In a letter to runners e-mailed on Thursday morning, New York Road Runners announced that entrants in the 2012 ING New York City Marathon will now have the option of either checking a bag or choosing a No-Baggage “Early Exit.”
The change in the two-week-old “no baggage” policy was announced jointly by NYRR and City officials.
“We’re really pleased today to be able to share good news,” said Wittenberg in a media conference call on Thursday afternoon. “We’ve communicated with our runners that we’ve heard them.” After re-convening with City officials, she said, space has been reconfigured “that will enable us to offer a baggage option for those runners who prefer it while–and this is really critical–still easing the finish line congestion while offering a better and safer post-race experience. We think we’ve got a terrific win-win situation at this point.”
The reaction of runners to the August 23 no-baggage policy was largely negative. Within about 48 hours, NYRR went to the City to ask if everyone could put their heads back together on seeking a solution.
Runners who choose the No-Baggage “Early Exit” option will have the earliest exit from Central Park, and will receive a Marathon Finish Line Poncho and a limited-edition long-sleeved t-shirt. They will also have the quickest access to the Family Reunion area, “Call Home” stations, and public transportation. Runners who choose to check a bag in the Start Village will pick up their bags at exits farther up Central Park’s West Drive.
“We at City Hall and in the mayor’s office believe very strongly that Road Runners and the Marathon are one of the crown jewels of the city,” said Howard Wolfson, deputy mayor for government affairs and communications–and a member of NYRR–on the conference call. “We have worked very closely with the Road Runners over the past year and obviously the past couple of weeks very intensively to strike the right balance between a set of sometimes-competing concerns” regarding runner preferences, safety, and neighborhood concerns.
“I think,” Wolfson said, “we have struck a very good balance.”
For details on the modified baggage policy, click here.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg