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?
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.