A few years ago, my mom and I registered online for the Owl's Roost Rumble in Greensboro. This was in the sad, confusing time before GPS came to our family, so we printed directions off of Mapquest and hit the road early that Saturday morning. Mapquest mislead us. Severely.
We finally found the park and pulled into the parking lot just as they were rounding up the last runners at the starting line. It was too late to pick up our race bibs with our numbers, but we jumped into the crowd just in time for the starting gun.
It was a lovely little trail run and I was pretty happy with my pace as I neared the chute. There was a race volunteer at the finish line, cheerfully calling out numbers of runners and their times as they crossed. When she saw me coming, her smile vanished. As I gave my last little sprint across the finish line, she yelled, "BANDIT!" Immediately, other people turned and shook their heads disapprovingly at me.
Even though I had never heard that word in the running world, I suddenly realized what 'bandit' meant. "Oh! I paid! I did! I just didn't have time to pick up my race number!" I immediately started apologizing and pleading to still get my official race time. (Which they did give to me. They were very understanding when they realized they did, in fact, receive their $20 from me.)
After that, I did some research on 'race bandits.' It turns out that there are these meanie-cheater runners who just crash races with paying and they are almost universally hated in the running world. (Which makes sense because they are stealing OUR water and Powerade!)
All this rambling is to explain why I was so sad to see that the Summer of Love 10-miler (which a friend JUST discovered for me today) closed registration yesterday. If I was a true bandit (instead of just being mistaken for one once), I could jump in, but that is clearly not an option.
Luckily, with a little more web-digging, I found that there IS race day registration! Now I just have to convince someone to go to Wilmington with me! Anybody want to run Saturday evening?