I’m not particularly happy running-wise. I’ve had a lingering twinge in my upper right quad, toward the inside of my leg. It bothered me off and on, now and then, but started to be insistent about a week ago. We were in Great Barrington last week-end. Beautiful roads, and I decided to see how it felt but it reared its ugly head a couple of miles in. That was last Friday and I’ve not run since, except for 3 track laps on Sunday when I had to stop. So I’m now in let-it-get-better mode.

It is now a rainy, cold Saturday. I thought about going out but the weather and the fact that I can feel it as I type (more as I sit) means I should hold off.

With this as a prelude, I have some things to say about New York Road Runners. Some may think it an obsession. It is, though, the 800 lb. gorilla in these parts, and three separate recent events merit comment. The first is its refusal to provide simple but important information for people doing the Marathon. The second is its auctioning off a spot at the front of a race to the highest bidder. The third is it apparent invitation to a Chilean miner to return to the race.

I’m doing this in three parts, because I do go on a bit on each one. [I updated this post on October 30 with some follow-up information. Also, I have not yet decided on whether to put up Part III as await further information.]

Where to finish?

The first one goes back a year. After the Marathon, baggage is on UPS trucks. At the start, each person is assigned a truck, by Corral number. You drop off your bag at the truck itself. Here’s the thing. After the finish you stagger up the Park Drive and north of the Daniel Webster statue the UPS trucks are lined up, with a gap between each with tables around which bags are organized. People have complained about the baggage-handling but I’ve not had problems.

This concerns something else. There are three exits from the Park, at 77th, 81st, and 85th Street. One of the most frequent questions from runners: Where do I meet people after the race? In the old days there was a “Family Reunion Area” along Central Park West, but that was when the trucks were loaded alphabetically so you’d know, for example, that “G” would exit at 77th Street and so NYRR could set up alphabetical reunion areas accordingly (and I, indeed, met my wife on 77th). (The trucks had numbers, but they corresponded to letters.) People are desperate to know where to tell their people to meet them.

With trucks-by-corral, though, the alphabet doesn’t work. But the physics are the same. The southern-most trucks: leave at 77th. The northern-most: 85th.

Simple. BUT. I happen to have the lowest corral number (I’m not running) as I did last year. Am I in a southern-most or a northern-most truck? At least half of the field is affected by this. I say half because those in the middle corrals will be going out at 81st whichever way the trucks are lined up.

You would think that NYRR would understand this. It doesn’t. So before the 2010 race, after an exchange I wrote, referring to the New York Running Show:

I’m doing a show tonight that’ll include marathon logistics. If there are any other things that might be helpful to know, let me know and I’ll mention them.

So CPW is closed. Is it true that the UPS trucks will be lined up in order of numbers, lowest first? When I last did it (2006), they were alphabetical and so the Family Reunion set-up was alphabetical too. I want to be able to tell people with higher numbers that they should plan on leaving at 85th St and not 77th and to act accordingly. I assume further that NYRR knows generally where the trucks will be so that up to, say Corral 20 will be before 77th, etc., and it would be helpful for families to know.

Personally I don’t care since no one’s meeting me. But on this I don’t think NYRR is as clear as it could be.

That bold was in the original. I received no response, and the trucks were, in fact, lined up high-to-low. I wrote wondering why NYRR couldn’t tell me that beforehand.

Flash forward to 2011. I inquired again, ultimately sending an email. In response, I was told: “Joe, all is [sic] says on the website is…” with a link which simply says “UPS baggage trucks will be lined up in the finish area according to your race number”. So I followed-up asking again. No response, or to my follow-up asking for a response. Onto Facebook I went, posing the question. I was told I’d get the answer, and when I got the “official” response, it was gibberish. It did not say how the trucks would be line up. Its final comment: “Sorry if there was confusion- Exits are based on Waves. You will go from lowest numbered bus at the exit designated for your wave.” (There are three waves which correspond to corrals. So, OK, tell me which way the waves will be lined up.)

I give up. As my last post put it, I’m not running the race. If you don’t care, why should I?”

Is NYRR so stupid that no one there can figure out this basic thing? Is NYRR so arrogant that no on ether can respond intelligently to a simple question?

As we’ll see in the next installments, NYRR has gone beyond stupidity and arrogance and has left its roots as an organization dedicated to putting on quality races for people who race them far behind.

Here’s the Facebook thread, posted on the ING NYC Marathon Facebook page:

Any word yet on how the UPS trucks will be lined up at the finish, i.e., low-to-high or high-to-low? Thanks for your answer.

Like ·  · Sunday, October 23 at 4:56pm ·

Sunday, October 23 at 5:05pm · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen I know that you are looking for (and not getting) a DEFINITE answer, Joe. I can’t give you that, but everything else than high to low will NOT be logical!

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:12pm · LikeReply
  • ING New York City Marathon working on getting you the info. will post back here on Monday

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:27pm · LikeReply
  • Heriberto Medina That was quick guys! wow i knew i would count on you! thanks!

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:29pm · LikeReply
  • Howard Voletsky I believe in years past it was low to high

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:37pm · LikeReply
  • Joe Garland Rumar, Since the street numbers go up, it follows that the bag numbers would go up. When the alphabet was used, they went up. In 2010 the numbers went down however.

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:52pm · Like ·  1 personReply
  • Heriberto Medina Joe you are the man! lol

    Sunday, October 23 at 5:53pm · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen No, Howard. It has been high to low!

    Monday, October 24 at 12:44am · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen ‎@Joe: I didn’t follow that logic. Going from low to high would be the same a boarding a plane from front to rear. It will cause a lot of problems.

    Monday, October 24 at 12:45am · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen I still think that the system used all years, except the last few years, is the best: Alphabetically. Then you get the people spread out quite random from the first to the last runners.

    Monday, October 24 at 1:51am · LikeReply
  • Joe Garland

    Rumar: I didn’t think of the airplane analogy so I get what you mean.I agree on the alphabet. It would also allow for Family Reunion. The trucks could not be single letters though because you have 3 colors and 3 waves. So A,B, C green wav…See More
    Monday, October 24 at 10:36am · LikeReply
  • Joe Garland As to problems with the current system, in 2010 there was a long line at the corral 1 truck (I DNFed and got to my 0 coral about when low 3 hour folks were getting their stuff) and a chant “throw them out” began.

    Monday, October 24 at 10:47am · LikeReply
  • ING New York City Marathon Here is the official answer: The lowest numbered buses are closest to the exits- PS- there is no family reunion.

    Monday, October 24 at 11:14am · LikeReply
  • Joe Garland I don’t understand. There are 3 exits (77, 81, 85).

    Monday, October 24 at 11:45am · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen I really didn’t understand that official answer…. Can you please explain it. Does it mean that the buses are placed high number to low, as I said was the logical way? Since there are 3 exit I really don’t get it!

    Monday, October 24 at 11:47am · LikeReply
  • Joe Garland Rumar: My first volunteer job at the Marathon was baggage claim in 1979, nos. 1 to 1000. We judy made piles of bags as best we could east of the Sheep Meadow. I wonder if you had a bag among then.

    Monday, October 24 at 12:32pm · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen Sorry, Joe. In 1979 my number was 1460 🙂

    Monday, October 24 at 1:41pm · LikeReply
  • ING New York City Marathon Sorry if there was confusion- Exits are based on Waves. You will go from lowest numbered bus at the exit designated for your wave.

    Monday, October 24 at 2:10pm · LikeReply
  • Lara Kail what exit is designated with which wave? I know there is no family reunion area, but I would like to let my family know around which street on the west side they should meet me.

    Monday, October 24 at 2:45pm · LikeReply
  • Runar B. Gundersen

    So this is something new! Then we need some more explanation since exits ghave never been based on waves in any of the 33 NYC Marathons that I have run. We need some information about:
    Why is this changed?
    Which exit for which wave?
    And Jo…See More
    Monday, October 24 at 2:56pm · LikeReply

Joe Garland Corrals are based on waves. Will the UPS trucks go 1,2,3 or 3,2,1? That is from the Webster statue going north.
Monday, October 24 at 3:32pm · LikeReply

Lara noted in the comments that she would follow-up on the Facebook page. She did.  Here’s what she got:

With regards to the order of the baggage buses-has it been determined yet which park exit corresponds with which wave? I’m trying to coordinate a game plan with meeting up with family after the race, and it would be helpful to know around which street on the west side they should meet me. I’m in local competitive this year, which I’m assuming will have the same exit as wave 1?

Like ·  · 11:08am (5 hours ago) ·

    • Louis Belanger Id say way up like in lower 90s

      11:15am (5 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Lara Kail i believe the exits are at 77th, 81st and 85th (at least they were in past years I’ve run)

      11:16am (5 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Runar B. Gundersen That’s right, Lara. That’s the 3 exists. They said that they will start with low numbers this year.

      11:56am (4 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Lara Kail thanks-where did they say that?

      11:57am (4 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Runar B. Gundersen In an email 🙂

      12:05pm (4 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Joe Garland ‎@Runar: I never got an email (although I haven’t been getting them anyway) and it hasn’t been changed on the Marathon page. Runar could you quote the language?

      1:20pm (2 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Runar B. Gundersen ‎@Joe: All I was told was that the trucks will be ordered low to high.

      1:56pm (2 hours ago) · LikeReply
    • Joe Garland ‎@Runar: I wrote a blog post about it and NYRR’s non-responsiveness, so I just want to be clear. Was it an email to you alone or a general mailing? I want to be accurate.

      2:51pm (about an hour ago) · LikeReply
    • Lara Kail And I would think this is information that everyone would need, not just a select few…no? I wouldn’t think I’m the only person who is trying to coordinate meeting up with friends/family members after the race…

      3:00pm (about an hour ago) · LikeReply
    • Runar B. Gundersen Joe, I sent an email asking about different things, among them the placements of the trucks. I received an answer as I say above.

      3:00pm (about an hour ago) · LikeReply

Joe Garland ‎@Runar: Thanks. I sent an email as well specifically about it and was not told. Plus, of course, the thread I started here.

4:10pm (9 minutes ago) · LikeReply

This means what it means. So my comment must be tempered by the fact that NYRR has sent an email telling people how the trucks will be lined up. I am puzzled why it was not put on Facebook by NYRR and why I was not sent a note in response to my individual inquiry. But it is progress.