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Discussion: the easiness of cheating

in: Bash; Bash > 2017-03-28

Mar 29, 2017 2:15 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
My hunch is there are a lot of bib/chip mules we never learn about. The marathon investigations guy focuses on BQs, but the first round is only flagged with goofball splits, which a mule wouldn't have to have.

A number of high profile cheaters have not been DQd (Rossi) or keep racking up Guiness records (Parveneh).

Rob Young was only busted because of a random runner in the middle of nowhere being at the right place at the right time, igniting the ire of the internets. That runner is lazy that day, or the thread gets buried, and Rob rides his rv to a transcontinental record.

Course cutting could be done far more successfully, just by checking up until the split was more improbable than implausible.

I speculate the risk vs. reward remains appealing for many who rationalize that they deserve whatever outcome they are cheating for.
Mar 29, 2017 3:08 PM # 
Agreed, I was thinking about cases like this where someone "breaks into" the top 10 unexpectedly, which has to attract attention from fellow competitors in a major race like Around The Bay (not a BQ but it's a big deal in Ontario). In my part of the pack, I doubt many people would be watching! (Although I did have a taste of that experience at my first Canadian Orienteering Champs when a former national team member turned to me on the podium and basically asked, "Who ARE you?!")

In Sunday's race, the runner's finish line photo clearly showed a timing chip on each shoe. There were other photos along the course so that was a huge risk even if she hadn't cheated in a second way. I hope that any top result where two runners have identical splits would attract attention. In this case, it was a runner who got suspicious, did some investigation and brought it to the attention of race officials. But he was triggered to do that out of sympathy for another woman he'd met on the course who ought to have finished higher. I guess every RD should review top results as a matter of course.

I just don't understand these people.
Mar 29, 2017 5:14 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Ah, yes, agree when people overstep and finish way up, the risk is high.

Unfortunately, you are a decent person, so understanding it will be a challenge. First step could be to start more sentences with, "I deserve..."
Mar 29, 2017 5:50 PM # 
I've always been mystified by the ATB timing mat set up. I live for the splits and they leave out the most interesting ones - the first and last two five k splits. They could make it a lot harder to cheat if they put those three extra mats down. And maybe controlled who could get on the relay busses along the course. (They might do that, I don't know, never been on one).
Mar 29, 2017 6:58 PM # 
It looks like they're missing timing mats at 5K and 25K, which would help. In today's news, the runner sounds more stupid than evil - although she ran 2:31 the previous year so she is apparently a good enough runner that she ought to know better. "It (wearing two chips) was my boyfriend's way of running with me"!! Well, maybe both of them really are that dumb and self-centred. She confirmed that a friend gave her a ride from 18K to 29K. ATB hasn't banned her so they buy the story.
Mar 29, 2017 9:59 PM # 
What you know is that she was credited with a time of 2:31 the previous year, not necessarily that she ran it that fast. It is quite conceivable that there was some "irregularity" in that event, too, that was simply not caught. Because many people who get caught cheating turn out to be frequent offenders, it is a pretty natural suspicion (perhaps not completely fair, but natural) to be immediately suspicious of either earlier or subsequent successes.
Mar 29, 2017 11:48 PM # 
That's why I chose the words "apparently a good enough runner... to know better". :)

ATB has accepted her story at face value and will allow her to participate in future. They have more info than the rest of us, and they seem to think she is sincere. Regardless, based on her poor choices this year, it seems totally fair for ATB and other RDs to review all her past results and keep a close eye on her in future.

As a follow-up to this incident, I saw a public Facebook post today where an acquaintance of mine was said to have cheated another runner out of the appropriate race ranking in an incident years ago that I'd never heard about. It wasn't black and white; race organizers knew what happened and didn't DQ my acquaintance. I'm feeling pensive tonight after seeing that.
Apr 30, 2017 3:55 PM # 
Very delayed on this thread but we just listened to a podcast called Human Race: Villians and Vigilantes (Oct. 2016) Marathon cheating (you'd be surprised) and the investigations that are taking place.
Apr 30, 2017 8:39 PM # 
Sounds like an interesting one! It's especially crazy how many people cheat every year to get into Boston. And a runner apparently took a train during the race this year!?! This website is a focal point for Boston-related investigations.
Apr 30, 2017 10:23 PM # 
And it's not just with running!
Apr 30, 2017 10:56 PM # 
Apr 30, 2017 11:08 PM # 
I was tailed for a substantial portion of the Mississauga marathon by a guy - ok, an asshole - on a bike who was enthusiastically disqualifying runners who were receiving outside assistance. Things like getting a gel from the crowd instead of an aid station. He would have been unlikely to catch someone cutting the course because he was on it and moving.

I didn't like the way he did it even if I could live with the idea that it was being done. I've never seen it done anyplace else and at the time I was running with the lead female, so I always thought maybe that had something to do with it - someone with something to win or lose and whose placing had a real impact on the results.

In that particular race I had asked Jenn to meet me about halfway to give me a water bottle. At that time I hated to carry my own water and aid stations were too unreliable so that was my solution. With the kids under 5 or 6 and the challenges of getting the car to the spot with all the road restrictions jenn was a bit put off when I refused to take anything that she had tried so hard to bring. I'm not sure any more, but that may have been the race where I ran 3:11:07 and missed qualifying for Boston by 8 seconds.
May 1, 2017 5:24 AM # 
Back when 'Bent ran his first marathon in 2008, it never occurred to either of us that it might be against the rules to hand a racer a water bottle at the halfway point. I found out later - oops. He qualified for Boston twice that year so it's all good.

Unbelievable about that Huffington Post fitness writer!
May 1, 2017 10:16 AM # 
The year I ran Boston was that weird heat wave when temps were like a million degrees. There wasn't a single spectator not handing something refreshing or liquid out to the runners. (E.g., organge slices, ice, water...) Now I didn't requalify for Boston but I imagine some people did and *gasp* ate the orange slices! Where do you draw the line?

It also seems this investigation is by random selection.

This discussion thread is closed.