It appears race bandits tried to get away with finisher’s medals at this past weekend’s Miami Marathon.

Miami Marathon co-founder Frankie Ruiz filmed a number of ‘finishers’ in the 5K, one of the race weekend’s distances, without an official race number, a term called banditting, taking medals. He says there were upwards of 70 runners and walkers who “tried to steal medals.”

RELATED: Boston Marathon finisher takes second race medal for wife.

Ruiz filmed the inflow of runners coming through the chute past the finish line where race medals, among other amenities, like food and water, are distributed. Many of the finishers have official race bibs on the front of their shirt while others don’t have a bib (race number) at all. To several runners, in the video embedded in this story, Ruiz asks “do you have your bib?” Many answer “no.” One runner unzipped his jacket to show his undershirt seemingly searching for a number that wasn’t there.

In some instances, Ruiz took the medal back.


“Congrats to all the registered finishers of today’s Tropical 5K,” Ruiz says via his Facebook post featuring the video. “Now, to the 70 or so who tried to steal medals and other race amenities today… first, thank the paying runners, because without them you couldn’t have enjoyed the safe closed streets, the medical help, the food, the water, parking, shuttles, music, etc. Then secondly, look to see if you are in one of these videos, I hope you are just a little embarrassed because I certainly am for you. I wonder if you shoplift and steal from your fellow runner neighbours too? We have more video we might be sharing shortly.”

Race medals, among other things including permits, T-shirts and much more, are included in the cost of registration. Early bird registration for the Miami Tropical 5K is US$35, or about $43.

Derek Murphy of Marathon Investigation fame shared the video adding that “once again, the Miami [Marathon] is tough on bandits, they also stopped runners during the half-marathon and marathon pulling them from the course just before the finish.” In 2017, Murphy reports that the Miami Marathon pulled as many as 200 bandits from the course in a crackdown on unregistered people competing in the race.

The Fitbit Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon on Sunday featured upwards of 20,000 runners, according to the Miami Herald. The Tropical 5K was held on the Saturday.

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  • Newton says:

    Why do the organizers give out medals to non-bib wearers? As one lady said “they just give it to me”. I’ve never been to a race where you just grab your finisher medal. It’s always handed to me or placed around my neck at the finish line. If Miami race organizers are serious about bandits then the medal distribution is a weak area.

  • Shannon says:

    Medals are typically handed out by volunteers. You can’t put them in confrontational situations where they are “policing” who get’s medals. Finish shoots are also very crowded and fast moving – asking for proof of bib right when they cross the finish line would cause serious congestion. Truthfully though neither of those reasons matter. A race should not have to verify every person. It seems you put the fault on the Miami Marathon for handing out medals to everyone before checking. But why didn’t the person that said “they just gave it to me” hand back the medal? If she had any integrity she would have said “thanks but no thanks” and given it back. To put in a different perspective – Should a store check every person’s purse/backpack/bag before exiting to verify they haven’t stolen anything? And if a store doesn’t catch that you put an item you didn’t pay for in your bag, are you entitled to keep it? No, just because you didn’t get caught doesn’t mean you didn’t steal.

  • Lori says:

    I have run many races. One of which was the Miami half. It is very common that the race stipulates you must where your bib where it is visible from the front. Probably for a variety Of reasons but if it isn’t visible you don’t get a medal. I agree with this practice. If someone is running the race without a bib they’re not going to suddenly be honest about it at the finish.

  • James Musters says:

    I believe the above video is from the Tropical 5K, on the day before the Marathon.

    On the Marathon course there are a number of bandit catchers.
    See this video of them in operation, expelling bandits near the finish on the 1/2 course.

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