Wednesday, April 13, 2016

You Be The Judge: Trading Bibs and an Invisible Finisher

There were two big stories this past week about cheaters that rocked the amateur running and triathlon worlds. One involved a blogger and a bib exchange for Boston, the other, a triathlete whose winning ways started to unravel. Cheating and doping in professional sports seems to be the rule rather than the exception these days. For professional athletes, the stakes are high. But for amateur athletes? All you've got is your glory. Is it worth it?

You be the judge.

You Be The Judge: Trading Bibs and an Invisible Finisher

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post calling out cheaters and inducting them into my Great Liars in Running Hall of Shame. I wrote that post after several runners used a picture of woman's Boston Marathon bib to run the race and collect a medal after seeing her pre-race post on Facebook. While researching that post, I found quite a few interesting stories about cheaters. I had to dig deep, though. There weren't a ton of stories at that time.

Since then, there have been some more well-publicized stories about cheaters. I've had several new inductees into the Hall of Shame which I wrote about, here and here.

You Be The Judge: Trading Bibs and an Invisible Finisher

Sadly, it seems to me that stories of cheating in amateur events have become rampant. This past week, two women were called out for cheating. One was Gia Alvarez, of the blog RUNGiaRUN. The story goes that Gia, who qualified to run Boston in 2015, was unable to run so she gave her bib to another runner. That runner ran a qualifying time, under Gia's name, and Gia registered to run this year's Boston Marathon. Gia used the finish time run by her friend who wore Gia's bib.

Confused? I was, initially. Let's break it down. There are two wrongs here: first of all, Gia gave away her Boston Marathon bib when she couldn't run the race. I know, I know, people do this all the time. But this is the freaking Boston Marathon, where qualifiers miss the cut off by a minute or less. A few years ago, a friend of mine just missed the cutoff, and she was devastated. So the way I see it, Gia's friend took a spot that a real qualifier could have used.

You Be The Judge: Trading Bibs and an Invisble Finisher
Guess who this is?
Maybe you still think it's ok, because Gia earned that spot, and she can do whatever she wants with the bib. Right? Well, I don't agree with that line of thinking but that's my opinion and it's my blog. Anyways, what about Gia running Boston this year using the bib that her friend earned? Sure, it was on the bib Gia gave to her friend, so technically it was Gia's bib. Right? And if my son wants to go to Harvard, he should get the smartest kid in his school to take the ACT for him.

By the way, I really want to run Boston, so maybe my friend Sara, who is sure to BQ at Boston this year, could give me her bib and I could run under her name in 2017. Does she really need to run Boston more than once? Sara? Hello?

Wouldn't that be asking a lot of a friend? Not only is Gia banned from all future BAA events, but it looks like her friend will be joining her in purgatory. Isn't that what friends are for?

Sorry, but to me, two wrongs don't make a right. Apparently I'm not alone in my thinking. The running boards on Let's Run have been going crazy with little or no support for Gia. She does have her supporters, though. And the blog lives on.

Moving on.

Another story, this one about a triathlete, Julie Miller, who won her division at Ironman Canada 2015. The second place woman challenged her, reporting that she never saw Miller on the course. Other women also reported not seeing Miller on the course. An investigation by course officials determined that there was no way Miller could have completed the course without cheating. She was DQ'd. Soon after that, she was DQ'd from previous wins at other events and has been barred from competing in any Ironman events.

Her excuse? She says she "lost" her timing chip that was attached to the velcro strap around her ankle. Turns out she "lost" her timing chip at other races as well. I'm not a triathlete, but from everything I've read, the velcro strap sometimes comes off during the race but no one has ever reported a "lost" timing chip. And to lose the chip at multiple events?

You Be The Judge: Trading Bibs and an Invisible Finisher

The New York Times posted an article detailing the investigation which you can read here. What I read was disheartening, as are all these stories. What's also disturbing to me is the increasing frequency with which these types of events are being reported. There's even a blog devoted to all things cheating called Marathon Investigation.

We're all amateurs out here, folks. While it's exciting to win an award--I won a few AG awards myself last year--is it really worth cheating a course to win an award? There's no money involved, maybe an extra medal, a pint glass, or something fun, and a few moments of glory when they announce your name. Plus the knowledge that you are pretty damn speedy. I get that.

When I ran the Sarasota half marathon this past March, I knew it was going to be a long shot for me to place in my AG. I looked at last year's results, and I learned that those old ladies can run fast down there. Factor in the heat and humidity, neither of which I would be able to prepare for in the frozen tundra which is winter in Chicago. As I ran the out and back course in Sarasota, the thought occurred to me that there were several points where I could have turned around early and cut some significant time off my finish. I would never do that because I couldn't live with myself knowing that I cheated. But it made me think about people who do. I bet it is way more common than we think, especially on an out and back course.

And no, I didn't even come close to placing in my AG in Sarasota. I came in 22nd place. Which is exactly where I should have been.

Would it be worth it to cut the course short?

You be the judge.

Have you ever used a bib that wasn't yours or given one away? Have you ever seen anyone turn around early on an out and back course? What do you think about Gia and her friend? Do you think being banned from all BAA events is too harsh? What about Julie Miller? Should she be banned from all Ironman events? Have you ever lost a chip in a triathlon?

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is judgmental. Maybe I am. I wonder if the other bloggers are. Check it out!





114 comments :

  1. I think Gia should be disqualified from Boston for life and I am surprised if she has not been. There are written rules. I know you are DQ'd for life in NYC if someone runs with your number and they catch you. I know plenty of people more deserving of that spot than her friend. And duh - don't break the rules. But if you do, don't blog about it. Common sense people. (That triathlete is disgusting. Blech. Hate cheaters!!)

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    1. I read that Gia is banned from BAA events. I think her friend should be as well.

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  2. Cheaters suck. They take joy away from other people and really how proud can they be of their "accomplishment" they didn't earn it, they took it via dishonest means and took it away from someone who worked really hard to get there.

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    1. My thing with this is that Gia took a spot away from a qualifier. I would be really upset if I qualified for Boston and was denied a spot, knowing that someone got in on false pretenses.

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  3. Oh wow, it's been a busy week for me and I've been utterly, totally oblivious.

    I suppose I should be thankful to be slow -- no amount of cheating would win me an award. I mean, I guess it could, but I think it would become apparent pretty quickly that something was fishy and I don't like attention.

    Gia & her friend probably just didn't really think it through, which is sad all around for both of them. Was it wrong? Yes, I think so. Did they did it maliciously? No, I don't think so. Life is full of bad decisions for all of us, and it does come back to what I used for my graphic -- judge not lest ye be judged.

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    1. And don't blog about it! That's what brought her down.

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  4. I'm on your band wagon with this. There have been so many courses I've run where it would be TOO easy to cut the course short or turn around early, etc. Like you, I could never live with myself, though I certainly see the opportunity and the temptation. Currently, I'm questioning the accuracy of my "official" finish time from the Climb a few days ago. My watch showed a 20-second longer finish time.....and I'm having a difficult time believing I'm really as fast as the official timing company is giving me credit for LOL

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    1. See, I'd be like you! I don't want to take credit for something I didn't do!

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  5. I cannot fathom cheating. I don't even run outside of orange cones when they are set up on courses!! As for Gia, it makes me feel so uncomfortable because I know her. I get that she gave her bib to someone else, although I agree with your points about people missing the cut by seconds and it's not fair, but I think the really horrible part is registering for the race in a time that is not your own. I just don't think I could do that, even though I have BQed multiple times over. It just doesn't sit right. As for the TRI cheater - that truly breaks my heart. As you know, I absolutely love triathlon and look up to athletes like Julie Miller so it truly sucks when something like this comes to light. The worst part is that she continues to LIE! For both of these women, it would be infinitely better if they said look - I messed up BIG TIME, I don't know what the hell I was thinking but I hope I can do something to make up for it. The "crime" is one thing but not owning it is far worse in my book. #cowards

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    1. Well said Allie! I hate that this is happening in our sports. That athletes feel so much pressure to be the best, even amateur athletes, that they are tempted to cheat. I read somewhere that after you cheat and get away with it, that it seems to get easier for people...

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  6. I think the BAA disqualification is warranted. Isn't there a flat policy against bib transfers at all? So it's wrong to begin with even without all the other things. Boston has to be strict about bib transfers because it is so popular. Otherwise faster runners could have a side business selling their BQs or bibs .... Maybe a 3 or 5 year ban would be enough and give people to redeem themselves ....

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    1. Especially Boston, where you have to qualify to get a spot! So not fair to people who are on the line with their times. And don't blog about it!

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  7. I just don't understand the point of cheating. I personally wouldn't be able to live with myself. However, I do wish that races would offer bib transfers. Obviously not the bigger races, like NYC or Boston, but even local races don't allow bib transfers.

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    1. I agree with you on the bib transfers for less popular races. Wouldn't that be nice?

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  8. I will only comment on the Gia situation as that is the one I have read a couple articles about and every read her blog posts on the subject. Also, I don't know ANYTHING about Tri timing chips/velcro so I will leave that story to someone who knows more about it.

    Gia. She reminds me of my first graders who think the rules apply to everyone but themselves. But my first graders are 6 and Gia is a grown ass woman. She should not have given away her bib and even WORSE she should not have used someone else's qualifying time. Where is her integrity? I do not think her punishment was too harsh. Rules are rules. This is not a local 5k where you gave your bib to someone else. It's the Boston Marathon.

    I think there has to be some sort of character or personality flaw in people who cheat like that.

    In Gia's first blog post on her banning, it didn't seem like she took ownership for her mistake. It had more of a "this happened to me" tone to it rather than an "I did this to myself" tone. In her second post it did seem like she apologized and owned her mistake. I think humans are forgiving people as long as people take ownership and acknowledge their transgressions.

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    1. I used to read her blog, but she seemed to have a sense of her own "specialness". Oops, being judgemental. That post justifying why she was going to run Boston just blew me away. It's almost like she wrote it to convince herself that what she was doing wasn't wrong.

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  9. I'm in total agreement with you. I don't get the point of cheating. You cheat yourself most of all, but in the first instance, depriving someone else better qualified is unspeakable.

    Temptation? Nope. I didn't earn it, I don't want it.

    By the way, that's Hillary Rodham, later Clinton.

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    1. Haha! I was hoping someone would guess! Those pants!

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  10. I have a special place in my heart for triathletes. It is disturbing to know a clearly talented athlete would feel the need to cheat. I could never. NEVER. Btw - the timing chips don't just fall off. Insulting that she claims that. As for the Boston cheater...how could she?! Knowing how people feel about that particular event. Awful.

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    1. I found it interesting that Julie Miller used the chip excuse more than once!

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  11. I don't understand the cheating in sports thing and how someone can stand there and accept an award they didn't earn? How do they live with themselves? I do think they should be banned from Boston bc like you said it's so competitive to get into and so many others could have used that bib. Nice take on the topic

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    1. Thanks. Most of us runners are honest to a fault and that's why these stories bother me so much. Cheaters ruin it for all of us.

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  12. I just wouldn't feel good about myself cheating. If I won I wouldn't even be able to enjoy the victory because I knew I didn't deserve it. Ultimately I wonder whats the point?

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    1. Me too. I don't understand how you can feel good about a victory through cheating.

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  13. I have read about both of the stories and I have to say that I think Gia was wrong in the first place to give away her bib and even MORE wrong to use her friend's time to qualify. The other story about the triathlete woman is just NUTS. NUTS. I don't believe that she "lost" her timing chip for one second.

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    1. And lost her timing chip in multiple events? Odd how it only happened to her!

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  14. Cheating in life will always come back to haunt you, I think that's the moral of both of these stories.

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  15. I'm of the mindset of just do what's expected of you and don't try to find loopholes around things. I bang my head against the wall with my students all the time regarding this. In Gia's case, it was wrong to pass the bib to a friend, and it was wrong for her to try and pass off her friend's finish time as her own. If she couldn't run the race, which it sounds like she made the right decision there, then such is life. Nobody should have run with that bib, unless it was officially transferred, which it wasn't.

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    1. I'm sure you see more issues with cheating that involve the parents, not the little kids. We see a lot of that in my clinic--not so much cheating but lying about stuff. People never fail to amaze me.

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  16. Guilty as charged on all counts. It fascinates me from a psychology standpoint what must go through the mind of a cheater. I wish Disqualified and Dairy Queen didn't have to share the same initials though.

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    1. Haha! See, we could have dissected this whole thing for the Marcia-Wendy podcast!

      DQ--priceless!

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  17. Yup, yup and yup. Totally agree with you on all points in both cases. I would never just give someone a bib with my name on it no matter what race it is. I made the staff in Milwaukee issue me a new bib for the half there last fall when they mistakenly gave my bib (with MY name on it) to someone else (who I saw with it on at the race). There was no way I was doing the same. She knew what she did was wrong and the fact that she wrote a blog post about it to garner sympathy is pathetic and shows me exactly who she is and where her integrity lies. The BAA absolutely did the right thing and her woe is me act was short lived. Disgusts me.

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    1. I remember that you did that in Milwaukee, and I totally thought you did the right thing. I like people who are honest to a fault!

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  18. I've definitely seen blatant cheating on race courses. The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge has a TON of cheaters because it draws an enormous crowd of nonrunners who signed up just for kicks. Admittedly I sold a bib once because I was injured. I got to meet Rita Jeptoo (one of the Kenyan elites) and was so inspired by her, so was very sad when she later got DQ'd for PEDs. The elite athlete world is so arcane! A big story broke out earlier this week about how an entire Russian Under-18 hockey team got disqualified because of team-wide PED usage. Yikes.

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    1. I saw that story about the Russian hockey team. My son has some stories about the high school football players too. It's rampant.

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  19. People who think that rules don't apply to them make my blood boil!! Rules are there to be followed, and at a Historical and huge event like Boston, to think that she could get away with giving her bib away, then registering for the Marathon with a time that was not hers?!! It takes BALLs to do that! And Rotten Balls! And then she goes on and post as if it wasn't even a big deal! Agh! Rules are rules !! And how do we know her part of the story is real anyway? once her integrity is broken, we should question everything else. Her punishment was not too harsh.

    The Tri-Athlete, my fiancé was telling me about it, and my jaw just kept dropping to the floor! Triathlons are HARD WORK and to cheat in one is WRONG!

    I do have to confess that at a local 5K, I switched bibs with my sister. Because I didn't like the number they gave me... I was emotionally disturbed by the number, so my sister switched numbers with me. We didn't place, or nobody won anything. We both paid the money and ran the 5K. That was the one and only time we ever did this.

    I have seen people cut the course at a local 5K. It wasn't well marked, and there were not a lot of volunteers at the course to check, so a few people didn't run the extra 200 feet or so. When some of the runners reported it to the time keeping agency, they said they had no way to verify who cut the course and that they would honor all results. I have bowed to not do any runs that are timed by this agency.

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    1. I think your bib trading story is a different animal all together. There wasn't any cheating involved, no intent to deceive.

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  20. All I can say is there are NO excuses for Gia and her friend. I can't believe she actually has people supporting her. What could she possibly say to make this situation right???

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    1. I'm kind of surprised she still has her blog up. I hope she does some serious soul searching.

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  21. These stories make me so sad. Who are these people? What do they hope to gain? I just can't understand how they can wake up every morning, look in the mirror and be ok with themselves.

    I have never used someone else's bib, nor have I given one away. It hasn't come up as an option, and while it wouldn't be a huge deal in some of the local races in which I participate, I absolutely would never do it in a situation where the race rules clearly state "no transfers."

    That being said, I have seen people cheat at races before. It's ridiculous. Just get out there and have the race for which you trained. And if you're unhappy with your performance, train harder. That's all there is to it.

    I can't see how Gia and her friend could have expected anything less than what they got from the BAA. They broke the rules for Boston. End of story. And Julie Miller...well, I haven't read as much on her case yet, but if you can't or won't play by the rules, then don't play.

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    1. I've never seen anyone cheat at a race but that's because I'm usually mired in my own misery. I think those cheaters count on that.

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  22. If I cheat, I'm only cheating myself as I'm not fast enough to win any awards. If I was though I could not live with myself knowing I had to cheat to get there. I got the same feeling after reading Gia's first post about the issue. She didn't own up to the mistake and by the second one she was forced to make a public statement admitting her fault. I guess it was one thing to give the bib "innocently" to her friend, but she well knew she didn't qualify with her own time.

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    1. I think posting it on her blog and trying to justify her actions just made things worse.

      Glad to know I have such honest friends! <3

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  23. A few years ago I ran a 5k where a woman gave her bib to a man and he ended up placing in her age group. Because of it, it took an entire month to get official results because race organizers had to go back and watch the video of the finishers crossing the line and confirm everybody was who they said they were on their bib. It was super frustrating to have to wait that long for race results.

    I've bought a friend's bib because something had come up and she couldn't run. We were in the same age group and neither of us had any chance of placing since the race had several thousand people running and we're both very much middle of the pack runners. In this case the race organizers also told us to go ahead and have me run under my friend's name since we had just barely missed the cutoff for an official bib transfer. In my mind it was one of the few cases where it was ethical since there was no way I was going to place in my friend's name AND race organizers said it was okay.

    My BIL once saw somebody cut part of the course at the Marine Corps Marathon. Fortunately it was recent enough that he had a camera on his phone so he took a picture and emailed it to race organizers immediately.

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    1. That's great that the race organizers let you run on another runner's bib. I have no issue with that!

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  24. I hate this. Would it be great to win an AG award or qualify for a prestigious event? Sure. But I would want to do it the right way. I can't stand when people cheat. We had some issues with this at a recent OCR I was at...the course had been cut short due to inclement weather and the racers were told they could either take their t shirts and medals, wait to see if it would reopen, or get a free entry to complete the entire course in the fall when the company returned. So many people took the medals even when they hadn't completed the whole course AND ALSO TRIED TO GET THEIR FREE RACE FOR FALL. as you can see it really made me upset that they were trying to take advantage of things like that. I would not feel right about accepting a medal unless I ran the entire race.

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    1. People are all focused on the bling, aren't they? I've been running races for a long time, and I remember the days when only marathoners and half marathoners got medals. That story is just crazy.

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  25. I read that story about the Ironman cheater. I think by cheating, she won her age group and thus won the ultimate prize in the triathlon world: A spot in the "Ironman World Championships" in Kona which is pretty much the Olympics of triathlons. She denied a legit triathlete out of punching their a ticket to Kona by cheating. I have a friend say that qualifying for Kona is the hardest thing he's ever done.

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    1. That's the thing--these people cheat legit contenders out of a spot. If I were to BQ, you know I'd be right on the line and I'd be furious if I was denied a spot because someone cheated to get in.

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  26. I just don't understand why people cheat. Do you really feel like you accomplished something? Wouldn't you rather work hard and truly earn it and be proud of yourself? And the whole Gia thing - stupid... just... stupid. I can't even get started on that one...

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    1. I just wonder if people initially get away with cheating, and they dupe themselves into believing it's ok?

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  27. I read the NY Times article the other day about the triathlete, and have been following Gia's story as well (I don't agree with Gia's actions at all, but I gotta say - her blog traffic is probably insane right now). The article about the triathlete is CRAZY! I'm impressed at the depth of the investigation that has gone into her story and just can't fathom why someone would continuously cheat like that and then still maintain their "innocence." I've seen people even cheat at local 5Ks (cutting the course to beat someone) and I am baffled why winning means that much more than integrity.

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    1. I don't get it either. Maybe she's trying to save face? Why not just own up to it?

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  28. I had read about Miller earlier this week and was shocked and disappointed. I've been fascinated by cheating stories lately...like Kip but Gia wow. I'm not sure what's the motivator...rules are rules and we're all following the same ones.
    I've seen people cut a course short around a turnaround.

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    1. Clearly I'm fascinated by cheating stories too. The lengths these people go to is almost an art.

      "What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive"

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  29. That story about Julie Miller is insane! I just can't understand how you can really experience the glory winning/doing well without the experience of training hard and racing well! Plus think of all the work that has to go into all that deception!!!

    I will admit to buying a bib before for a race. It was a larger half marathon and I needed to get in a training run, I wasn't going to place and it was from a young woman the same age as me. But I don't want to get in the habit of buying bibs. And I would never buy a bib for a triathlon, the USAT has a lot stricter rules and can get you kicked out of other triathlons! Like another commenter mentioned, I do with more races would offer bib transfers.

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    1. I think races are going to have to look at the option of bib transfers, to stop all this madness. I would love it.

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  30. You have every right to be upset and angry. This isn't unlike when someone cheats on a test, receives an A and almost gets away with it. We know what's right and wrong, we are all grown adults and runners know the rules. When someone claims, " they didn't know," I just don't buy it. In the end, the only person who truly suffers is the cheater, unless, of course, they are so self absorbed they simple can't see why everyone is so upset-- in which case, we all get on knees and start praying for humanity.

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    1. Time to start praying. Seems like it's just snowballing.
      http://www.runnersworld.com/boston-marathon/dozens-suspected-of-cheating-to-enter-boston-marathon?cid=NL_DailyTestC_-_04132016_DozensSuspectedofCheatingtoEnterBostonMarathon&smartcode=YN_0017961643_0001549363.

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  31. Agree with it or not, if the race says no bib transfers, then there are no bib transfers. Plain and simple. I have zero sympathy for Gia and her poor decision making regarding Boston.

    It would take a heck of a lot of work for me to every qualify for Boston, but I would never dream of cheating my way in. Instead, I'll look into the charity route and do it the right way.

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  32. I hate cheaters!!

    Running is hard for everyone.

    I do think if you pay for a race and can't run it, you should be able to transfer your bib to someone else.

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    1. I agree--I believe that RDs are going to have to consider bib transfers to stop all this cheating and banditing.

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  33. I agree 100%!!!! I would never, ever, ever do this, and am appalled by people who cheat.

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    1. I just don't understand the mentality of cheaters.

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  34. This is just crazy and frustrating...I'm internally just too straight-laced and also a massive chicken, so I would never do this. I think it's mostly because of my own straight-lacedness and not the fear of getting caught that I would never do it. With my kids, over and over we talk about being good and honest people who do the right thing... going a little off topic here but sort of related...because in this crazy world of social media in which I can no longer keep up with what my kids are doing, the only defense and hope I have is to do my best to teach them about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do....

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    1. I'm not a person who is afraid of getting caught, and I've been known to bend the rules at time when they don't make sense to me. But cheating in a race? To me that's just wrong.

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  35. It makes me so happy that you have this huge tribe of like-minded runners who all feel the same way about cheaters. Obviously, I agree, too. I would never be able to sleep at night knowing that I had cheated to get something so difficult to earn (particularly because I've been trying to BQ for YEARS - that victory when I finally do is going to be the sweetest thing I've ever tasted).
    I was once doing a training run while my husband was running a trail race. Since the course was all marked for the race, I thought it would be easy (and I would be less likely to get lost) to stay on the course. But I asked the RD about it, because for the life of me, I just felt like I was banditting!! The RD was awesome and actually offered me a discount on one of his future races during our conversation, which further proves to me that you should always do the right thing in life!
    I admit, I'm so curious now about who in the world could possibly support a cheater that I'm going to stroll on over to Gia's blog and read the comments. Who are these people??

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    1. Think of all the traffic Gia's getting on her blog! Like they say any publicity is good publicity, right? :p

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  36. I am the biggest rule follower there is, so I am saddened to read this (having been out of contact with the internet for a week, I missed everything !)

    however, I wish more races (not BOston where you need to quality) but "normal" races would allow people to sell their bibs if they can not run. I think it is a shame that there is a spôt and for some reason, someone who would LOVE to run a race can not. For some of the races in France, they do allow you to buy a bib from someone who can no longer run. I just wished they would do it more often.

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    1. I think RDs are going to have to reevaluate the no bib trade rule. Otherwise I think this cheating thing is going to grow.

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  37. They are both cheaters. I am more familiar with the Boston one, and I have seen people on both sides of the fence. But I see it as black and white. There are two ways to get into Boston: either YOU run a qualifying time (with now a days has to be like 2+ minutes under your age standard) or you fundraise thousands of dollars for charity. That's it. So yes, she cheated.

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    1. Oh and I have given my bib away once. It was a big race that allows runners to officially transfer bibs to an unregistered runner by a certain deadline. So I did the official transfer and switched the bib to this guy. The neat part was he emailed me afterwards to let me know how my number did, haha!

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    2. And I love that the race let you do that!

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  38. Cheating is never ok. I cannot imagine cheating and cheating at an event like Boston just seems crazy to me, The lifetime ban is deserved as there are rules and they were not followed and her spot could have gone to a runner who deserved it. The case of the triathlete is crazy too! What are these people thinking?

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  39. Funny thing, i've seen plenty of 'cheaters'....and i don't really care. I just run my own race. I've qualified for Boston twice. The first time 15 years ago at 3:40 which was damn hard. And i only qualified by 1 minute 3 seconds. Ran Boston.Then I qualified last year with a qualifying time of 3:54:59....ONE SECOND!!!.....but then was not accepted, too many faster runners. expected. It was harder qualifying this last time! getting old sucks. but it happens. cheating happens. I see it as none of my business. My business is the feet in front of me, the legs that carry me, and the heart that knows that all I can do is my best. if they get the spot that I "could" have got.... so be it. I just gotta get faster ;) .....nothing wrong with working harder to beat cheaters. ha! Just like working harder to beat getting older. I'll race any cheater any day. Bring it!

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    1. Interesting perspective. While I agree that you should run your own race, I firmly believe that cheaters hurt all of us. Yesterday, Runner's World posted a story on this same topic and found that there are a lot more cheaters than even thought. Maybe your BQ would have been enough for an entry if people weren't cheating to get in. Cheating is just wrong, plain and simple. But I like your attitude--just get faster! Why not?

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  40. Cheating is WRONG. PERIOD. I don't know how people think they will get away with cheating!! I think the BAA lifetime ban is totally justified. I can't believe she tried to pass her friend's time as her own!!
    The triathlete is sad too. All of this is just very disturbing...

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    1. Yep. Both of them get what they deserve--a ban from the events they cheated on.

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  41. Runner's World posted an article yesterday too, interviewing the people behind Marathon Investigation and how they figure out the cheaters mathematically. It's quite an interesting read, and it includes interviews from people who were caught and banned. You learn a lot about people who decide to do this kind of stuff. I don't think a lifetime ban is harsh at all. It's the BAA's policy, and honestly, after 2013, they absolutely need to know who's on the course.

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    1. I saw that article--good timing, right? The guy at Marathon Investigation is making it his mission to catch these cheaters. He's doing a good job, too. It would be great if the RDs of the BQs would be on it, tho. Stay tuned, I'm sure there's more to come on this.

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  42. I couldn't live with myself! These people must be wired differently. How do they sleep at night? I'm one of those who looks to make SURE you go all the way to the turn around point too! Mmmm...looks like Hilary?

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    1. Ding ding ding! You guessed right! How about those pants?

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  43. The cheating really makes me so sad. I just don't understand doing something you know is wrong even if it doesn't seem malicious. I was running a race with the NYRR this past weekend because they had a slow pace on file for me (10:17) and I wanted to redeem myself. That pace put me in a slow corral and my friend was trying to convince me to jump ahead to hers...and I can't even do that! (mind you then ran an 8:12 pace for the race). I just don't get dishonesty on any level.

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    1. I felt that way about last year's Chicago Marathon. First they put me in the "k" corral, and when I challenged it with my time, they moved me up to "E". I was still unhappy with that and it messed with my head. So while I understand why people cheat, I just would never do it.

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  44. Cheating is cheating. I would never use someone else's bib but I know lots of people who do it for small races. I haven't seen any "cheats" on the course but I know it is out there. It's pretty sad really :(

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    1. I haven't seen any cheaters either but I know they're there. I'm just not paying attention, which is what I think they count on.

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  45. I do not understand how someone can enjoy the "win" or place in the race, or any other accolade if they didn't earn it!
    Personally, I think Gia sucks..

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    1. well now I feel guilty for saying she sucks, I don't the how or why...but, to me that is a no brainer it is wrong, but no one is perfect, we all make mistakes.

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    2. You can say she sucks! But I felt bad at first about calling her out on the blog here. It's not my nature to bury someone publicly but what she did is just so wrong and she's playing the victim card. I'm tired of people doing this. I see it in my life off the road too.

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  46. I'm baffled as everyone else here. It's just unthinkable to run for someone else, or vice versa. I can't see how Gia can justify what she did.

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    1. There's a lot of people playing the victim, not just in the running arena, so I can see where that is coming from. But she needs to own up to her mistake.

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  47. Wow, I missed BOTH of these stories so thank you for shedding some light on these stories....that is CRAZY! I would also LOVE to qualify for Boston, but what does that accomplish by going at it with a flawed approach?? How can you celebrate a win when you did not go about it in an honest way? What a great topic to post about for this week Wendy!

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  48. I couldn't do it. What's the point? I think the course on my last 10k was short, but that's on the organizers (or I didn't start my watch soon enough.)

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    1. Exactly--if the course organizers mess up, that's on them.

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  49. You don't mess with Boston. You.Just.Don't.

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    1. Apparently, a lot of people are trying!

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  50. I'm so glad you're writing about this. I'm especially glad that you aren't dancing around it like some blogs. You're naming names, not in an emotional way, but with links and facts and black and white words. We need to talk about this more. Cheating makes my blood boil.
    And as for losing your chip? Yeah, maybe you forget it, maybe the whole dang thing comes off, but JUST the timing portion? That's a no. Just no.

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    1. I have no sympathy for anyone who cheats to get into Boston. But to write about it on your blog? As if that will make it ok?

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  51. I heard about this! I can't believe someone would do that, let someone else use their bib and then use that person's qualifying time to run Boston! I definitely this she should be banned from Boston!

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    1. And the other person as well. More spots for the rest of us!

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  52. Wow! I can't wrap my head around why an amateur runner would feel the need to cheat. I actually witnessed one at the San Diego Half Marathon - I caught up to this girl wearing a red tutu and saw her cut across the road to the other side when the turnaround point was only less than a quarter mile. I thought she was meeting a friend or running to a portajohn which I didn't see,but later on saw her again ahead of me. I wanted to take note of her bib so I could look up her time but forgot. Got a little annoyed that someone would actually do that!

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    1. I just don't get it either! When your family and friends ask you how you did, do you tell them the truth? "Oh I cut the course short to get a better time..." or do you lie? It's just hard for me to understand.

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  53. WOW- cheaters never win! I did give my bib to my daughter a few weeks ago for a small race- it was the Saturday before our Sunday race. Katie runs a 45 minute 5K- so way would she place in our group. I would never do it in a big race for sure! The out and back courses do make you wonder, right?

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    1. I never thought about it because I wouldn't cut a course short, but apparently other people do...

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  54. My thoughts on cutting the course short? If you don't want to run the distance, sign up for a shorter race!

    I've never run with someone else's bib before, but had the opportunity to once. My friend got injured and couldn't run in the Marine Corps Marathon and offered me his bib. It was right after 9/11 and I knew security would be extra tight and if anybody got caught, it would be me, so I passed on the free bib.

    Thanks for linking up, even though I'm way behind on reading and commenting!

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    1. I'm glad that people are starting to crack down on these cheaters!

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  55. Haha, I also feel guilty if am forced to step around an orange cone! And I am most definitely in the highly amateur category. If you are a proven cheater, being banned from all BAA events is not at all too harsh. Seriously, if you are an adult and participate in that kind of nonsense, you deserve what's coming to you! People work for years to be able to legit qualify for these events, doing something like that just proves you do not have the right to join real runners (amateur or professional) on the course.

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    1. I'm still stuck on how these people face themselves in the mirror?

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