I wanted to elaborate more on the project that was the topic of the Runner’s World article. You can go to the bottom of this post for links to 3 particular cases that I felt warranted further attention.
A group also was formed on Facebook to discuss racing and to investigate potential cheaters outside of a public forum. Last August I made the following post to the group: (typos included)
The group got together and was instrumental in coming up with the initial process and criteria of who to review. Boston issues bib #s based on qualifying time, so we were able to accurately estimate BQ time based on the bib # of the runner. We settled on marking for review everyone that ran Boston 20 minutes slower than their estimated qualifying time. One member came up with the scatter plot of bib #s vs. Boston time. You can see a clear trend, and see clearly where the charity bibs start. We plotted Boston finishing times vs. bib #.
|Boston bib #s plotted vs. finish times.
The runners in orange are those that we have flagged as having invalid results with 100% certainty. The runners in blue were either cleared or we just did not have enough evidence to put them in with the invalid results. The green dots are runners that were initially marked for review but have not yet been examined. The grey dots were not flagged initially. There were a few instances where other information and tips led to a review some of those runners.
At greater than 40% variance between Boston time qualifying time, about 11% of the runners were marked as having invalid results.
At 20% variance between Boston time and qualifying time, the rate of invalid results leveled off at around 2%.
1409 runners reviewed – 54 results deemed invalid (Additional runners were detected that were not validated prior to sharing the data with Runner’s World
– either at the qualifier, or at Boston (3.8% of runners reviewed in total deemed invalid)
- 12 cut course at qualifier
- 33 bib swaps – someone qualified and sold/gave bib to another runner
- 11 others – Did not qualify legitimately – either someone else ran the qualifier under their name or race results were modified.
With the 2016 marathon less than a week away, the BAA is focused on putting on a safe and successful event. I suspect that anyone not yet removed from the 2016 race will be allowed to run. I will follow up again after the race and give the BAA and qualifying races all the information they need to make decisions on these runners for the future.
Although I am not naming all the runners that were found publicly, there are some cases that I felt were noteworthy to report on – the articles are below.
- Multiple runners qualified for and ran Boston that do not appear in the photos or the finish line video.
Running Blogger’s Marathon Times Under Scrutiny
- Seemingly impossible splits backed with social media evidence shows evidence of course cutting.
- This runner has admitted to the evidence that was in the article and taken down his blog. As a result, I felt it appropriate to remove the article.
- Multiple instances of course cutting, disqualifications, and a forged bib.