async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: running and cheating
Showing posts with label running and cheating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label running and cheating. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Is it Cheating? 9 Things Runners Do that Might Be Sketchy

We live in a time of unprecedented cheating--in school, in life, and in sports. Everyone wants to get ahead at any cost. With regards to running, it's become so out of control that there's a website devoted to runners who cheat in road races.

In the running world, cheaters are more the exception than the rule. Most of us aren't in this sport to win. We run for the love of the sport. We run for fitness. We run for the bling. But there are things that most of us are doing that could be considered cheating. For us recreational runners, what's the concern? It's not as if we're going to win the race, right? Are we really hurting anyone besides ourselves?

What do you think?



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!



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!