Controlling a Hungry Crowd
To keep greedy runners in check, race organizers take strict measures.
"I have seen some races that simply assign more volunteers in the food distribution area to make sure people aren't carrying off boxes. That is what we do at the race that I direct," says Phil Stewart, race director of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom.
"You need to have volunteers who are not afraid to be assertive if they see someone taking an excessive amount of food," he says. "If this behavior is not nipped in the bud, it can spread quickly."
Some race directors pack food in individual bags to hand to each runner, while others rely on tickets, which runners must present to get refreshments. Tickets are especially popular at events that serve post-race beer, he says.
Runners say it's ultimately up to race directors to ensure all participants get food and drinks.
"If I pay 80-plus dollars for a race, and it says food will be at the finish line, there better be food at the finish line. No excuses," says Suzan Kurtz, 36, of Port Orange, Florida.
But Jill Kroll, 31, of Knoxville, Tennessee, concedes that race organizers have a tough job when it comes to managing the refreshments just right.
"If a race runs out of food, people complain," she says. "If a race has too much extra food that goes to waste, people complain."
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