This blog is hilarious! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not poking fun at the work this guy is doing. I like it and encourage him to continue. I find the humor in these people getting caught cheating, especially the ones that are just flat-out not trying to cover anything up.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Marathon Investigations is a site devoted to identifying marathon cheaters, especially those people who cheat in a marathon to qualify and register for the Boston Marathon. Apparently, for a lot of the road running crowd, getting a “BQ” (Boston Qualifying time) is a big deal. Even people who don’t plan to run Boston have a goal to get a BQ. Just to be clear, I’ll probably never get a BQ. I’m too darned slow and too darned lazy to work much at speeding up. I also don’t really have any desire to run a marathon – at least any marathon on pavement. So, I’m not dissing the people who work for a legit BQ. They are far better athletes than I’ll ever be. But I AM dissing the people who cheat to get a BQ. Or cheat for any reason, for that matter.
But, you really should take a look at this site if you want a little laugh in your day. Some of the cheaters this guy writes about are actually pretty solid runners. One woman he wrote about was great athlete and got an awesome time at a half marathon down in Florida, but it turns out that she cut 1.5 miles off the course. Without cutting, she would have posted a slightly less awesome time. She may have cheated because she wanted to move up into the “elite” group of her running club and it required a time slightly faster than she could muster up. After cutting the course, to make it look legit on Strava, she rode the course later that day on her bike, at a running pace, and titled it as the run.
The really funny ones are the people who CLEARLY could NEVER run the time they clocked. I mean people who have consistently posted 4+ hour times in earlier marathons, then suddenly post a sub-3 hour time with, apparently, no change in training. Some of these people get caught by running the first half of a marathon at, say, a 13:30 pace, skip the next timing mat and show up at the finish line in a time that would have been a 4:30 pace for the second half. Talk about your negative splits!
And the pictures! Oh, the pictures! Finish line and other race photos showing the cheaters. The guy who runs the site downloads race photos and scrutinizes them. Things like zooming in on the person’s watch to see if it actually shows a 20 mile run and not a 26.2 mile run. Or comparing the start line photo with the person wearing blue shorts and a gray shirt to the finish line photo wearing red shorts and a green shirt. Tip to cheaters – don’t change clothes in the cab ride to the finish line! The best pictures for me are the ones that show that the person used a bib mule. That’s where someone else runs with your bib/timing chip. Like a start line picture of a 250 pound middle-aged bald man wearing his bib, then a finish line photo of his bib crossing the finish line on a 20-year-old 115 pound woman.
This stuff is gold. Check it out!