Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tossed Out: No Joggling Allowed at New York City Marathon

Say it ain't so, New York City Marathon. Joggling is now forbidden at the race under a recently established set of security rules that prohibit the use of props. I had been training hard for the past four months for what I had hoped would be my biggest joggling event ever -- an attempt to break my own world record at the largest marathon in the world.

It was not to be. I got an email from one of the race's PR representatives letting me know that "the use of props, which would include juggling during the race, is not permissible at the event."

Banned beanbags
My three little beanbags have unfortunately been tossed in with a series of banned items, which were set in place as part of a beefed-up security protocol after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Other prohibited items on the list include: firearms, knives, Mace, drones, survey balloons, mini-copters, fireworks, explosives, toxic chemicals, and selfie-sticks.

The great Salt Lake City Marathon joggle-off between me and Zach Warren.

So I'll be leaving my 2 1/4-inch, millet-filled, spherical security risks at home and transform my marathon juggling self into a normal, non-joggling marathon runner on November 1. If you look closely at me on race day, you might notice that I'm actually juggling invisible beanbags (which I hope are allowed)! And no, I will not be documenting my race with a drone or a selfie-stick.

It's a shame that New York has abandoned its long history of supporting joggling. About 25 years ago, legendary NYC Marathon race director Fred Lebow invited former marathon juggling record holder Albert Lucas to run NYC while joggling, telling Juggler's World (yes, that's a real publication), "I see joggling as only positive ... We don't have a joggling division yet, but you never know what can happen." Joggling also made the front page of the New York Times a few years ago with a great article by Sara Beck, "3 Beanbags and 26.2 Miles." It's sad to see that Lebow's thoughts of a future joggling division have been extinguished.

Here's what I think: If I can check into a hotel with a mobile app as I run at high speed while juggling, I should be allowed to joggle the NYC Marathon. But that's just me.

On the bright side, I have some exciting joggling plans for 2016, at a marathon that welcomes beanbags with open palms.