Breaking Down the Photo Evidence That Proves Ryan Lee Should Not Be Disqualified from the London Marathon



Below is a summary of the situation from the Race Director of the Marathon
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said:
“We have a system in place that highlights results which need explanation – for example missing split times and unusual split time patterns. We contact runners identified through this system to ask them to provide an explanation.
“In Ryan’s case, there was no time shown in his results from the 5km timing mat and his time at the 10km mat was 34:10. All his split times from that point for each 5km were about 30 minutes (i.e. about an hour for each subsequent 10km).
“We have not accused Ryan of cheating. We have asked him for an explanation for the time differential and we have also asked him for evidence that he has previously run a 10km in about 33 minutes or a 5km (such as a parkrun) in about 16:20. To date, he has not provided that evidence. We have also sent him an entry form for a free place in a 10km run we organise at the end of this month so that he can demonstrate that he can run 10k in 33:30 minutes.
“Ryan has not been disqualified, nor has he been banned from future events organised by the London Marathon. His results have currently been removed from the database while the investigation is ongoing.”


Ryan initially was credited with an official time of 3:58:32 as seen above.

Since Ryan’s results have been removed from the website, I used the finish line photo to determine the gun time – to determine the time of day that he crossed the start line.
Ryan finished at 2:15 PM. The race officially started at 10 AM. Giving him a 4:15:00 Gun Time
Here are the times Ryan hit each check point (according to the official times) that we can determine:

Ryan Lee #4728
Race Start 10:00 AM
Ryan Start  10:16:28 AM (16:28 Differential)
Ryan 10K   10:50:38 AM (34:10 Net Time)
Ryan Finish 2:15:00 PM (3:58:32 Total Net Time)


Based on This Photo, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for Ryan to have caught up to these runners at mile 1.2 had he started 15 minutes after them. Both of these runners would have been well past the 1.2 mile mark before he Ryan even started. This is PROOF that there was an error with the timing system. You can see his photos on to verify that this is Ryan in the picture above. HThe sweatshirt, shorts, shoes, and appearence all match.

This should nullify any need that the London Marathon has for Ryan to prove that he can run a 10k in 33 minutes. He did not run it that fast, the incorrect starting time led to an inaccurate calculation.

Ryan would have literally had to traveled back in time to this point in the race to have been photographed after crossing the start line at 10:16:28. 

The only conclusion is that the race’s start time data is incorrect for Ryan. If Ryan has a similar differential as the other runners he is pictured with, then there is nothing questionable about his 10k time – or his entire race.

In case there is doubt where the photo was taken, here is a screenshot of Google Street View showing that it was on Charlton Park Way and Hornfair.


  1. It seems like without any evidence of Lee's actual start time, his race results may go unpublished (although he would not be disqualified). It seems like the easiest course of action for getting this ironed out is for Lee or his mother to mention that he started out somewhere between 0:45 and 1:45 after the gun, provide where approximately he hit the timing mat at the start (so VLM knows where in the frame to look; we already know the timing system didn't work).

    This system is used extensively for virtually every NYRR road race in order to provide time corrections, even for deviations as small as a few seconds. At this point, the onus should be on the RD to figure this out.

  2. Or they can just default back to the gun time instead of the known-bad chip time. Sure, it adds an unknown amount to his time, but it's not like this was some kind of record, or would potentially qualify him for something else.

  3. This is what most races do in this situation. Which can be devastating if you're borderline BQ, but not so much for this.

  4. Thanks for this. locks down the photo far as time and location.

    I've contacted the mom..Ryan did have cell phone on him. I showed them how to check location history. unsure if that was enabled on his phone.

  5. I am still trying to get my head round this to be honest

    Timing chip failed at the start by registering an incorrect start time?
    Timing chip failed to register at the 5k mark?

    But from 10k onwards it seems to work fine?

    No running history for ryan in terms of races?
    No statement or comment about his training regime from his mum to indicate what time he was looking for and he was prepared mentally and physically to run this?

    Guess we won't know or see but any Facebook posts from ryan on how his training was going (we all do it – 3hr run done now time enjoy my Sunday )

    No GPS device to record his run?

    Has the timing chip been retained and can it be examined?

    No official photos to support his case

    Do the official photos comfirm he ran the rest of the course?

    All of this doesn't sit right But on the other hand how would he cut the first 10k and why especially when he still has 20 miles to run – if he done the classic duck under the barrier at Tower Bridge then case closed but to cheat at the start doesn't make sense.

    Am on the fence with this one

  6. I do not believe there were official photo spots during the 1st 10k – someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    Really, if you believe that is him in the photo – he HAD to have started before the race data claims he started.

    And, it's not necessarily the mats or chips being defective, it could be an issue with compiling the data.

    He had cell phone – don't know if he had GPS tracking enabled.

    Initially, I was figuring he probably cheated. But I can't get past the photo. The jacket matches, the shorts match, hair, face, shoes, shoelaces.

    If the photo is him, he should be reinstated.

  7. It is still a little weird, a couple of thoughts I had. Looking at this picture, his race number was under his jacket. Could that have an impact on the timing system? Maybe it didn't register at the start and 5K because of this? Still not sure where his 16 minute differential comes in. Unless you really go conspiracy – he ran the course, but ran without his number at first. Someone else took it under the start line, then went over and gave it to him to wear the rest of the race. This was an attempt to get a faster official time but have evidence he actually ran the whole course. I don't believe any of this btw.

  8. Maybe its just me, but an 18 year old "kid" runs a 4hr marathon with no race history, no strava etc on his phone and no running watch. He is also not carrying a bottle of water or gels by the looks of it. He also starts running 26.2 miles with a jumper.

    In all the facebook posts, interviews not once has his mum said anything about how hard he trained etc – I would expect a comment like – He was out training for hours every sunday and he deserves this medal after months and months of hard work.

    You take all those aspects and then we have a problem with either his chip or data extraction at the start of the race.

    I know the points I made are not 100% valid but basically on paper we have someone without any running history, experience or tools which so many runners have who run a marathon and he has done this in a very respectable 4hrs but now we are presented with a technical problem of which has not been seen before in this race(Please correct me if i am wrong).

  9. One point, I believe his actual time is closer to 4:15:00 due to error with his start time. I feel that is reasonable for a fit 18 year old. The marathon says he ran even splits from 10k on. if he ran even splits for 20 miles, it's not much of a leap to think he could have done that for 26.2.

  10. I hope London Marathon do more than just insist he runs a 33 min 10k to resolve this issue – its a really interesting case and both sides have questions that need answering.

    It also surprises me that they havent disqualified him but removed him from the results whilst they investigate….This means the case is still open especially as they have given him the option to run a 10k at the end of the month….BUT they have announced the 1 millionith runner with this case still technically open – They must belive they are on solid ground to do this as this could go down as one of the worst decisions ever to announce a winner with open case(s) which could effect the outcome.

  11. I think VLM have disqualified – hidden – most runners with starting time errors. There are still some tho with unlikely first 5ks e.g. 20m 5k and 5-6hr finish.
    Start time 10:24:30
    5K 10:38:57 00:14:28

  12. Hundreds of course cutters before the 1,000,000 (5:45:18) remain in results.
    Eg. #41500. In fact the results are being amended daily.

    I was in a discussion a few years ago about nominating finisher 100,000 at a major city marathon. The idea was dropped because we could never really be sure of the exact finisher.

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