Sponsors want entrants at the expo, for one.
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
There's a marathon/half-marathon that I've been participating in for the last five years. Organizers used to allow a family member or friend to pick up a runner’s packet as long as they had a copy of the runner’s driver's license and a signed note from the runner. Since then, they have only allowed runners to pick up their own packets. The race is on a Saturday, so to comply with this rule, I need to take time off of work. What's the reason for this? Shouldn’t I have the right to send someone to pick up my packet if I give proper consent? - Jamie Crosby
Great question! I suspect one of the biggest reasons this race wants runners to pick up their own packets is to maximize the number of race participants attending the expo. To secure sponsors, organizers often must promise a certain amount of foot traffic passing by the booths or a certain number of runners who might want to sample the products. The organizers may also be trying to prevent bib numbers being transferred without approval, but requiring in-person pickup won’t necessarily eliminate this.
That said, I agree that it can be incredibly inconvenient for a runner to personally pick up his or her own number. Requiring identification and a signed note from the entrant seems like a much more customer-friendly solution. Generally, even when this is allowed, most runners pick up their packets themselves.
When a race does require in-person pickup, this should be clearly stated in the entry information. Then, runners can take that policy into consideration when deciding whether to enter. Many race organizers will work out an arrangement for you if you contact them in advance to explain your circumstances, but don’t count on that.