Is it me or are there a lot of stories like this lately? Last year at the Marine Corps 17.75k I ran, the winner was disqualified because, although he did run the winning time, he had run with someone else’s bib number. Then there was that story of the woman who won a marathon but they disqualified her because there was no proof she had run the whole race (no mid race photos, no tags at the electronic markers, etc). She also didn’t really look physically like the type who could win a marathon. Now, there’s this “Pennsylvania dad“, who just ran Boston and is also accused of cheating his way to a BQ to get there. He previously went viral with his retort against his kid’s school principal for not allowing his kid to have an excused absence from school to watch him race. And then of course there’s the infamous Jeptoo and all the other elites who have been caught doping. What is going on here folks?!
The thing I love about running and racing is that it’s such a pure thing (or so I thought). Even though we all like our specialty gear, you really don’t need anything but a pair of shoes and you take off and you’re running! And races are so wonderfully simple in my mind too. You line up at the start and you keep going until you get to the finish. It’s my favorite thing to think about while I’m running – that I can’t easily just jump off course or get to my car or get home so I HAVE to keep going forward and finish what I started. Like I said, very simple and pure. But now all these people are bringing this ugliness to the sport. It’s such a bummer.
It’s a great article from Runner’s World describing why everyone thinks this guy is lying. What was especially interesting is how part of the “evidence” they have against the guy is that he didn’t brag about it on his blog. Ha! I guess they know us bloggers well. They aren’t wrong! I have told my friends many many times that if I ever qualified for Boston I’d talk/blog/tweet/post about it every chance I got! I would try to reign myself in but I would fail miserably. So I personally think they have a good point there. He blogged about everything else but not his BQ? Then there were the race pictures – those annoying people who snap you at the worst possible moments in the race (special shout out to the photogs at Miami Marathon who take their pics upwards from laying on the street so you look like you’re so big you block out the sun… yeah… great photos). He didn’t have any pictures during the middle of the race and everyone else had many. Let me tell you, at Sarasota I tried to cover my number when I saw those race photographers because I felt like and looked like hell, and you know what? They got me every time anyway!! They are better than paparazzi! So, again, I think they have a point about this guy. Also they suspect that, since this was a relay race, he most likely hopped in his car along with everyone else and then hopped out with other relay people at a later point on the course. It’s all just shameful and horrible if it’s true. He clearly cares so much that his kids see him run Boston and obviously takes a lot of pride in his kids thinking he could have qualified for it. And now what are they seeing? That he is a liar and a cheat? Ouch.
I hope it’s not true. Just like I hope every horrible story I hear is not true. But it’s an interesting thing going on with races now and all these cheat stories. Maybe it’s because more and more people are racing than ever before? I’d like to think cup-half-full here and say that more people are cheating because more people look up to great runners and the awesome status of being a Boston qualifier. But it’s hard to stay positive when you hear that dozens or more runners printed fake bibs from offline to sneak into the 2014 Boston Marathon. And the thing about the internet, as Runner’s World points out, is that everyone can instantly fact-check everyone else. I’ve had the most random people look up my times and even track me during races. It’s such a strange thing. But I have nothing to hide. I don’t even delete the disgusting photos of me from marathonfoto. Hey, if I looked like that during the race, then I looked like that during the race. And if I ran slow, I ran slow. It’s just going to make the day I run FAST and look GREAT that much more sweeter, right?!
What do you all think about this cheating business? What do you think about the non-elites who are cheating races? What do you think about the people who sneak or cheat their way into Boston?