NYC and the [Broken] Lottery System

Dear NYRR and ING NYC Marathon,

Today was the lottery for the NYC Marathon, a Marathon with had 90,000+ people in the non guaranteed lottery.   Additionally, a bunch of people already in through the guaranteed entry program, but that’s besides the point.  about 350 people had the chance to go to Columbus Circle to be the Opening Day Crowd and some of them won entries into the Marathon and were given their bib.  And by some, I mean 10, but that’s besides the point.  Then, it was a ridiculously long period of watching names scroll down the side of NYRR TV to see if people had been chosen.  Yes, 90,000+ people watching for 9,000 slots.  How the h**l does that make any sense???

First, not everyone on the east coast has a noon lunch, noon being the time the Opening Day started and we thought that names would begin to be released.  I didn’t log on to see Al Roker speak, as much as I love the guy, or TJ (or whatever her name was) spin a wheel or whoever the commentators were talk about things other then the lottery.  If you say people are going to be announced, then names should be announced.

Then, there was the log-in feature on  For whatever reason, that was shut down until tomorrow.  Why, I have no idea.  Though there was a search application added, it was added who knows how long after names were drawn.  How about letting people log on like we were expecting and not have to find a search site that wasn’t where anyone expected it.

Now tonight, people who were accepted are now being dropped because their credit cards weren’t ‘valid’ even though they checked them numbers and the correct info was entered (though there were a few cases where people had cards stolen in the past few days and their accounts froze). What the?!?!

The purpose of this letter is to tell you to get your crap together.  You’re a major marathon and have been around far too long for this type of thing to happen.  My suggestion is to move up the opening day and the lottery to February or March.  Some races opened and sold out (read, the Chicago and Marine Corps Marathon) so there are 2 big ones people can’t get into.  Apparently, last year had a system that people thought worked.  I didn’t apply last year but if it worked, why’d you change it?  You’re getting close to $200 a head for this thing that people want to do, so make it right- you’ve been around long enough!!

Now, I will still run your race as I’m running for charity.  I’ve known since mid February-March that I would be on their team either way and they’ve been more than helpful.  Lesson for you NYRR, listen to your runners and applicants, especially those on facebook, twitter and those emailing- they got some good ideas!!

Thanks and see you in November anyways,


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