There are a couple of quick updates to the Ryan Lee story. I wanted everyone to know that I am still pushing, and that the marathon is still investigating.
Article this morning on This Local London Website Regarding The Evidence
American blogger Derek Murphy says he has ‘irrefutable’ proof that Poplar teen Ryan Lee didn’t cheat in London marathon
The reporter does a good job summarizing the evidence and stating my position regarding Ryan’s results.
She also reported that the London Marathon is still investigating, and will not comment until the investigation is complete.
I take this as positive news. It shows, in my opinion, that they have moved past requiring Ryan to run a 5k or 10k to prove his abilities, and are looking into the real issues.
If that is indeed a photo of Ryan Lee, then he is clearly should be vindicated. The only stretch in question is the first 10k, and the photo would seem to prove that there was an error in the timing during that stretch – beginning at the start line.
The last thing I feel that I have not gone into enough detail on is proving that the photo on the course is indeed Ryan. That would really be the only reasonable rebuttal to the evidence.
Photo Comparison and Analysis
The first two photos were taken from the official photo website. The last was the photo that was taken by a spectator, that was sent to Ryan’s mother after she first made her public plea to look for photos of Ryan. Below are the key points that I believe prove that the photo on the right is Ryan.
- Sweatshirt – it is the same sweatshirt. You can clearly see “adidas” up the arm and the adidas logo on the front left.
- Shorts – Yellow trim is clearly visible on the bottom of the shorts in the first photo and the one that was taken by the spectator.
- Shoes – Same color in the first and last photos – white shoes with blue trim – and the shoelaces appear to match for as well as you can make them ut in the last photo.
- Overall Appearance – Face/Hair/ complexion – all match
There is not a single discrepancy that I can find between the photos that would lead anyone to seriously doubt that the runner in the last photo is not the same person as those in the official photos.
Derek, really great that you are looking into this. Your efforts on this case is even more (much more) important than finding cheaters. I feel terrible for Ryan, and I am convinced that he did not cheat. My take is that he is a nice 18-year old young man that did a really great job completing his first marathon at a respectable time (around 4:15 it seems). He should have the right to be proud of his performance. For him to be publically shamed and labeled a cheater is really unfair, and could lead to negative consequences for him his whole life. Cheating at a marathon says a lot about your character, and to have his questioned in this public way is very serious.
I agree that the photo at around the 1.2 mile mark offers irrefutable proof (if it is him, which I think it is) of a timing issue, but I would have come to the same conclusion even without this photo. Ryan’s case is very different from all other cheating cases. Nobody questions that he actually completed 32 kilometers (21 miles) at an even pace. Any runner with a bit of experience understands that if you can do this, you can also easily complete a marathon. And for Ryan to even think of the idea to skip the first 10k of his first marathon is just extremely unlikely. If you want to cheat, this is probably the least smart way of doing it. Navigating from the start to the 10k mark in London almost requires as much effort as actually running it. An 18-year-old first marathoner is simply not going to come up with this stupid idea. He is just going to be excited to actually run the marathon. Besides his even pace for 21 miles, Ryan also looks fit. Just looking at him I would guess that he could run a marathon at around 4 hours. Other exposed marathon cheaters usually don’t look anything near like the time they recorded.
Some people are questioning why he covered up his bib with a sweater. This is perfectly normal, especially for an inexperienced marathoner. I also ran London this year, and it was cold at the start. More experienced runners appreciate the cold, but a novice runner like Ryan wants to stay comfortable, and keeping an extra layer longer than other runner is normal (I have done it several time myself when I was less experienced).
Besides all this, Ryan actually seems like a really nice teenager. His mom seems very nice and reasonable, and seems to have raised his son well. Ryan is just not the type that would do something like this. Some people are questioning why he is not defending himself more. Well, he is 18-years old, and most 18-year olds simply don’t know how to handle accusations and situations like this. My guess is that he is quite horrified about the whole experience.
The other marathon cheating cases are completely different than Ryan’s case. The proofs are always beyond rock solid, the cheaters have obvious character flaws, they are always hungry for attention, they don’t look fit, and the way they cheat “makes sense”. Ryan is completely innocent, and nothing about him and his case fit the typical cheating picture.
The London Marathon owes Ryan an enormous public apology. It annoys me that “they are still investigating”. They should have 100 people on this case if that is what it takes to find out the obvious. Poor Ryan.
The evidence seems pretty clear, his time should be reinstated. It's a real shame London are not making the decision quicker. This dragging on does not make them look good.
I plan to run London at some point. Things like this could make me change my mind. Do I want to take the risk of training hard, travelling, and then getting DQ for their own timing error?
This is really interesting. I have to confess, I was convinced he'd cheated, but your attention on this is certainly making me think otherwise.
Image on the course certainly looks like them – everything matches, they'd be very hard pushed to say it's not him!
He has been reinstated:
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