Illegal Aid in a Marathon (Read 957 times)


     To save others a trip to the urban dictionary....


    Really? FFS.


      Wouldn't a 40-year-old dog be some kind of world record? Or are we talking 40 in dog years?

      Runners run


         I'm still trying to figure out how this works. Do you have to tie the leash around your waist? Will a dog really pull hard enough the whole time to be something other than a hindrance?


        I'm still trying to figure out how the dog would be a help anyway. Aren't people faster than dogs over most race distances? Maybe in a 5K, I don't know...


          It is really a question of the aide being available to all competitors, if the locals are offering to hand out the same thing to all competitors it is not against the intent of the rule.  The intent of the rule is that you get an advantage over me, because you have someone helping just you outside the area that I can get aide from the race.  In races I have been in, you can get personal aide from within the aide station zones.


          Illegal pacers irritate me more than illegal aide.


          If you are going to win or win an AG award, I would not except illegal aide.  If you are not, the RD will likely not care.


          A couple of years back the Women's winner at Milwaukee Marathon got DQ'd for using headphones (money and RCAchampionship), then they DQ'd the 2nd place woman because her family jumped out of a van and handed her a water bottle mid-course.  So the 3rd place woman became the champion.


          I wonder about locals handing out stuff, hosing folks off etc. I've certainly taken an orange slice from a spectator from time to time.


          Speaking of illegal aid, we have a local gal who often races with her big dog. That dog sure does look like he's pulling her. She's currently the Master's Division women's leader. It kind of ticks me off, and I'm stunned that nobody in her division has complained.

          Long dead ... But my stench lingers !




            Let's say you're running an official, sanctioned half marathon.  Race day happens to be the hottest day of the year (literally)  -- a good 20F above the temps most in the area have trained in. Everyone is suffering in the heat, and struggling to manage through it. Let's say there is one runner who has their family delivering towels filled with ice, and zip lock bags of ice to her on the course.  They drive up next to her, hand over fresh supplies, then meet her again a couple miles up the road.


            Do you complain to her (or the RD)?  Or just think "crap...wish I thought of that"?  Or just let it each his own...and no one ran a decent race today anyway?


            Are these people available for hire? And do you know if they will also deliver pizza? And hot chocolate, if it's rainy and cold. I'm thinking around mile 20 of my marathon . . .

            Retired &  Loving It


               I would not except illegal aide. 


              So just to be clear, you're OK with undocumented immigrant personal assistants. (sorry)


                This is something that I was wondering about, but haven't actually seen in print before now. I just stumbled across this in the rules for a fall marathon that I was looking at:


                " One rule that many people aren't aware of is the rule of illegal aid. This is true in all races where they give awards. Runners need to use the aid stations only for their aid (or carry what they need with them). If you are getting water, gel, or any other aid from someone other than aid station workers, you are actually getting illegal aid. You are getting help that others in the race aren't able to get. Now, if you are just trying to finish, chances are people won’t notice that your spouse is meeting you every half mile and giving you the secret potion that you need. However, if you are vying for an age-group award, it may become an issue. Technically, according to USATF and RRCA rules (which are the rules we abide by), this is grounds for disqualification. The marathon committee’s hope is that everyone on the course will act with integrity and finish the race within these rules."


                My assumption here, in reading between the lines,  is that the marathon committee wants everyone to be aware of the rules, but they would rather not have to deal with this issue, and they do not intend to actively enforce these rules. Except in the case that someone wins an age-group or over-all award, and there is a complaint made. Outside of that situation, the marathon committee hopes everyone will comply; you know, the honor system.


                My only purpose in starting this thread was because I have seen people mention getting special assistance from friends or family in a marathon, and in fact my brother had offered to ride his bike along side me (probably with a whip to keep me moving) for my upcoming race. In reading the race rules online, it seems that this would not be a wise thing to do.

                Retired &  Loving It



                  I'm still trying to figure out how the dog would be a help anyway. Aren't people faster than dogs over most race distances? Maybe in a 5K, I don't know...


                  There's probably a dog in your neighborhood that could beat any human at any distance.  Some dogs could sprint faster than Usain Bolt and and easily run 26 miles in under 2 hours.


                  Let's be honest, as a species, we're not particularly good at running.  Yes, people can run down an antelope after 8 hours (there are some cool youtube videos out there), but dogs (wolves) also excel in outlasting faster prey.


                  I used to run in this park on weekends and I would see this fast local runner pass through on his long runs.  He had a dog with him, a lab-ish mutt, and he would throw a tennis ball over and over and the dog would sprint in different directions, jump in the creek, and look as happy as can be.  An hour later he would pass through going the other way and the dog would still be happily running around, probably covered 3x the distance the runner did, and still be full of energy.


                  Toward the end of her life, I did some 2 mile runs with my house-bound, 14 year old, 5-lb toy poodle.  She was way faster than me and had more energy at the end.


                  In a race of human versus dog, I'd bet on the dog.

                  Roses Revenge

                    One of the worst races I did had that rule about no aid outside of official aid stations.


                    Then they started running out of water and whatever sports drink they were offering.  And cups.  Then the volunteers got tired of people complaining and left.  The the volunteers at the finish line decided they should close down and gave what food was left to the runners and that had already finished and there families.  By the time those of us in the back of the pack got there, there was nothing left.  And the posted time for when the course/race was to close was still an hour away.


                    That's when I learned to be self supporting.

                    Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!



                      I agree. In my fastest marathon I ran the last 5 miles next to another runner who was having a tough time. She had a running partner or coach (an official entrant) with her giving her encouragement '' "You can do it. ...Dig deep...You have it in you... I just listened in and kept up with them and then passed them near the finish line -- that guy really helped me! Was that unfair pacing?


                      Not for you it wasn't but it may have been for her as he was definitely pacing HER, not you.  Maybe pacing is OK at that race?


                      At a recent 5k, I noticed someone in my age group ahead of me around mile 2.5. My competitive spirit came out and I slowly caught up and passed her, achieving a PR. Again, unfair pacing?


                      No.  That's called racing.

                      It's definitely a gray area but there are certain situations that pacing IS unfair.  I won't even mention drafting behind a pacer as that certainly wouldn't be fair (oh, I just mentioned it).  Remember that most of the time this doesn't amount to anything and no one cares.


                      PS - Bob, I know that one of your strengths as a marathoner is your sense of the correct pace at a given race given the conditions.  This is a skill that has to be learned from hard work and experience.  Pacers, in a sense, negate that advantage you have over people who don't have as good a sense of the correct pace as you do.  They just do what their pacer does, no thinking or re-evaluating required as the race progresses.  I personally believe that that is an unfair advantage over someone who has learned how to pace themselves in a race.  Again, it makes no difference and doesn't matter for anyone but a racer competing.

                      This is different than the official pacers including the elite pacers at races like Berlin & London.  Everyone knows who they are and what they're going to do.


                      Anyway, that's my feelings and they're not too strongly against being paced.


                      Options,Account, Forums

                        Maybe I'm just too accustomed to "running" with my dog, which is more akin to dragging a boat anchor through a tire dump.


                        That's how a lot of dogs feel about running with their humans.

                        It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                          One time I was racing and there was this girl in front of me whose boyfriend would jump in every so often and pace her. The course was a loop so he could sprint ahead and across and give her encouragement and help her out at key points.  It was a bit annoying and disheartening to have someone right in front of me getting constant encouragement.  Roll eyes  We ended up finishing a few seconds apart and the experience kind of toughened me up mentally.  I only mention this to show how the "other" competitors might view your brother helping out on the bike.  That is, they might not like it so much.


                          As far as spectator aid goes,  in this day and age (call me paranoid!) I would be leery to accept anything from a stranger during a race.

                          "Shut up Legs!" Jens Voigt


                             Aren't people faster than dogs over most race distances? Maybe in a 5K, I don't know...


                            A dog beat me (and about 96% of the fastest half marathon field in the country) at the New Bedford Half Marathon this year. And it wasn't a particularly athletic looking dog either, some little terrier mix or something. A border line chicken dog. And to make matters worse his human was wearing compression shorts and no shirt. It's taking a lot of strength to admit to getting beat by a guy in tri shorts and his chicken dog.

                            Runners run



                              I don't understand what they mean by pacing here.  If I run a race with a friend to help them get a goal is that pacing? I would suppose it is.  How about if I pass someone I know near the end and tell them to stay with me to the finish?  Is that pacing?  What if i don't them but tell them to stay with me.  I do this a lot in 5ks  with high school kids who aren't used to running when they are tired in a race.


                              Good questions.


                              If my running group decides to enter a race en masse and yell encouragement and run at close to the same pace, is that illegal pacing?   If you consider that solo runners don't have that advantage, perhaps it is.


                              OTOH, if that's the case, what about some of the marathon majors where the Ethiopians are clearly running together? (I think Wesley Korir commented on this in an interview, although not in a derogatory way).  I've also seen occasions where some elites give/offer each other water bottles in some of the majors during the race.


                              I don't know the right answer, but if hardly anyone makes a fuss when this goes on at the highest levels, should the average runner be DQ'ed over such things?


                                Lot's of stuff listed here that I couldn't give a damn about. I run a lot of races on open roads so what really pisses me off is when the runner I'm behind gets a bottle handoff from a car or bike right in front of me and I have to watch out. This makes me want to fight.