I registered for a race but didn't wear my bib.
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
I was late arriving at a race due to heavy traffic getting there and didn't have time to pick up my official number at the registration site, which was quite a distance from the starting line. I was officially registered for the race and paid the entry fee. Since I didn't want to miss the official start of the race, I went directly to the start instead of chancing it and going to the registration site first. As such, even though I was officially registered, I ran without a bib number. Should I have been treated as a "bandit" in the race as if I didn't register at all and not be included in the overall results?
Very interesting dilemma. I wonder how often this situation actually occurs. I've never been faced with it before. In some races we actually mail out the participant's bib numbers in advance and of course on occasion some may inadvertently forget to bring their bib along with them to the race itself. However, we always have a "bib replacement" station set up to accommodate these very few and remote cases.
I suppose if it happened at one of my races and someone came up to me after the race and explained this to me, I would certainly be willing to offer the individual their race t-shirt and all other "goodies" offered to all registered runners and perhaps even offer them a finisher's medal if we were giving those out at the finish. However, I am not sure it would be appropriate to just take their word for it as to when they started and what their finishing time was even if they had it on their watch and then manually input their result in the overall finishing reports, especially if their results showed that they had won an award or placed in an age group. That just would not be fair to all the other participants in the race.
If we want to get really technical about it and the race was a USATF sanctioned event, there are several USATF rules that speak to wearing bibs. For LDR races Rule 243-3 "Runners identification shall consist of running numbers pinned securely on the front if each runner's uniform and displayed throughout the race." Rule 143-4 and 143-5 also speak to wearing bibs. It says in 143-4 that "not wearing an assigned bib may be grounds for disqualification under Rule 145-2."
At some point, every runner needs to take "personal responsibility" for their own situation and not burden the race with their individual problems. If the race director accommodated them in this case, it could back fire and cause many others to become upset. File that under "no good deed goes unpunished." The lesson here is next time leave yourself plenty of time to get to the race on time so that you can get an official finishing time.