Marathon Cheaters

Fred Lorz - Olympics - The First

At the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Fred Lorz won the marathon with ease at 3 hours and 13 minutes. Shortly thereafter it was revealed he caught a ride for most of the race with his manager, and only resumed running when the car broke down. Lorz would claim it was a joke gone awry, but this didn't stop the Olympics from banning him for life. 1904 - Fred Lorz, the marathon champion who preferred to travel in comfort. He went by car.

fredlorz (14K)
From The Daily Mail:
The Olympic spirit of fair play was the last thing on the mind of New Yorker Fred Lorz when he started the 26.2-mile 1904 marathon course in St Louis. It was a scorching hot day, only 14 of the 32 starters finished, and Lorz won in three hours 13 minutes.

Just as he was about to get the gold medal, however, the crimp in his plan was revealed - he had completed 11 miles in a friend's car. He claimed it had been a practical joke but the IOC did not see the funny side and banned Lorz for life - although they later lifted that ban.

Rosie Ruiz - Boston - The Most (In)famous

When Rosie Ruiz was the first woman home at the 1980 Boston Marathon, it appeared a new star had emerged as she had broken the course record with 2:31:56. But in the aftermath of the race, her rise from obscurity seemed too good to be true. The other top finishers did not recall seeing her at all in the race, but the most damning evidence came from two witnesses who saw Ruiz burst out of a crowd of spectators just half a mile from the finish. Days later she was disqualified and her gold medal was passed on to the rightful winner, Jacqueline Gareau.

Rosie-Ruiz-Marathon-Cheater-Boston-Marathon (25K)

The Motsoeneng brothers - Comrades (South Africa) - The Best

The Comrades Marathon is known for being one of the toughest races in the world. A 56-mile run between the South African cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, it is the world's oldest ultramarathon. At the 1999 edition of the race, twin brothers Sergio and Fika Motsoeneng almost pulled off the perfect racing deception by exchanging places with each other at half way during a toilet stop, eventually finishing ninth overall. But their plan was exposed when it was noticed in the post-race footage that the brothers wore their watches on different wrists. Sergio Motsoeneng is still running to this day, although he is currently serving a two-month suspension after testing positive for nandrolone.

motsoeneng (54K)

Chinese students - Xiamen - Large Group International

Perhaps the biggest organised cheating en masse occured at last year's Xiamen Marathon in China. One particular school from the Shandong province appeared to do particularly well in the race. Initially there were fears that Ma Junren had taken up a job at the school, but the real reason was not quite so sinister. Around 30 students who finished in the top 100 in the race were found to have either hitched a lift or passed their timing chip on to faster runners. The reason being that any students who completed the marathon in less than 2:34 could add extra points to their gaokao – China's highly competitive university entrance exam.
chinesemarathonchesters (29K)
Xiamen marathon runners disqualified for cheating
Almost a third of the runners who finished in the top 100 of the Xiamen marathon have been disqualified for cheating.
The competitors were stripped of their rankings after it emerged some had hired imposters to compete in their place and others had jumped into vehicles part way along the route, Chinese media reported.
Others gave their time-recording microchips to faster runners. For example, numbers 8,892 and 8,897 both recorded good times - but only thanks to number 8,900, who carried their sensors across the finish line.

Jean's Marines - Marine Corps Marathon - Large Group US

Marathon cheating fiasco raises flags, questions Washington Times story about a charity team coach who helped a number of her runners to cut short the course at the Marine Corps Marathon. The Marine Corps Marathon has a bridge that must be crossed by a certain time because it is reopened to traffic. Fail to make the bridge and you do not finish.

When confronted with the evidence of their cheating, the coach admitted it and requested the assisted marathoners to return their medals to avoid being preceived as cheating.
"Even though this has been the bypass route utilized by Leukemia Team-in-Training for their slowest participants in order to let them finish their own race . . . and even though it's impossible to 'cheat' when your chip time tells the tale of missing the total distance, there are people in the running community who feel some of our runners and walkers did not earn the medals we so proudly wore that Sunday evening," she wrote.
Ultimately both the coach and the charity were banned from the race for their "lack of professionalism and unethical conduct." According to the Marine Corps Marathon Director, Richard Nealis, 325 racers were disqualified.

The Montreal Biker - Montreal Marathon - Cameras? What cameras?

From Mental Floss
The city of Montreal has bike stations all over the city. Pedestrians can rent a bike in one location and return it elsewhere. One runner decided to take advantage of this bike-sharing program in the middle of the 2011 Montreal Marathon, reportedly to get a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. He was caught red-handed in a photograph, and subsequently banned from the race for 3 years.

montrealbikingmarathoners (43K)

Kip Litton - Western Wyoming Marathon - Most Chutzpah

One of the epic cheaters of all times. The headline says it all:

Alleged Serial Marathon Cheater Kip Litton suspected of creating fictitious road race events in Wyoming and other locations

That is one way to get into America's most prestigious marathon. According to those who follow Kip Litton, simply getting in wasn't enough. They point to this pair of pictures as evidence. Both were taken during the Boston Marathon. Kip has apparently shed a couple of germents during the race... which is not that unusual. What is very unusual is that he changed hats as well.

kiplitton (46K)


Anthony Gaskell - London

At last year's London Marathon, 69-year-old Anthony Gaskell finished first in his age category and was due to receive a plaque to mark the achievement. But keen observers looked in to his splits after the race and saw that he had covered the second 20km section in around 41 minutes – far faster than the world record for the distance. When confronted, Gaskell revealed that he took a short-cut to the finish line after picking up an injury and was completely unaware that a fuss was being made over his finishing time. "I have been called a cheat and disqualified from a race I never claimed to have won," he said. "I simply walked through a short cut to the end of the course where my belongings were waiting for me. I didn't bother to check the website for the final standings because I knew I had dropped out."

anthonygaskell (15K)

Alan Morton - London

London Marathon man, 75, runs into 'too fast' cheat row... for covering 12 miles in 43 minutes The Mail of London article:
He has run more than 400 marathons all over the world, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
And at 75, Alan Morton is apparently still going strong, coming seventh in the over-70 age group at the London Marathon in April.
But last night, the veteran runner was at the centre of extraordinary allegations amid suspicions that he may have taken a short cut during the second half of the race.

alanmorton (79K)

Roberto Madrazo - Berlin Marathon

A politician involved in scandal? As difficult as it may be to believe, these things happen. After a humiliating defeat in Mexico's presidential election in 2006, Roberto Madrazo rebounded by winning the over-55 category at the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:41:12. But it wasn't just the fact that he had little background in running that made his time so unbelievable, it was the fact that he was pictured jogging across the finish line while wearing a wind breaker, a hat, and skin-tight running pants – far too much clothing for a person who had just run 26.2 miles barely breaking a sweat. Post-race splits showed that he covered a nine-mile section in 21 minutes – just outside two-minute-mile pace.

madrazomaraton (11K)

Rubbish politician also rubbish at cheating in marathons
After a humiliating defeat in Mexico's 2006 presidential election, Roberto Madrazo appeared to be back on top: He'd won the men's age-55 category in the Sept. 30 Berlin marathon with a surprising time of 2:41:12.
He could run, but he couldn't leave his reputation for shady dealings in the dust. Race officials said Monday they disqualified Madrazo for apparently taking a short cut.

In a photograph taken as he crossed the finish line, Madrazo wears an ear-to-ear grin and pumps his arms in the air. Problem is, he was also wearing a wind breaker, a hat and long, skintight running pants - too much clothing, some said, for a person who'd just run for almost three hours in 60-degree Fahrenheit (16-degree Celsius) weather.

Madrazo's outfit caught the attention of New York-based marathon photographer Victor Sailer, who alerted race organizers that they might have a cheater on their hands.

Martin Franklin - NY Marathon

From Mental Floss
At the 2001 NY Marathon, Franklin finished 19th overall and fifth for US Men, which entitled him to $4,750 in prize money. Website identified Franklin as a cheat, and launched a crusade to not only have him disqualified but also thrown in jail. While he escaped arrest, he was forced to return the prize money.

martinfranklin (68K)

Dane Patterson - PF Chang's Rock and Roll (Arizona, 2009)

From Mental Floss
After being voted off The Biggest Loser, Dane Patterson was shown in his epilogue finishing an Arizona marathon with his wife at an astonishing 3 hours and 53 minutes. Or at least that's what NBC producers wanted people to believe. In reality, an exhausted Patterson got in a news van for three miles at mile 17 to ensure he'd finish in six hours, as per the show's request. Unlike the others on this list, Patterson did say he subsequently went back and ran the missing three miles.

Robert Sloan - London

Kielder course-cutter is latest in long line of road-running cheats
A runner who crossed the line third in a marathon last weekend was subsequently disqualified for jumping the course.

Rob Sloan, a new member of Sunderland Harriers, was quoted in the press denying accusations of cheating at the Salomon Kielder Marathon, yet he later admitted to not having completed the course.
He added: "My prize will get forwarded to me, but he has stolen my glory and my moment on the podium!"

Sloan, who had legitimately won the Salomon Kielder 10km in 38:10 the day before, told the Sunderland Echo in an article published Monday: "I categorically deny this accusation. I ran the whole race. I have been in touch with the organisers saying I have proof that I ran the complete course. I was wearing my Garmin and that covers every stride I ran."

However, organisers later released a statement confirming the disqualification and saying that Sloan had "apparently made the decision to withdraw from the race at approximately 20 miles due to fatigue and after returning to the Leaplish Park area he decided to run the closing section of the course and crossed the finish line in third place."

rob_sloan (30K)

General Articles and Links about Marathon Cheaters

What Would You Do If You Knew Someone Cheated At A Marathon? discusses a woman's reaction to admitted marathon cheater. The comments at the end of the article make it clear that most runners find such behaviour incomprehensible and generally despicable.

In a 26-Mile Slog, a Shortcut Can Be Tempting
Article in the New York Times about how that city's marathon catches and disqualifies cheaters. Mostly it is by noting individuals who miss one or more of their 20 timing pads or who show up in the last half of the race much faster than the earlier sections. Mary Wittenberg, the race director, called the number of cheats shocking. She added, “We have a duty to make sure that everyone who crosses our famed finish line earns the medal they achieve.”

Chicago Marathon cheaters: why do they do it?
In 2009, 252 runners were disqualified. "Marathon is an event of character, and the majority of runners want to run the whole thing and have an accurate time," says Chicago race director Carey Pinkowski. "The tens of thousands who do that transcend the handful of people who may cut the course."

"There's a small percentage of people who feel compelled to do it but don't need to. It's like a wealthy person who needs to shoplift," says Bill Fitzgerald, interim executive director of the Chicago Area Runners Association, who has run 65 marathons and completed Chicago's 12 times.

"There are people who say, 'I'll give it my best and prepare as well as I can' and realize there's a degree of chance of how they'll do that day. Then there's another group with a win-at-all-costs type of policy," says Jonathan Dugas, endurance sports specialist and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago's Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

Is cheating the new norm at athletic events?
A female runner at the Dallas White Rock Marathon wrote me saying everyone cheats. "I know runners do this a lot," she said. Do they? Do you?
She had gotten caught giving her timing chip to another runner, and was DQ'd. (DWRM doesn't have a ban in place in their policy like the top tier marathons do.) But after she was caught, she suggested everyone cheats. Does everyone cheat?

Answer? No. They don't. In fact:
Jack Weiss is the race producer of Ironhead triathlons. He has put on over 270 races over 20 years. You could say Jack's reputation precedes him because he is known not only in Dallas, or in Texas, but around the country as a firm race director. Not only does he back the rules and officials rulings 100%, but if you step outside of the rules in any other way, you're "out-of-there," no questions asked.
Jack wants those completing his races to feel good about their accomplishment, that everyone as traveled over the same course, under the same conditions. They, then, can hold their head high, display there medal, and say, "Yeah! I did it. By myself."