March 25, 2014

Sorry Selfie Bandits, I'm Not Impressed

So, it seems that there's a new trend in the running world. Banditing a race and documenting with selfies. Oh goody.

It all started (or as far as I'm aware, but let's be honest, this probably wasn't the first person) with Kelly Roberts, who ran the NYC Half this past month and "made the race more fun" by taking selfies with hot guys (her interpretation, certainly not mine) along the way. I admit, I first saw this and laughed, loved it and tweeted about it. I helped spread the word without thinking... and then I thought about it and I cringed. And now copy cats are popping up. Oh, lovely {sarcasm}.

First of all, have you ever run a race in Central Park before? It's CROWDED! And yes, I'm aware that the NYC Half isn't entirely in Central Park but as someone who's completed it twice, I can tell you it's pretty packed for most of the way. If you're focused on your phone and your selfies, are you focused on the person in front of you? Or those in back? I recall one NYRR race a few years back where someone stopped short right in front of me, I tripped, heard a pop in my hip, and was out with injuries for a few weeks. It sucked and all because the runner in front of me wasn't aware of how to safely run a race.

Second, can you say CREEPY? Ok, I know. Lots of us thought it was cute and "creepy" didn't even enter our minds. But, let's turn the tables. Had it been a man running and tweeting pics of hot girls along the race, would you have thought it as cute? Nope. It would've been creepy and sexist. Lots of us would've reminded everyone that we're athletes, not sex objects. I wouldn't be happy if I saw myself labeled as some "hot chick" in some dude's selfie and I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't appreciate it. If we expect the world to treat us with respect, shouldn't we do our best to set the example by which we hope to be treated?

And finally, once I found out that she was a bandit, I was just plain pissed. Seriously? She ran a race for which she wasn't entered, hadn't paid to support security and safety measures along the course, and then took selfies along the way for shits n giggles? Seems pretty self absorbed and disrespectful to me.

My experience is that the running community is a pretty awesome one. For the most part, we encourage and support each other to train for and reach our goals. Whether you run or train on suburban sidewalks, or city parks, the path should be a place of respect for one another. And the race course is tough enough without runners creating unnecessary obstacles for one another.

But of course, this is just my opinion. I'd love to hear yours and if you don't agree, please feel free to let me know.

12 comments :

  1. My thoughts were similar. Man or woman, it's creepy when a person takes pictures of unsuspecting strangers and posts them on the internet. I didn't think much more of it. It wasn't until now that I realized she didn't pay to run the race, which makes what she did more annoying.

    It doesn't surprise me that others are hopping on the bandwagon. Seems to be what people do after something goes viral.

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  2. All good points. The fact that she was a bandit makes me the most mad. I hope NYRR bans her from races.

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  3. This is perfect. Thank you for this. I thought the same thing about the creeper level but didn't know about the bandit racing. There are races where it is accepted or even encouraged but in NYC and especially after Boston, we as a community (unfortunately) need to be more concerned about security. I hope the NYRR ban her from races.

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  4. I hated this girl from the start. There was nothing clever or witty about it. It was classless (especially her sticking her tongue out at guys). I just hope NYRR follows through on their strict no banditing policy and bans her from all future races!!

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  5. Thank you, Erica. Just like you, I initially though this was funny but then I just felt it was creepy. As I mentioned to you on Twitter, if I had done something like this in one of my races I'm sure I would've been labeled a creep.

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  6. It's one of those things that seems funny/cute/clever at first...but is not any of those things upon further reflection. There's such a double standard for women & what we can get away with (i.e. pics of guys, girl power, etc). And to do this as a bandit? That's incredibly disrespectful to the people who paid money to be there... AND the security team that's there to keep us all safe. Not cool.

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  7. Saw this and had a similar chuckle. I thought it was fun and creative, but didn't know she was a bandit...this changes everything, lol.

    Thanks for speaking up like a champion, and also for addressing the creep factor. As a guy I'm ok with it, although I can't say why, and I'd never support/do the same to women. I think it's because I saw it as a one-off harmless fun thing. But you're right, this could become a trend. I'd never like to see it become a habit at races!

    - an athlete, not a sex object (although if I happen to be both someday, I still wouldn't like any selfie bandit getting in my way at races!)

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  8. Yeah I was one of those who thought it was funny initially but then I found out she was a bandit. The point about if it was a guy taking pics is interesting...didn't even think of that. I do agree with that.
    Also, why are people trying to copy this? ughhh I don't get why you would want to be seen as someone who copied someone else's idea??

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  9. I didnt know she was a bandit! That makes me so annoyed. I dont want to run a race trying to dodge selfie-ers while also trying to run, I dont know 13 miles? I agree, very disrespectful.

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  10. Oooh, I didn't know she was a "bandit"! Touche #selfiebandit ...

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  11. Agree completely! I also didn't realize she was a bandit until later. I'm also having a problem with her disrespecting the race and running in general. To me, racing is supposed to be fun. It's the reward for all the hard work you've put into training. You shouldn't have to take selfies "to make it fun".

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