No matter how many times they have competed in a marathon, most runners will tell you that crossing the finish line is one of the happiest moments of their lives. Even if they have done it many times, it still brings out one of the best feelings in the world. Getting a medal is just the icing on the cake. This is why runners train their hardest and invest a significant amount of time and effort to ensure that they will be able to complete the race come marathon day. That’s why many mature athletes endure the training associated with this long-distance race.
However, not all marathon runners have the same amount of dedication and integrity. Some would cheat their way to the finish line, which isn’t exactly what the spirit of the marathon is all about. After all, why would you join a marathon if you would just cheat because you know for sure that you won’t be able to finish it in the first place? That seems like an idiotic move. Plus, would you really be happy knowing that you don’t deserve what you’ve got?
Perhaps one of the most famous cheating incidents in the history of the marathon is the one that involved Rosie Ruiz. In 1980, she won the Boston Marathon and set a women’s record. However, it was later on revealed that she had taken public transportation most of the way before getting off the train to run the final half mile of the race.
These days, marathon cheaters are using more sophisticated techniques to ensure that they won’t get caught. Because simply finishing a marathon won’t cut it anymore, cheaters are doing everything they can to finish fast so they can earn bragging rights or a ticket to the prestigious Boston Marathon. However, one man is committed to stopping them all to help ensure the integrity of the sport.
According to Derrick Murphy, he has caught about 200 to 250 runners who were cheating their way to the finish line in over 50 races he has looked into. A former marathoner himself, he now works as a marathon investigator and runs a popular blog that calls out all the cheaters.
For Derrick, everything started out as a mere hobby. A few years ago, he thought that it would be fun to check out and crunch publicly available race stats. However, he was surprised to see that there are lots of irregular data on runners’ split and finishing times. This has prompted him to take his “hobby” further.
Now, he uses complicated statistical analysis and race photos to find irregularities in race results. In a recent marathon in Philadelphia, Derrick caught a lot of cheaters, including a couple who did a “bib swap” that resulted in the woman placing third in the race even if she didn’t run most of the marathon.
It turns out that the woman removed the chip in her bib and placed it in her husband’s. The husband, who was faster than her, was the one who actually ran and crossed the finish line. Derrick discovered their tactic when he saw only the guy in the race photos.
You might expect that Derrick would publicly name the cheaters, but the truth is he doesn’t. He posts only their stories. Derrick hopes that their stories would serve as cautionary tales and would dissuade others from doing the same thing.