Two weeks ago, the New York Road Runners announced that there would be no more baggage check at the NYC Marathon, citing the congestion that the baggage pick-up has after the race. The decision infuriated many runners, especially those who don't have friends or family to bring them items after the 26.2 mile race ("So you now expect runners to carry: cash, Metro card, phone, keys while they run?"), even though the Marathon would supply a fleece-lined poncho. Now, after all the outrage, the group has decided to bring back baggage check—though in a modified version—want to check your bags? then no poncho for you!
New York Road Runners Club president Mary Wittenberg just sent a letter to members:
We have some good news to share with you. We've heard your feedback regarding the No-Baggage policy we announced recently, and we understand your concerns. We have worked with our city agency partners and have developed a new solution for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. You'll now have the option of either checking a bag for this year's race or choosing a No-Baggage "Early Exit" option.
This adjusted 2012 marathon plan includes the use of reconfigured space that will enable us to offer a baggage option for those of you who prefer it, while still easing finish-line congestion and providing a better and safer post-race experience.
You will be able to choose from two options:
• New No-Baggage "Early Exit" option: If you choose this option, you'll be guaranteed the earliest exit from Central Park. After you finish, you'll receive a Marathon Finish Line Poncho and a long-sleeve limited-edition T-shirt, and have fastest access to the Family Reunion area, "Call Home" stations, and public transportation.
• Baggage option: If you choose this option, you'll check baggage in the Start Village and pick up your bag as you leave Central Park at exits farther up on West Drive. Please note that we still anticipate congestion, and it could take up to an hour to retrieve your bag and exit the park. The bag will be smaller than in years past (although large enough to hold shoes, warm clothing, and small personal items).
Our commitment to putting your safety first led to the introduction of the new No-Baggage policy. Although the adjustments to the 2012 plan allow us to offer a choice, the more people who choose the No-Baggage option, the better your post-finish experience will be. We encourage all of you to seriously consider the advantages of our No-Baggage "Early Exit" option.
We will e-mail you on Monday with more details and directions to log in to your profile to make your choice. Please watch for this e-mail as the timeframe for your response will be short. Once you select your Baggage option, you'll be able to download your registration form (including your bib number). Check out our FAQs for more information or direct any additional questions to our customer service team, who will respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible over the next few days and leading up to race day, November 4. You can also call 212.860.4455, and press 2 for customer service.
Please know that all of us at NYRR are deeply committed to you. We hope that having two options to choose from will help you have the very best marathon-day experience.
On behalf of our entire team,
Folks are happy so far!