Ben Pawelak, the Indianapolis 500 Festivals' Ticketing and Customer Relations Coordinator, wrote to me today:
First of all, I would like to thank you for your e-mail. In moving to the D-Tag this year we considered many factors, but most of all was the overall health and safety of participants. Historically, we have seen a good number of people who faint or suffer injuries in the Mini-Marathon do so while they are waiting to have their chip removed. The switch to the D-Tag will help lessen the number of people who suffer injuries at the conclusion of the race. Rest assured that, as with all aspects of the Mini-Marathon, we will continue to monitor the D-Tag’s effect and will discuss changes for the 2010 race.
As a three-time participant in the Mini, I understand that fainting may occur at the finish line. However, attributing that solely to getting chips removed is ludicrous. Any person who has appropriately trained for a half-marathon knows they should keep moving to cool down after completing a race.
If there truly was a health issue, wouldn't the Mini Marathon organizers more appropriately design the finish line area?
Again, to be true community stewards, we need to look at all waste we generate. Proudly applauding ourselves for bottle recycling while contributing to the amount of waste we generate in our community sends an extremely mixed message.
I urge you to reconsider the use of disposable chips for future races. My children thank you.
We'll see whether I hear back.