One of the more positive aspects of Tyne Bridge Harriers is the number of people we attract to the club with little or no prior experience of competitive running. This in turn leads to more athletes entering races; be it on the road, cross-country or on the track.
So it’s important to remind members, especially those new to racing, that runners should only swap numbers with the prior consent of the race organiser.
Under new rules set out by UK Athletics, athletes who run in transferred numbers in UKA-licensed road races without permission are to be disqualified. Both they and those who pass on the number will be subject to disciplinary action via the appropriate national organisation.
Although it only mentions road races above, the same ruling applies to almost every other running event. This is primarily for health & safety reasons. Say a runner collapsed wearing someone else’s number, how could organisors identify that runner and contact their next of kin.
But another reason, one more commonly identified in races, is if numbers are swapped to athletes of another sex or of higher ability. This can have a major impact on individual and team results at the end of the race. A classic example occurred in the Great North Run a few years ago. A current female member – running for a different club at the time – gave her race number to a male friend who then proceeded to have the run of his life, finishing ‘4th Lady’ overall. To compound matters, the female member was then asked for an interview by a local newspaper to find out her training secrets for such a great time!
So if you have entered an event but can’t compete for whatever reason, please check with race organisors to see if they will legally transfer your number to another athlete (n.b. some may charge a small administrative cost). If you can’t transfer your number, please, for your own welfare and for the reputation of the club, do not give your number to someone else.