn't even see the peaches tent! I almost asked him for one since he had so many, but I was full after my ONE banana, ONE bagel and ONE ice cream bar. I hope Publix continues to sponsor the race, they are so generous with their donations, but this is out of hand. Thank you for writing your post.

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  51. Hi there! I'm sorry you had a bad experience, and I certainly will take this to heart in future years. I have the same complaint at other smaller races, like the New River Marathon in May of this year -- the 5k folks demolished the fresh-baked cookies, scones, and electrolyte drinks and the marathon runners were left with only orange slices.

    But the detail you might not be aware of is that multiple Publix and Blue Bell volunteers exhorted people to take as much as we wanted. Maybe they underestimated their supplies, or maybe they just wanted to end their shift faster, but upon grabbing one granola bar, a lady behind the Publix table specifically suggested that "surely I needed more than that", and that I "might as well fill up that bag." Go for it, there's plenty, we were told.

    Sure, greed is bad. Some of these folks may just be greedy and did not get the same explicit advice from PRR volunteers that I did. However, from my experience you are mad at the wrong people. I decided sleeping in would be more fun than running with my assigned wave and can confirm that there was still a *sickening* amount of everything available around three hours after the race start.

    That the sponsors want to feed us is great and probably makes for a more fun event for all of us, but please do understand that basic human self-reliance is more important. Even going through the course rather late, spectators were still offering me (and boy howdy did I take) beer, pizza, and bacon; if you were still on-course at 1pm when Peachtree was opened to traffic, that means the race event is over, and the sponsor's "responsibility" to you is over as well. That said, I'm sorry you had a bad time with it; if this reaches the Track Club, I hope they revisit their policies and those of their sponsors as appropriate.

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  52. I was a spectator on a lawn on 10th near the finish... people walking off with cases of stuff multiple times. Good for you for calling this out!

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  53. I'm truly disgusted by those pics. Sadly, I can't say I'm surprised. It happens. A lot. There is simply no excuse. The worse part? If the organizers were to implement stricter rules/more people to ration the resources, I'm willing to bet many people would then be complaining about the organizers being "cheap skates" and the like. There is just no way to please people sometimes.

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  54. This definitely hits close to home for me! I ran a 10K the first week of June in TX. Gets pretty warm, pretty early there. By the time I finished, they had run out of water. WATER! I had forgotten my inhaler, so I was short of breath and couldn't catch my breath. All I needed was a drink and a little walk and I would have been fine, but instead I started hyperventilating because I couldn't find something to drink and it was 90 degrees and I had just run 6.2 miles in beating down sun. I finally had to go to the First Aid tent. The paramedics went on a mad dash for water, while one of them stayed with me to try to help me relax and calm my breathing down. Finally, one came back with a cup of ice from the beer tent because that was all they could find. All water and Gatorade was gone. Finally, one paramedic went out on his bike to look for something for me to drink and apparently, someone who had GRABBED MORE THAN THEY NEEDED, overheard the paramedic and gave one up so I could have something to drink. Beyond frustrating.

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  55. As one who used to run the P'tree every year, and now watches her hubby and two sons run it, all I can say is PREACH IT SISTAH!

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  56. WOW. All i can say is WOW. Totally appalling. In no circumstances is this right, but its a 10K for goodness sakes, you don't need all of that fuel to recover from a 6 mile run. Totally disappointed in the runners who participated in this. Disappointed.

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  57. I have participated in events where I have seen people walk away with cases of water. CASES! It is insane. I like the races when they hand you one item of each and you continue on, then everyone can have their fair share.

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  58. I hate to see that. After I run all I want is water. This was my 31st Peachtree and I have enjoyed all of them. Do we really need anything other than water. Running a 10K should not require massive food intake after the race. I guess these people just want to get the best value for their entry fee. Got to wonder how greedy they are in other aspects of their life.

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  59. I've always felt that the post-race food is meant for consumption immediately following the race, not to be brought home for later.

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  60. Crazy stuff. I will take food but ONLY after all the participants have finished and the race volunteers and organizers are packing up to leave - so only at small races and triathlons where I'm staying for awards. At the point where I finish my race, I never take more than what I actually need because I've been at the back of the pack and I know how much it sucks to not have any water after 13.1/26.2 miles. But once everyone's done and they're throwing away them bananas? Fair game. Mine =)

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  61. Maybe you wouldnt be a slow back of the packer eating that rubbish in the first place.

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  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. This too is a pet peeve of mine, but in a little different situation. I run 6 to 8 marathons a year at a 4 hour average pace. So while I am not fast I'm not a back of the pack runner either. My issue is with the marathons that have a corresponding half-marathon associated with them. Many times when I have finished the mylar blankets, food and water are all but gone. In one instance the band was already packing up. This is as much a runners problem as it is a race directors issue. Race directors need to decide if they want to cater to all of their participants or just the masses. Runners need to take in to consideration their fellow runners. In the mean time I will avoid the bigger city events and enjoy the small town events that seem to understand how to put on an event for all.

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  64. Wow this is just crazy! I hope they can figure this out for next year. Both half marathons I've done have had prepackaged food bags in an area that only finishers were allowed in. That definitely helps the problem. I would be so upset getting to the end and not having any food or water!

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  65. I can't believe people are so selfish! I feel bad when I take 2 bananas or 2 bottles of water, even when I feel like I need it. I was not at this particular race, but I have been in a race before where refreshments ran out. Now I know why. I'm a back of the pack type runner (okay honestly, I usually walk) and this has happened to me before. There was nothing left, not even water. Oh the disappointment!

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  66. Cheers for the article. I would suggest, however, that you say something to the people at the time of the crime. Make it awkward. Make it hurt. Get others on your side. Shame after the fact works about as well as no shame at all.

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  67. why don't you learn faster?

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  68. I'm sure they think the were entitled to it.

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  69. Thank you for this article. I'm a back-of-the-packer who has birth defects in both knees, or I'd be faster -- but I still love challenging myself and running races. It's agony when the water stations are empty, and when there's no food at the end of the race. I started putting non-refrigerated protein drinks and bottles of water in my bag at the bag check, just so I would have something by the end of a run. It's especially bad when it's the families of runners who're using up all the food and drink - that's more common than I ever would've thought, as even before I started to run, I had the common sense to assume that the race food/drink was for people doing the race.

    Best I can say to folks who, like me, are in the back: bring your own water, pack a small snack, and if there's food left, thank the coordinators for making sure that there's stuff at the end, because they need to know they're doing it right! If there's not food at the end, let the race coordinators know! :)

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  70. It's funny to me that walkers have been complaining about this for years, but it is only when it affects runners that anyone starts to listen.

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  71. I think the problem also comes down partly to people who take two waters or two bananas. No taking two waters isn't like taking a case.of water but if everyone takes two of everything because they needed it then you have a problem. Also, maybe the volunteers were being overly generous but I also know what its like to volunteer. People don't ask. They just come up and take and no matter how you may protest they dont listen. What am I supposed to do? If its a bagel or something its not like I can have them put it back. I think it's just something you're always going to have regardless of the event.

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  72. I can't believe that! I've never seen this at a race but would be shocked! I hope this changes and the overall "back of the pack" mentality changes as well. We are ALL runners.
    Karen @karenlovestorun

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  73. I was a front-of-the-pack sub-seeded runner and also saw the behavior you describe. I'd add my own observation that many of the volunteers handing stuff out encouraged runners to take more - especially the folks handing out sports drinks on 10th. Mellow Mushroom was the only vendor politely asking runners to take only one slice of pizza. Runners shouldn't hoard, but let's be realistic that people can be selfish. Volunteers should be trained to hand out one serving per runner and discourage hoarding. It makes matters worse when they insist you take more than one of something, like the sports drink people who insisted I take one of each flavor! Congratulations everyone on finishing a great race! - Joe Dom. #1000 finisher

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    1. Thanks, Joe. Yes - I've heard that, too. I addressed the volunteer situation in today's follow up post. Hopefully vols will be encouraged not to be *quite* so helpful and friendly next year!

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  74. I still believe that the race directors and the people working in those areas can help to curb some of this nasty hoarding. This is why many races have taken to handing things out as runners finish, rather than letting them grab all they want. I take ONLY what I need.. a snack.. a drink and move on... my sister, my friends all run with me...I make sure to leave some there!! And they do the same for me. I find those pictures appalling..but then again.. I don't like greedy folks....

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  75. The blog author makes many excellent points. Taking a "proper share" of post-race goodies is simply good manners. IMO, where this went off the rails was the post-race layout was different this year. After exiting the finish chute and entering Piedmont Park, there was a station with bottled water, followed by the t-shirt lines, after which runners exited the "controlled area". So, all the "free stuff" was outside the controlled area where anyone could indulge, runners and non-runners. I saw as many non-runners "hoarding" as runners. Remember, whereas the PTRR has 60,000 runners, there are 2x to 3x spectators along the course, and my guess is the ratio of runner to non-runner in Piedmont Park is 1.0 : 0.5 to 1:0 : 1.0. So, if non-runners indulge (there were a lot of families waiting for a family member who indulged) they delete the stockpiles at a greatly accelerated rate. When you keep the free stuff within the boundaries of the controlled area - before the t-shirts - two things happen. First, you eliminate non-runners from partaking. Second, because the queue of runners progresses across misc. stations (water, bananas, bagels, etc.) in one direction towards the coveted t-shirts, the moving mass minimizes the opportunity to hoard - and - you can't go back upstream for "seconds". Publix was an amazing sponsor, but felt the layout did them a disservice - you had to trek a bit to get over to the meadow near the Park Tavern and fight thru the crowd to get to the food and water. I ran with my 12 year old son (his first time) and whereas post-race food / water isn't my bag, it was important that I get him something. So, net is - shame on the hoarders, definitely bad manners and behavior was contrary to the spirit of what otherwise was an amazing event. But also, I would encourage the race organizers to re-visit the post-race layout to prevent this from happening next year.

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  76. Absolutely ridiculous...This is absurd. First, I would like to apologize to any of the race participants who were not able to receive their post-race snack. You should have at least gotten powerade to rehydrate your body. For me, after I run 6 miles my body does not require a banana, a bagel, peaches, powerade, and water. Pretty sure, this is not the normal post run eating habits of those PTRR participants. Like one individual posted, "maybe the runners felt a sense of entitlement" but they didn't have the courtesy to think of others.

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  77. I hope you'll take my comments as constructive.

    1. No one needs that much post race food. The race is only 6 miles. Apart from the fruit, the food was junk, and not the best selections for race recovery. I suggest a gel 30 minutes prior to the start and another at mile 5. You'll have enough gas in the tank to finish the race and head out for much healthier race recovery fare if you need to eat a lot. Leave the pizza and ice cream to the gluttons.

    2. If post race food is part of what makes your race fun, I really suggest next year running as a Kilometer Kids charity runner. The perks are worth the few extra dollars for the entry. Among them there are food and beverages prior to the start, plus your own port-a-potties! At the finish there was plenty of fruit, water, sports drinks, and Waffle House catering trucks, in the Kilometer Kid hospitality area.

    I am sorry the food situation sullied your race experience. I hope you were able to get your shirt at least. Perhaps next year, there will be better management of the after race side of the event.

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  78. Handing out food for 5/10k is not necessary and wasteful...most of it ends up in the trash. The amount of food handed out at this race was also ridiculous. I vote for just giving it to a good cause.

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  79. Whoa! I have never seen anything this bad at a race. I have been to races that ran out of water for the back of the packers. Not cool. It should be the job of the race directors to make sure everyone gets a fare share. Wow! sorry this happened to you.

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