Cheats never prosper

Danny Coyle

Thursday, 13 October, 2011
What a bizarre week in running. It started with me dragging my squirrel-clad frame through the Royal Parks and got stranger from then on. In Chicago, Amber Miller ran the city’s marathon then promptly gave birth.In Swindon, Italian footballing deity and referee-shover Paolo Di Canio took part in a fun run in Swindon, got lost, strayed on to the course of a half-marathon also taking place that day, and decided to complete that instead.And in Kielder, officials were left red faced when the third-placed finisher Rob Sloan was found to have dropped out at the 20-mile mark before rejoining the race for home straight and taking the bronze medal position. Sloan maintains his innocence despite reports that he jumped on a spectator bus to reach the end of the course.Loading...
Danny the squirrel: Not a cheat.
Cheating, sadly, is nothing new in the world of running. Seldom do major championships pass without someone being stripped of a medal for bending the rules.It dredged up memories of a few other notable cheats who never prospered. The list of sprinting villains remains headed by the sneering face of Canadian Ben Johnson, who too 100m Olympic gold in 1988 stuffed to the gills with steroids. But long distance cheating seems to take on much more devilment than the simple intake of performance enhancing drugs.The Moetseneng brothers were South African twins who competed in the 1999 Comrades Marathon as a relay pair, swapping in and out of the ultra-race hoping no one would realise what they were doing. Organisers were wise to it though, and Sergio, the official entrant, was stripped of his medal. Having not learned his lesson, he was back in 2010, failed a drugs test and blamed his brother again, claiming it was he who had supplied the dodgy pee sample.Then there’s the story of Rosie Ruiz, who recorded the third fastest time ever run by a woman in the 1980 Boston Marathon. After realising she had not passed all the checkpoints on the route, officials cottoned on that she had joined the race for the last half-mile and hot-footed it to the finish. She was also rumoured to have used the subway during the New York Marathon to achieve her qualifying time for Boston.In China, academic advancement was the root cause for the mass cheating that took place in the Xiamen Marathon in 2010 when almost a third of runners were axed following claims that some had hired imposters to compete in their place while others had given their chip timing devices to faster runners. It was all in the hope that faster finishing time would earn extra points on their university applications.These are only a few stories that have passed into cheating folklore, but it makes you wonder how many you never hear about. You know who you are out there and you should be ashamed. Amber Miller was 39 weeks pregnant when she ran the Chicago marathon, and she ran the bloody lot. Think about that next time you feel the need to slope off the course and jump on a bus.


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