(07-27-2005) Marathon Hopefuls Bid Cash, U2 Tickets to Run -- Bloomberg.com* - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-27-2005, 07:10 AM   #1
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(07-27-2005) Marathon Hopefuls Bid Cash, U2 Tickets to Run -- Bloomberg.com*

Marathon Hopefuls Bid Cash, U2 Tickets to Run in New York City

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- A record 85,000 people entered last month's lottery for a chance to run in the New York City Marathon. Now some who weren't among the 52,000 selected are risking a lifetime ban by trying to buy their way in.

Would-be runners are offering as much as $500 in cash and concert tickets on Web swap-site Craig's List for numbers that will be worn by participants in the Nov. 6 event. Anyone caught will be banned from all events organized by the New York Road Runners, the group behind the 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometers) race through New York's five boroughs.

``I don't want to do anything illegal, but I would really like to run the race this year,'' said Brian Patterson, 28, a 6th- grade teacher from New York. Patterson placed two ads on Craig's List, one offering cash and the other tickets to an October U2 performance.

The New York City Marathon, watched by about 2 million people lining the course and another 260 million television viewers worldwide, draws seasoned athletes as well as rookies from about 100 nations. This year's race, sponsored by Amsterdam-based financial company ING Groep NV, will award more than $600,000 in prizes.

Just the experience of running in the world's biggest marathon, a race that starts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge linking the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn and ends in Central Park in Manhattan, can be enough for some people to risk getting caught. The rise of online sites like Craig's List, where people can find jobs, apartments or dates, has made taking that chance easier.

New Yorker Michele O'Donaghue, 31, said she's willing to pay $300 for an entry for her brother, David O'Donaghue, 30, who has bought airplane tickets to travel from his home in Dublin for the marathon and lost out in the lottery.

`Doesn't Mind'

``I didn't know the penalty, but my brother doesn't mind,'' she said. ``He really just wants to run the NYC marathon.''

There's no estimate for how many run with someone else's number, said Road Runners Chief Executive Mary Wittenberg. The group catches about 100 illegal runners each year, she said.

``It's a little like scalping tickets at a pop concert or basketball game,'' Wittenberg said. ``It's a hot ticket from June to November.''

The group monitors Web sites and sends warnings to people wanting to buy entries, she said.

Craig's List hasn't been contacted by New York Road Runners about the postings, Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster said. The site forbids illegal activities under its terms of use, he said.

`Leave Town'

The Road Runners, founded in 1958, counts 40,000 members and conducts 100 running-related events each year, from clinics and lectures to dozens of shorter races such as the New Year's Eve 5- kilometer midnight run in Central Park.

``If you are banned from New York Road Runners' races, you may as well leave town because the club virtually controls this city,'' said Toby Tanser, a Runner's World magazine writer and a board member of New York Road Runners.

The club's lottery isn't the only way to secure a place in the marathon. Numbers are given to club members who run in nine of its races during the previous year, people who have finished 15 New York City Marathons and those who have lost in the lottery for three years in a row.

Fast runners are also granted entry. Men who have run a marathon under 2 hours and 50 minutes and women who've finished under 3 hours and 18 minutes get places at the starting line.

Part of the Journey

``Qualifying for the marathon or reaching a qualification time is rewarding,'' said Tanser, who has run the New York City Marathon four times. ``It's part and parcel of the journey there.''

All together, about 37,000 people are expected at the starting line for this year's marathon. Many of those eligible don't run because of injuries and illness or because they ``haven't been able to put in the appropriate training,'' said Alice Yoo, manager of the New York Road Runners executive office.

Entering with an illegally purchased number means that the runner's time is recorded under the original owner's name, said Wittenberg. That's discouragement enough for many, she said.

Computer chips, tied to competitors' running shoes to track each person's time, are coded to the identity of the registered entrant. The chips and the numbers are to be distributed at a Health and Fitness Expo at New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, Nov. 3 through 5.

Then there are the ``bandit-catchers,'' who specialize in spotting any runners who jump into the race without numbers.

``We'll have bandit-catchers stationed at several points along the course,'' Yoo said. ``Giving away their locations and numbers could potentially create interest in mapping out a plan to avoid them.''
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:46 AM   #2
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That's incredibly lame. Don't they have any charity spots available?? At least they could "buy" their way in by donating money to charity. I ran the London Marathon with a spot from a kidney charity and raised £1,600 for them. That's a much better way to do it IMO.
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Old 07-27-2005, 08:59 AM   #3
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Im sorry but there is no marathon or anything else that could get me to give away my U2 tickets! I agree with the charity idea though that seems like a sensible way of doing it.
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Old 07-27-2005, 03:18 PM   #4
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Give up a chance to see U2 for the privilege of running through New York?
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Old 07-27-2005, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Give up a chance to see U2 for the privilege of running through New York?
LOL, that's what I was wondering. No contest as to which choice I'd go with.

Besides, I've walked through New York City, and that alone made my feet hurt...I can't even begin to imagine running through that city.

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Old 07-28-2005, 04:59 AM   #6
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Not neccesarily about giving up U2. It's a lot easier to get U2 tix for any given show than to get a number in NY if you don't have one. If I were in that sitch, I would just trade my tix and get new ones. Fortunately, I have both my # for NY05 and my U2 tix!
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Old 07-28-2005, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by bklynstevester
Not neccesarily about giving up U2. It's a lot easier to get U2 tix for any given show than to get a number in NY if you don't have one. If I were in that sitch, I would just trade my tix and get new ones. Fortunately, I have both my # for NY05 and my U2 tix!
I would do the same.

And you actually have a NY05 number?

Congratulations. Please post after the event, or email me belilindt at gmail dot com

Im so envious. I would love to know your experience.

Im not at the point of being able to run a marathon just yet but its my dream. I'll get there.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:25 PM   #8
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My dad did the NYC Marathon.Twice. The 1st time was in 2001, which he said was amazing and then again last year. You should see the people who obviously didn't train enough. Never,ever run unless you have to.
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Old 08-05-2005, 04:13 AM   #9
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beli --- it's easy to get a # if you live in NY, b/c you can run the qualifying races as opposed to just getting lucky in the number lottery. Unfortunately you still have to train.

I've only run NY, but if you're a runner and you want to get to a marathon, I'm sure you will. It takes time and commitment, but it's worth it. feel free to email me with any questions. @ steve@quickbyte.net
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