A runner was identified in my ongoing 2016 Boston Marathon Review that has a questionable qualifying time obtained at the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon. This runner also has a qualifying time for 2017 Boston that was also obtained in the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon.
2016 Boston Marathon Time: 5:03:02
2014 Philadelphia Marathon Time 3:39:04 (Used as Boston Qualifier)
2015 Philadelphia Marathon Time 3:33:11 (Could be used for 2017 Boston Qualifier)
Review of 2014 Philadelphia Marathon Result
She ran the first 10k at 9:11 pace. She slowed down between the 10k and half marathon, and ran that split at 10:25/mile as seen above.
She missed the 30k split, and finished in 3:39:05. At a pace of 8:21/mi. Which is a faster time than any of the verifiable splits.
She hit the halfway split in a time of 2:08:57 – a pace of 9:50/mile. This would mean that if her result is to be believed, she ran the final 13.1 miles in a time of 1:30:08 – a pace of 6:53 per mile.
Any runner knows, you simply do not run a negative split of 38 minutes at Boston qualifying pace.
Review of 2015 Philadelphia Marathon Result
She ran the first 10k at 9:07 pace. She slowed down between the 10k and half marathon, and ran that split at 10:11/mile as seen above. This is a bit faster than she ran the 2014 marathon to this point.
She again missed the 30k split, and finished in 3:33:11. At a pace of 8:07/mi.
She hit the halfway split in a time of 2:06:59 – a pace of 9:41/mile. This would mean that if her result is to be believed, she ran the final 13.1 miles in a time of 1:26:12 – a pace of 6:35 per mile.
Her times were just a bit faster than in 2014, but the pattern was the same.
Looking at the map, you can see that after the 1/2 marathon point, the course is an out and back. It would be easy for someone to cut any portion of this stretch.
The 30K mat (18.64 miles) is before the turnaround. In this runner’s case, she would have had to cut off a minimum of 3 miles – and likely more.
I do not know if there is an unpublished mat at the turnaround – but based on the fact that this runner’s results did not get automatically flagged, I see this course as a prime target for cheating. A runner that runs 20 minutes slower than their Boston Qualifying standard, could theoretically hit all the published mats, and still cut 3 miles off of the course to register a BQ time.
I am going to do a more thorough analysis of the Philadelphia BQ times from the 2015 race to try to identify anyone that may have cut this course to earn a qualifying time for Boston ’17.
She also missed splits in the 2013 Philadelphia marathon – but did not use that time to register for Boston.
She ran the 2011 Half Marathon in over 4 hours.
Also, her 10 mile paces were over 9 minutes/mile. You typically would not expect someone to run marathons at a faster pace than their 10 mile races. These 10 mile races were at paces consistent to the first splits of her marathons.
I will be reporting these results to the timing company and race officials of the Philadelphia Marathon. If and when they issue disqualifications, I will notify Boston.