Popular Blogger Banned from Boston


Gia Alvarez – banned from all future B.A.A. events

According to popular blogger Gia Alvarez, (RUNgiaRUN) , she has been banned from running in all future BAA (Boston Athletic Association) races. Gia qualified for 2015 Boston marathon by running 3:32:50 at the Chicago marathon in 2013. She also qualified for Boston in 2014 (did not run) with a 3:32:40 time in the 2013 LA marathon. Gia was pregnant during Boston 2015 and could not run the race. She says she gave the bib to a friend. Her friend ran a time of 3:22:41 while wearing Gia’s bib.

The following excerpts are from her blog where she made this announcement. I left out the portions that got into her personal life to focus on the the points that are relevant, and why she was (deservedly) banned.

While she admits that she gave her bib away – she really had no choice. She publicly posted that she did not run the race in 2015. And she seems to be taking responsibility, but I am left with the impression that she still considers herself the victim in this. The comments that she has allowed on her blog are mostly supportive.
Gia I am so so sorry that this happened to you! It makes me mad that someone reported you. It’s not like you qualified for someone else! I don’t think what you did is wrong at all! It might have broken the rules, but with races like Boston being almost impossible for anyone to get into these days, I think it’s fair that you did that! I’ve run on other people’s bibs and I’ve given my bibs away. Who doesn’t?!

Oh Gia. I’m so so sorry. I can’t imagine the heartbreak over this and not being able to run Boston. You’re right – it’s doesn’t seem like a big deal at all and most of us have transferred a bib or been a recipient at one point in time. At the same time, I can’t believe someone reported you! Sending a big hug to you!
The tone of the comments are troubling – Not everyone swaps bibs. It is against the rules for a variety of reasons. When you sign up for a race, you need to abide by the rules – and that includes not giving or selling your bib to another runner. However I can almost empathize if someone who naively thought it was no big deal to give the bib to a friend finds themselves banned for no other reason. Gia was openly posting on her blog about NOT running Boston 2015 – so she was not initially trying to pass that result off as her own.
There is, however, one crucial piece of information that Gia left out of her blog article.

Edit: Proof that Gia used the 2015 Boston result to enter 2016 Boston Marathon

This is where Gia loses any benefit of the doubt. Gia knowingly and intentionally applied for a bib using a time that was not her own.
This is where Gia’s supporters should start to question her. Gia is not an innocent victim of a bib swap policy. She did not qualify to run Boston this year, and never should have entered.

Gia, the reason you are not running Boston this year, is because you did not qualify to run Boston this year. The reason that you will never run Boston is because you attempted to cheat to gain entry. This was not a ‘mistake’ and it will not be forgiven by the BAA.

Gia has posted an apology admitting that she used the 2015 Boston time to register for the 2016 race.



  1. Here here!!!! I hate when people just cannot fess up and apologize for what they do. No, EVERYONE does not, not even mostly everyone does not just casually pass of their bibs. That's complete BS and a justification for her to gain sympathy for the BAA ruling.

    Do we know how she qualified for Boston this year if she didn't run it last year?

  2. Where is the proof that Gia used her friend's qualifying time? I don't see how you can make an accusation without posting proof of that. It seems like a pretty critical piece of information.

  3. She has run zero marathons within the 2016 qualifying window. Boston issues bib #s based on qualifying time. Her bib number is in line with the 2015 time her friend ran wearing her bib.

  4. Boston issues bib #s based on qualifying time.

    Bib 12388 3:21:51Qualifying Time (Sandeep Badveev, Boston)
    Bib 12839 3:22:41 Qualifying time (Gia Alvarez, Boston)
    Bib 12840 3:22:41 Qualifying Time (Carrie Miller, Boston)

  5. This is not ok. I hope you got all the page views you needed by publishing this hateful piece. She admitted her mistake and her friends supported her. I hope you feel awesome about pointing the finger.

  6. Yes….The BAN is final. Gia rec'd her death sentence because she did the unforgivable. How dare her use someone else's finishing time as her own. Plus, I'm willing to bet Gia knowingly gave her BIB to someone SHE KNEW could run faster than she thereby guaranteeing her a "good" time…good enough to qualify for the following year. I conclude the whole ruse was premeditated. All of us knew too well how difficult it is to QUALIFY for BOSTON. What Gia did was spit on all the hard work of EVERYONE who has accomplished the feat….

  7. She totally cheated and broke marathon laws.
    There is no arguing that.
    The fact that she has a lifetime ban says it all!

  8. I've never run Boston as I only ever ran one marathon on a lark and ran 3:18 when the qualifier was 3:11. However, I was a serious runner with PRs from 9:11 for 3000 to 56:11 for 10 miles so had I focused I'm sure I could have.
    I would never run as a charity runner because I think that is cheating your way in as well.
    All of that said… Is this really the best use of your time? Getting all worked up about 3:30 marathoners?

  9. Yeah there is no way to keep track of all the millions of runners around the world and their "official" times if bibs are given away to this one and that one. It really amounts to cheating at the same level as doping. Not acceptable.

  10. Nellie, are you suggesting that everyone ignore the fact that she cheated in order to qualify for 2016? She obviously, KNOWINGLY used the time that her friend ran in last year's race to qualify for this year. This "mistake" was not admitted by Gia.

    She didn't get a "curve ball" thrown at her, as she states in her blog. She cheated in order to gain entry, and that is not a forgivable offense. And anyone who takes her side as a cheater is, well, not very ethical either.

  11. Thanks for the additional research Derek. I saw this on LR yesterday and posted that I didn't find Gia's blog post to be trying to paint her as the victim, at least not in a big way. But the additional research showing she hasn't run one since 2013 and used her friend's performance to get into Boston this year – that changes my opinion. Not cool. Had she posted a comprehensive account of how it all went down that would be one thing. But to leave out incredibly pertinent details on her blog like I DIDN'T RUN THE TIME I SUBMITTED TO QUALIFY FOR BOSTON I think her supporters would react differently than they have.

  12. is there any idea who the “anonymous tip” came from? In situations like this, it usually isn't so "anonymous" relative to the person (Gia).

  13. I agree TeeJay!! the biggest issue here is using the time she didn't run to get into 2016. bib swapping is enough for the ban, but there can be no innocent oops plea by her, esp since in the comments on her apology post someone asks her point blank and she won't answer to that. geez.

  14. If she cheated to get into Boston by letting this fast friend (3:22) use her bib, then how do we know that she really ran those times at Chicago and LA?? Perhaps she let her friend run for her!!!

  15. I run a theme park blog, and we are VERY careful about posting honest and truthful information (especially when it comes to breaking news such as the rare occasion of an accident inside a park).
    I'm proud to say we have never broken any rules to get our coverage. But IF I was going to do that (I wouldn't) I wouldn't in-turn write about it and not expect there to be any fallout from the parks we have fostered relationships with.

  16. I know, Gregg, which proves that Gia is not only a cheater, she's also stupid. She has a coaching business, which I'm sure will be heavily compromised now that she's been outed as a cheat.

    How dumb can you get??

  17. Bit harsh..Doesn't really affect any other runner………Now compare it with this: Some years ago (I think 1978) I was invited to run the Winnipeg marathon because the event organiser was and old club mate of mine and because although the marathon wasn't my first event I was a a double Olympian at 3000mts steeplechase with 8.22 and had previously finished 3rd in the Turin marathon. I was not being paid any appearance fee, just travel and accommodation…When I arrived I was told that Domingo Tibaduiza from Colombia, a world class athlete who also competed by that time in 2 Olympic Games, would be running. I was pleased to hear this as I knew Domingo very well having trained with him, met him on many occasions and he'd also stayed at my house in London so I was looking forward to seeing him again. On the evening of the day I arrived I was taken to a Welcome reception and my organiser friend took me over to find Domingo……..but to bewilderment, as we shook hands, although this person looked remarkably similar to Domingo, it wasn't him!….I just blurted out, "you're not Domingo" He looked shocked and said yes he was…..people started turning around and looking as I demanded to know who he was…It turned out it was Domingo's younger brother (also a runner but only club standard) whom Domingo had sent, fraudulently, in his place and would collect what I later learnt was a $3000 appearance fee…….But he'd been found out. Of course he was not allowed to run and I believe the Canadian Athletic Federation demanded the Colombian Federation impose a ban on Domingo and seek to re-reimburse the costs of the brother's flight……So Gia, what you innocently did pales to insignificance compared with this effort to defraud.

  18. John – it does affect other runners. Runners who did not gain entry into Boston when their [qualified] entry times missed the cutoff because people like Gia were granted priority.

  19. She was asked about the charge that she used her friend's time to qualify for Boston this year. Her response: "I am not choosing to comment on that at this time." Make of that what you will.

  20. TeeJay, dunno about her coaching business being "heavily compromised" judging by the drooling sycophantic poor Gia comments on her blog, seems like she's getting the sympathy vote, but then again she has been selectively editing.

  21. Doubler, you are reaching many corners of the globe and even getting long posts from back in the day legends like John Bicourt. Well done, you'll have big money advertisers getting in touch next:).

  22. Great story..thanks for sharing. While I agree that Gia herself didn't affect anyone, cumulatively, I believe there are enough cheaters to Impact those that just missed qualifying. I would bet that the severity of the ban was due more to the 2016 entry than the initial swap.

  23. It could be an interesting additional layer. What if it is a rival or someone she screwed over in the past? IT makes for an even more interesting and cautionary story.

    Also, just because it doesn't matter to you doesn't mean you get to decide that it doesn't matter for everyone. 😉

  24. Totally agree with TeeJay! Amen! She admitted she gave her bib away, but completely omitted her entry into 2016 was with her friend's time, using her borrowed bib. Hasta la vista, Gia!

  25. I wonder if Gia's friend is wearing the coveted Bostin Marathon Adidas jacket! Shame on her if she is. Worse yet, maybe Gia's worn it. It's pretty simple… Do not compromise in any way the most prestigious Marathon in the world. Too many have trained and worked so hard to legitimately qualify. Own it, Gia, you intentionally committed an unpardonable wrong.

  26. I would be willing to bet that there is spot checking/auditing by BAA for this type of behavior. Skipping the race/qualifying multiple years in a row or any other special or notable events probably earmarks you for audit/closer look.

  27. Can anyone clarify something for me? Did she get banned for life because she let someone else use her bib entry into a marathon AND THEN it was discovered that she also used that person's time to qualify for the next Boston Marathon?

    Both of these are obviously no-nos but it seems like the second is more serious because of preventing someone else from participating.

  28. Icarus, BAA hasn't come out and said. However, the accomplice qualified for Boston 2016 on her own. She is still listed as being registered. If the bib swapping alone was the reason for the lifetime ban, I would think the friend would be banned as well. Just my educated thoughts.

  29. Anon, congrats on being a very fast runner. Not all of us are as fast you apparently are. I, personally, think 3:30 is a damn good marathon time. I've hovered around the 4:00 mark. Faster runners should support slower ones, not belittle their speed with comments questioning why people are "getting worked up about 3:30 marathoners," as if those runners are not important to the sport.

    But anyway, that's besides the point. Whether you are trying to qualify for Boston or just trying to get into the lotto-entry NY Marathon or similar, doing it by cheating is not fair to those of us who play by the rules. I do, however, agree with other commenters that Gia's use of her friend's time to get into 2016 is worse than the offense of swapping bibs.

    Incidentally, sometimes exceptions might be made if you ask respectfully. A friend of mine was once registered for the Marathon du Medoc and was unable to run due to medical reasons. She emailed the race director a polite message explaining the situation and asking if, despite the standard non-transferable rules, an exception could be made to transfer the bib to me with me being happy to pay an additional registration fee. The race director accepted the offer.

  30. This person is garbage. She used that bogus '15 Boston time to cheat her way into the 2016 race. That's cheating, plain and simple. And there are no excuses for that. All you moral relativists who are making excuses for her need to look in the mirror. Sometimes you gotta draw lines in the sand and enforce community standard. She's a cheater and was rightfully banned by the BAA. I also think she should be banned by the USATF. No room in organized running for cheaters like her. Also, how pathetic that she plays the "mamma" card. What a ridiculous person.

  31. I am all for bib transfers but the one issue that people forget is that you must qualify for Boston which means it is not like any other marathon and bib transfers are not OK. No one would ever let Usain Bolt transfer his bib to some random person o his choosing at the World Championships. He qualified and if he doesn't run the next deserving qualifier should get it. In my opinion Gia made that the real problem and she should be banned for that in the first place.

  32. Wonder when her coach will weigh in as well…she had to know she did not qualify as she didn't run in 2015…

  33. Very good point. Maybe the coach should be banned, too. Gia should be banned from all races. This kind of cheating says something disturbing about her character and so it shouldn't stop with the BAA; it should continue with a ban from the USATF.

  34. Just read her lame ass apology posted today. She's saying she's sorry, yes, but she's also blaming others for "hatred." Gia, you've built a brand on lies and have been exposed for your lies and cheating and now it's time to pay the piper. We all make mistakes. I sure have. But cheating isn't just a mistake; it's a serious moral failing that hurts the entire community. You disgust me. Quit blaming others for hate and just own this f'ing thing.

  35. Interesting on her coaching page says "as of 2014 she is not taking anymore clients", when google shows on march 26, 2016, the page did not have that line, and clearly was still taking student.

  36. IMHO (@MalindaAnnHill)

    Gia had plenty of excuses in her "cautionary tale" post and even more excuses in her recent "apologies" post.

    A simple "I cheated. I was caught. I was punished. I am sorry." would have sufficed.

    That is all.

  37. TeeJay, thanks for calling out Anon on his/her comments regarding "slower" runners. How arrogant of this person! I think, for the most part, "fast/elite" runners (or those who in their own minds think they are) are kind and supporters of us "slower" runners. I remember back in 1995 I was running a marathon in hopes of qualifying for the 100th running of The Boston Marathon. I was running my heart out and had about 3 miles to go. One of the faster/elite runners was doing his cool-down after he had already crossed the finish line and was running his cool down in the opposite direction of the course. He actually ran with me as I completed my final 3 miles and encouraged and really pushed me the entire way. What an uplifting experience! I did qualify with some time to spare but was so grateful for his support and willingness to run with a much slower runner.

  38. they already have had many, this is similar to Mike Rossi, only he cut the course multiple times for his qualifiers.

  39. Much like the Lance apology, these cheaters really don't believe in their minds they actually did anything wrong, but they have to admit to 'something' to try to save face and let the heat drop.

  40. the part that is so disrespectful to me is… did she not consider the fact that there's a SECURITY reason for knowing exactly who is running? what if she had done this during the year of the bombing and god forbid, let her friend run the race for her – what if the family had been called b/c they assumed the person wearing the bib was Gia but in fact it was her friend? Appalling.

  41. "We think it's innocent. We don't think we will get caught"
    All other clear indications aside, this statement alone is a contradiction. If she thought it was innocent, any idea of 'getting' caught wouldn't have even crossed her mind. Foolish, foolish woman.

  42. What's honestly the most troubling thing here is that she wrote a sympathy post on getting banned for giving her bib away, why would you even go there if you knew that the time you used to qualify wasn't even yours. I hate hearing stories such as this, she likely took someone's spot that worked for years to qualify only to be short a few seconds – no where in her apology post does she even consider the impact she had on others. I have no sympathy and quite honestly she deserves to be banned from the BAA and other major marathons. Bad choices, and being dishonest, has consequence. Get her out of the race forever so that people that deserve to be there can be – keep the integrity in the sport.

  43. I have so many friends who have struggled to make qualifying times for Boston and have achieved this goal but not by enough of a margin to actually get into the race. It pisses me off to no end that she stole a race spot from a deserving runner. AND the fact that she feels SHE is the victim…. talk about a selfish and self-centered person!

  44. Could not agree with you more: she makes a mockery of the institution and of the city. Unbelievable the balls of some people. She is ridiculous!

  45. Cheater all the way. Just because you don't "admit" it.. i.e. Lance, Julie Miller, etc. doesn't make you innocent..it makes you arrogant. For those of us who have worked our asses off with blood, sweat, and tears, it is a wake-up to those who think they can get in the easy way. Good for Boston.

  46. The bib swap goes deeper than the timing of her race. As a medical coordinator, the bib number is sometimes my only means of identifying a runner, their health concerns, and their emergency contacts. I have called numerous emergency contacts based on registration information and have been shocked to find out that the victim we were not treating in the med tent was indeed NOT the person who registered. "Oops! Sorry to notify of your sick loved one who rally ISNT your loved one! Any idea who I just treated?!?!?"

  47. Can the B.A.A. confirm the identity of the bib wearer? You'd think Gia would have turned her in to the B.A.A.? Maybe the B.A.A. can't prove the identity of the bib wearer? Bib transfers are clearly against the B.A.A. rules. It seems that should be enough to get the bib wearer suspended from running this year (or even banned for life). If she was Gia's accomplice in the actual cheating scandal, she should definitely be banned the same as Gia.

  48. The B.A.A. is aware of who the other runner is. She qualified to run Boston in another race and is still registered. It does seem that Gia is getting the punishment more for using her friend's bib to register for 2016 than for the 2015 swapping of bibs. I chose not to give out the friend's name because I don't think she deserves the amount of attention that Gia is getting because of her popularity. I am aware of numerous cases of bib swapping, and have never posted an article or named anyone for that offense alone. I do believe it is a serious infraction – but there are too many instances that I'm aware of to justify the attention Gia's friend would get just because she is associated with a popular blogger.

  49. Anonymous, it's good to know that the BAA does not agree with your idea that a charity bib is cheating. Charity runners raise millions of dollars that benefit the Boston community.

  50. Gia's friend ran the 2015 under someone else's bib, which is against the rules. She herself did not have a 2015 qualifier, so in essence, she cheated her way into the 2015 race just like Gia tried to cheat her way into 2016.

    Anyway, this friend of Gia's (whose name is also all over the web now, BTW) was ultimately removed from the 2016 race, even though she had a legitimate qualifier (2014 Philadelphia).

    You cheat, you get caught, you get punished. It's as simple as that.

  51. Gia's friend did run and looks like she blew up in the second half of the race – finishing at 4:10:42 – far slower than her Philly qualifying time. Not saying she didn't earn her spot (though I agree she should have been punished for running previously with someone else's bib) but she certainly didn't have her best day.

  52. Gia's friend Tara Schwitzman (aka Schwitzbib) had her entry removed prior to the race, and she does not appear in the official results. You are apparently talking about a different friend of Gia's, and not the one who ran with Gia's bib in 2015.

  53. Gia's friend Tara Schwitzman (aka Schwitzbib) had her entry removed prior to the race, and she does not appear in the official results. You are apparently talking about a different friend of Gia's, and not the one who ran with Gia's bib in 2015.

  54. Its not ok! I would not allow her into any of my race events.
    She took something sacred and made it profane.
    Ban her from any events unless she pays someone to track and validate her!

  55. The real crime in all of this is that they spot women 30 minutes on the qualifying time….should be more like 15-20.

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