The Wall Street Journal takes a look at a different form of banditry in a piece devoted to runners.
Peter Sagal, host of National Public Radio's "Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me!," provided the fodder for the piece by sneaking into the Chicago Marathon and writing about the experience for Runner's World.
Sagal wrote: "Okay, I know it's wrong. But I brought my own bottle of sports drink and and packet of chews, started at mile five, so I didn't gum up the start, and exited at mile 25, so as not to gum up the finish or claim any unpaid-for cookies, bananas, or medals. True, I did refill the bottle at the aid stations — it was a hot day! – but didn't otherwise use any resources the legit runners paid for. And I did engage in helpful badinage with other runners and waved to the crowd in a charming way, so maybe I earned it. But I will be happy to send a check for the Gatorade to the Bank of America, if so requested."
Like many who criticized Sagal, I view banditting a race as a form of stealing. Not taking the aid provided, or a finisher's prize, is perhaps noble. Sagal's rationalization, though, ignores the bigger costs paid by race promoters: permits, law enforcement, timing, course set up, marketing, registration etc.
To say that a bandit doesn't take anything because he or she packs their own water is self-serving and ludicrous.