Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Think You'll Never Run Boston? 13 Ideas to Help You Cut a Race Course and Make a BQ Happen

Hey you, runner. Psssst....over here. Yeah, you. I hear you want to run Boston and you want it bad. But you don't think you can earn a BQ without a little help. It takes a village. I can help. Shhhhhh... don't be telling anyone. And don't be posting it all over social media. As far as the world knows, you've earned the damn thing.

There seem to be so many cheaters. There is now a whole blog devoted to catching course cutters. I figured we could learn a few things from cheaters who've been exposed. Heck, we may as well take advantage of others' mistakes!



1. Study the marathon course and study it well. Find out where the timing mats are and make sure you hit them all, if possible. You most likely won't be able to do this alone, unless you can use public transportation. You'll need an accomplice, someone to track you, pick you up, and drop you off at appointed stops. Don't plan on an Uber for this.

2. Don't make it too obvious. You don't want to draw attention to yourself. This isn't the time to pull out the InknBurn gear. While I love the stuff, you want to be understated. No costumes. No tutus. Boston brings out the serious runners and you need blend in.

3. Speaking of photos, make sure you get the photographers' attention. Photographic proof that you ran the course is a plus.

4. No matter how much course cutting you do, look like you ran a race. Make sure you are sweaty. Pour water over your head if you have to. Sprint to the finish or slap your cheeks so your face gets a little red. Heavy breathing and exhaustion will make those finish line pictures more authentic.

5. Look like you belong with the upper echelon of runners at Boston. Work on your stride. If you can't run like a gazelle, at least look like one.

6. Don't wear a Garmin. Or if you do, don't turn it on. If you turn it on, don't upload your results to Strava--the route will be posted and if anyone is looking at your results, they'll be out there for the entire running community to see.

7. If you don't have it in you to cut the course, have someone run a qualifying race for you. With all the GPS tracking devices, it's too easy to catch someone who cuts the course short. If you do have someone BQ for you, make sure they look like you or have them wear a disguise so they at least have your hair and coloring, for the course photos.

8. Make sure that your qualifying pace isn't too far off from your norm. If you are normally a 5-hour marathoner, it might be a little too obvious if your BQ is 3:00.

9. There's always the option to bandit the race. Prior to the 2013 bombings, banditting, while not encouraged, was accepted. With the tighter security, running as a bandit is a little tougher now. You just have to be crafty about it.

10. Oh, and don't go all self-righteous on social media and draw attention to yourself and the sacrifices you made to get to Boston. Especially if you have something to hide. That's the kind of thing that gets the internet interested.

11. Of course, you could always buy a bib. But proceed with caution. It could be a forgery. I'd advise making sure the bib you buy is from someone who is about the same age and sex as you. It could turn out to be kind of embarrassing if you are a woman who won her age group but look like a man in your pictures.

12. Just a few years ago, wannabe runners were downloading copies of Boston bibs that real runners were posting on social media and making them into their own bibs. While now most runners are pretty savvy about not doing that, wearing forged bibs is still happening.

13. Swallow your pride and shut down your conscience. Keep it on the down low. Tell yourself that guilt is a useless emotion. Because if you cheat to BQ, you will be stealing a spot from someone who may actually have earned an entry but didn't make the time cut-off. If you can live with that, then remember this: karma is a bitch.

Did you really think I was going to encourage you to cheat to earn a BQ? For those of you that aren't fluent in sarcasm, this entire post was farcical. However, the highlighted links are all true stories of BQ cheaters.

I loathe cheaters. Actually, I'm stunned at the amount of cheating that goes on in the running world. For the most part, runners are a really honest group of people--sometimes honest to a fault. I guess every group has a couple of bad apples. To them I say, welcome to the Great Liars in Running Hall of Shame. And kudos to Derek at Marathon Investigations. His tireless work towards exposing cheaters is going to make racing better for all of us. It's intriguing that there are a few runners who are hitting back at him for exposing the cheaters. We live in an interesting world.

Hey, a runner can dream, can't she?
Do you want to run Boston? Would you risk it all to get a BQ? How do you feel about people who cheat to BQ? 

I'm linking this post with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run and Debbie, Susie, Rachel, and Lora for Coaches Corner.

69 comments :

  1. High-5 to YOU on this!! (And, clever how you twisted in your finish line pic so your fake bib number is incognito). I seriously don't get the dishonesty...not just with Boston, but with people in general. Similar topic...I keep finding "copied" pics of mine on social media, usually done by people with much bigger followings LOL Am I flattered? yes, but also annoyed & betrayed

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    1. It's a crazy world we live in right now with a president who uses "alternative facts"--it seems to me that cheating has just become a way of life. Hopefully honesty will prevail!

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  2. People can be so crazy sometimes. I know this is way random, but we once had a girl run a charity event I was helping to manage. She crossed the finish line in first place and when I approached to ask her information, she told me that she wasn't going to accept the award because she ran the race "just for fun" and didn't pay to enter. Say WHAT?! It's a charity for crying out loud! *sigh Some people.

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    1. Oh, now that is the other extreme! Ay!

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    2. Karen! That is SO BRUTAL! OOOHHHH MYYYY!!!!!!!!!

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  3. LOL at the last photo!!

    I enjoyed this post so much. In between giggling I would just shake my head because I can't believe that people will do SO much to CHEAT - it's mind boggling!

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    1. When I sat down to write this, I had about 8 suggestions. As the week went on, more stories came out and so I got more ideas. You cannot make this stuff up!

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  4. Lying is the most loathsome personality defect. I was running with Lora the other day and she was telling me about some struggles that one of her friends was having. It sounded a little peculiar, and Lora admitted that her friend exaggerates a lot and so she never really knows what's true and what isn't. WHAT IS THE POINT OF EXISTING HERE ON EARTH IF everything that comes out of a person's mouth is bullshit? As SOON as I come across a liar, I do a 180. Lying and cheating, even in jest or even "just for fun" speaks loudly about that person's true character. GROSS AF.

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    1. 100% agree. What amazes me is how many people don't care about lying. I can't believe how much lying goes on. I feel so cynical, but in my job, people lie to me all the time. It's crazy.

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  5. Omg, this is so funny! And sadly, so true as far as cheating. I guess I'm an innocent because it still shocks me, not that people cheat, but that they can seem to be proud of themselves. I mean, really? For what are you proud?

    I have qualified for Boston, but I never went, which I regret a little. I'm not sure I have it in me to do it again, though since I'll be 60 next year my qualifying time is 4:25, which makes it tempting to at least try. We'll see. If I could just stop falling down and landing on my knees!

    Love the last photo!

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    1. I'd love a real Boston finish line photo! I've still got one in me, I think! Just not right now.

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  6. OMG that pic! The Boston Marathon finish line looks great on you!

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  7. Love this post! I don't get cheaters. How can they be proud of their "accomplishments?" I read some comments on Derek's blog, people were telling him to take posts down since the cheater had been caught. What?!?

    I'm pretty sure my only Boston finish line photo will be like the one you posted ;)

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    1. I just don't understand how people can cheat, take a medal, and post it all over social media. I don't know. Maybe all the accolades they receive lessen the guilt?

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    1. Thank you!!! There's always lessons to be learned, right?

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  9. I read Derek's blog every now and then, and it astounds me the lengths people will go. I know Boston is seen as this great achievement since it's so difficult to get in, but what's wrong with running for charity if you're not fast enough to qualify?

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    1. Right? But then you have to raise $5000 dollars and that's just a lot of work. It's so much easier to cheat.

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  10. Hey did you forget to put me in the picture ? LOL! Too funny, I mean to funny! I can't believe the shit people try to pull off, it is just disgusting to the rest of us out there just pounding away! You are right, karma is a bitch and usually a badass angry one! Great post!

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    1. I should have put all of us #holotta fun gals in the pic. Marcia's the only Boston runner in the group.

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  11. People who cheat, period, should be taken out back and something'ed. I can't even with it.

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    1. It's pretty amazing. Even public shaming doesn't change anything.

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  12. Integrity is a lost value in the world of today. So sad. I used to be a avid cyclist and loved the sport. Since all the blood doping and Lance Armstrong scandles I don't even watch the Tour De France anymore.

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    1. I guess the pressure to do well is just too much for people, so they have to resort to cheating and doping and wiretapping...

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  13. SO many cheaters but I'm glad they're getting busted! There's really no justification for cheating. People who bandit and steal bibs are really obnoxious though...too cheap to sign up for a race and taking advantage of others. Ugh!

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    1. I think that latest story about the 3 women who used stolen charity bibs was the worst! WTH?

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  14. This post was awesome. I chuckled a couple times. But isn't it SO SAD how many cheaters there are?! I just can't even...

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    1. So sad. That's why we have to laugh, right?

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  15. This was so entertaining, but I hate that it happens! I don't understand people who would go through all that trouble to cheat. The only reason I want to BQ is to prove to myself that I could do it, so I can't at all relate to how people do these things. I love your picture!

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    1. You all know that my BQ days are most likely behind me...but that won't stop me from calling out the cheaters!

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  16. I am surprised by how rampant cheating is actually. I truly for so sad for people who feel that this is their only option. They must be very unhappy insecure people who need constant validation. Super cute post btw :)

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    1. I've been really surprised by the amount of cheating. So was this going on forever and we didn't know about it? Or is it really more prevalent than ever?

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  17. new to the running scene I CANNOT BELIEVE IT EITHER.
    And have the same question as another commenter: HAS THIS BEEN HAPPENING FOREVER? AND NO ONE KNEW? OR IS IT ANOTHER SYMPTOM OF OUR TIMES??

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  18. LOL! I'm loving that last picture!!! And seriously, what is the point of cheating? How can you possibly feel good about yourself or the race when you know you didn't earn it??? I just will never understand that. Qualifying and running the Boston marathon was one of my greatest running accomplishments and I would never even think about cheating my way into that or any other race! The whole point is earning it!!!! Losers.

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    1. That's what I get stuck on. How do you celebrate your dubious accomplishment? How?

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  19. That photo! lol!!!
    I can't believe people do this!!! So ridiculous and a waste of time. What's wrong with people!

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    1. I'm not sure how this happens! Especially because we are all amateur runners. Why the need to cheat?

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  20. oh, you were just kidding ;-) hahaha

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    1. All these methods have been tested tho!

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  21. I love Derek's blog and am so glad someone is calling out these cheaters! What has our world come to when people cheat on a race that they don't win?? Insane.

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    1. Well, that's the thing. I'd love to run Boston but I could never live with myself if I cheated to secure a bib.

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  22. I can't see how cheating to get a BQ is gonna help you run Boston, but I suppose they just want to say they did it. Who can really fathom the mind of a cheater?

    Even cheating wouldn't help me get in, so I suppose I'm safe. :)

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    1. Some people can't BQ but want to run, I suppose. I'm sure if you really wanted to run Boston, there would be a way to cheat!

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  23. I am so with you... it makes absolutely no sense to me!! Even if someone gets away with it, what joy is there in knowing it isn't even real? This is the first time I saw the website exposing cheaters. I'm impressed! That takes a lot of time, but you're right, it should help limit the ridiculousness!

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    1. I've been following Derek since he started the blog and it has exploded--it's very fancy now! Very impressive how this has turned into a big thing for him. Good for him!

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  24. Hahahahaha.
    I don't understand the cheating. To me, I want to EARN Boston....even if that means aging up a few times ;)

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    1. Yep! If I get my RA under control, my BQ is 4:10. Or I could wait another couple of years and it will be 4:25!

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  25. I couldn't do it! I wouldn't feel accomplished. Even though my times are slow, I earned them!!

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  26. Can never understand why anyone would !!
    Bragging rights over a conscience?

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    1. How do you brag about something you stole? That's what kills me.

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  27. It really is amazing to me the length people will go to in cheating a race. I mean, just put as much effort into training as they do cheating and they might actually accomplish their goal on their very own!

    I can't even wear a tshirt from a race that I didn't run ...so I can't even fathom being able to sleep at night after doing some of these things!

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    1. I know--I have a race shirt that Grandma's Marathon sent me just for signing up. Do I get to wear it?

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  28. Congrats on your picture perfect Boston finish!
    Not really sure why people would cheat and actually brag about it! And it's interesting that a site was created to expose cheaters. Unfortunately, nowadays it's prevalent among elite runners maybe because of the $ factor but I don't think I can live with the guilt!

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    1. I don't get why amateurs need to cheat? I guess everyone wants to emulate the elites.

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  29. I would love to run Boston. I would never cheat and I think those who do are pathetic.
    Great post and your finish line photo is great!

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    1. It's probably the only finish line photo I'll get!

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  30. ROFL, at first I was found my head tilting the left...WHAT????? Is Wendy really writing this? Clearly I haven't had enough coffee yet, LOL! I loathe cheaters too...and liars.

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    1. I'm glad you figured out that I wasn't serious! I was a little worried that people would...

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  31. LOL This was funny! I quite frankly couldn't care less about the BQ cheating. It sucks for people who did qualify and didn't get in, but at the end of the day, it's the cheater who is hurting themselves. All of the additional attention that the guy who blogs about it and all of the bazillion articles about it seem to do, to me at least, is just continue to draw negative attention to the race itself. I say don't feed the trolls! But this was funny. Thanks for a good chuckle!

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    1. You know what? I really like your perspective. You are right, all the negative attention is taking away from the race itself. But cheaters do hurt other runners--especially those who might have gotten a spot but were so close to the cut off.

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  32. In my mind, I just don't see the point! If you don't truly earn it, what good is it? The whole point of running Boston with a BQ is to celebrate an achievement. Great post- it gave me a chuckle.

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  33. I love Marathon Investigation.

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  34. Hahaha, love this! I despise cheaters. I would like to BQ someday but I only want it if I can earn it myself. It wouldn't be worth it any other way.

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  35. Haha this was great. Thanks for the read Wendy!

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  36. Cheaters never win in any aspect of life. Never. Its so frustrating to see my students constantly trying to cut corners, and even worse, some of them have parents that support their behavior. Ugh!

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  37. Ha I knew this was a crock right off the bat! Ha your not fooling me! But I am shocked at how people can live with their self knowing they didn't get it honestly. BQ if I keep running when I'm 80 I think I could do it!

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