Thursday, November 4, 2010

Run for the money: The race is on to sell New York City Marathon spots on Craigslist

The hottest black-market item in the city has wanna-be marathoners racing to the Web.

With the New York City Marathon just days away, dozens of registered runners have taken to Craigslist offering to give up their spots - for a premium.

Demand is fierce. A record 120,000 people applied for 60,000 slots in the famed marathon.

"An injury is keeping me from running this year, but my bad luck could be your good fortune," read a posting for a female bib with entry numbers being sold for a modest $300.

There are just as many ads from unregistered roadsters eager to hoof it through all five boroughs Nov. 7.

"I am hoping to find a bib for New York so all of my training isn't wasted!" read a post from someone willing to fork over $250 for a bib.

Securing a place in the race the legit way costs $196 for American runners or $276 for overseas marathoners, and there are no refunds.

That means those who win the lottery for bibs but pull out because of an injury or other reasons have no official way to recoup their cash.

A 35-year-old Brooklyn man offering his spot online said he didn't feel any guilt about flouting the rules.

"In a way, I'm breaking the rules, but on the other hand they're charging me for a race that I'm not going to run," said the man, who pulled out because he didn't train.

"It's like returning a pair of jeans that I'm not using."

Within an hour of posting his bib for $500, he said, he received eight offers.

Officials noted that anyone caught selling their bib will be disqualified for life, but conceded there's little they can do.

"You can have the most elaborate, expensive and technical vault in the world, but if you want to break into the bank, you'll break into that bank," said Richard Finn of the New York Road Runners.

"If you really want to get into the marathon and you're willing to pay a lot of money for it, you can get a spot."