The Cheater’s Guide to Winning an Upcoming Marathon
Is it normal to think about cheating? This weighty topic has made headlines more often than we find comfortable, so we thought you might like suggestions in case you decide to cross the wrong line!
If you think about cheating on occasion when events let you down or you find yourself in a state of desperation because you haven’t been able to crack a PB ceiling all season, you’re not alone. Thoughts of cheating can be particularly frustrating when you read about folks who seem to have zero consciences when it comes to putting the sport you love in jeopardy.
Follow their lead? Only if you are prepared to deal with the consequences of getting caught plus the wrath of everyone in your crowd. On the other hand, it takes a creative mind to come up with clever ways to cheat and we’d like to hand it to those who have tried. Literally. We’d like to use a relay baton to hit you over the head for trying (but not succeeding) in ruining the sport we love!
The twins scheme
Got an identical twin? Your race is run if you can counterfeit the race bib you’ve been assigned at the collection point. Your job is to take off like a streak of lightning and once a respectable amount of time passes, your twin (who has poured water over himself so he resembles a sweaty contestant) arrives at the finish line doing a great imitation of someone who’s totally out of breath. Hope Mum’s not at the finish line to see your duplicity.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Follow the lead of history’s two most infamous running cheaters by putting your own spin on these two ideas. Emulate American Rosie Ruiz who used mass transit to seal her place in history at the Boston Marathon over three decades ago.
Not to be outdone by the colonies, Londoner Anthony Gaskell scouted a shortcut before running the Chicago Marathon in 2010, then used it to cut 10 miles from his route. The dude was 69. Maybe he wanted a medal before dying of old age! Read more about these cheaters and try to figure out why they risked all here.
Don’t bother to register in the first place
Western society is not the only epicentre of cheating. Participants in this year’s Beijing Marathon proved clever when they became the poster child for the unsavoury practice of race banditing.
The origin of this scheme has legitimate roots: there weren’t enough race slots available for runners eager to register at this year’s Beijing, so applicants devised fake bibs. These not-very-bright conspirators forgot to put different numbers on the bibs, which is how a photo of three dudes wearing the same number landed on the page of this article.
The puzzling case of “Bibgate”
China’s not the only nation where runners got into the fake bib business. A bunch of Boston Marathon runners showed up at the start line wearing identical numbers in 2014 but the cheating didn’t stop with counterfeiting.
Some participants gave their bibs to younger runners so they could post better times in a category reserved for the older set. The Bibgate scandal proved so devious, the owner of “the real number” didn’t find out that four strangers wore her number until she purchased a package of race photos!
Run below the radar
If you’re trying to win a marathon by any means possible, you’ve got to think as brilliantly as you perform. This wasn’t the case when U.S. leisure runner Tabatha Hamilton came up with her plan to win the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon despite being only a recreational runner. Her finish time came so close to the Eritrean guy who held the world’s half-marathon time of 2:58:23, that organisers couldn’t believe their eyes when Tabatha finished in 2:55:39.
Seriously? Officials called foul! Lesson learned: if you’re going to cheat, don’t set a world record or come close to setting one.
A cut above the rest
As part of his appearance on the TV show “The Biggest Loser,” a contestant ran a marathon to prove he was fit. Broadcast network NBC was delighted by his performance—until they found out that he “hitched a ride with the show’s crew for three miles.”
No crew waiting to get you closer to your finish line? You could try to follow in the illegal footsteps of Brit runner Rob Sloan whose bus ride was captured on video for all the world to see—especially officials who stripped him of his 3rd place immediately.
Reasons you never want to cheat!
- Your friends are going to make fun of you for the remainder of your life (if you have any left, that is).
- How will you live with yourself if you get away with your scheme?
- Members of the opposite sex won’t date you. If you cheat on a race, you could cheat on a relationship!
- You could be disqualified for life from running one or more marathons; the international running community is small.
- You’ll wind up on the front page of sports websites, newspapers and maybe running magazines. Don’t kid yourself into believing prospective employers won’t find out about your duplicity.
- Your Mum may never stop crying because she’ll see your cheating ways as a reflection of her upbringing!
Think cheating isn’t pandemic? It's sad to see how devious people can be when they put winning ahead of ethics and let us know what you think about this subject.
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