Another Case of Cheating at Lehigh Valley Health Network VIA Marathon

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I was copied on an email this morning that was sent to B.A.A. identifying a female that registered using a qualifying time ran at the 2016 VIA Marathon. I will be forwarding the email to the VIA Marathon with a link to this article as well.

While I can verify with certainty that the runner that finished the VIA marathon is not Ms. Hong, I can not be 100% certain that this is the same Ms. Hong that is registered for Boston. Once bib #s are assigned, I would be able to match that to her qualifying time.

With all of the negative press related to Mike Rossi, and a train blocking the path of would be Boston qualifiers, they have an opportunity to do the right thing and issue a disqualification where it is obvious that it is warranted.

Lehigh Valley Results

Using the link above, you can type in Bib #2663 to see the results. If you click on the video, you see a male crossing the finish line holding his bib at precisely 3:33:05 – The official gun time credited to the female runner. A photo of this runner is below, where you can see a partial view of the bib.

2016 Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon Result – Bib 2663

Lehigh Valley Marathon Photos

Bib is visible attached to runner’s shorts

Runner has removed the bib and is carrying it across the finish

As noted on the photos, this runner has removed the bib from his shorts and is carrying it across the finish.

As mentioned in the top of the article, I will be forwarding this information directly to Lehigh Valley Marathon and the timing company. The initial emailer only emailed Boston. Boston will not likely act unless the qualifying marathon first issues a disqualification.

30 COMMENTS

  1. I bet many VIA Marathon racers have noticed this and reported to the organizer. They are just too arrogant and slow to act.

  2. Barb McKeever and Gerry Yasso don't care about cheating, it's too hard to pick up a mouse and DQ cheaters like Mike Rossi. Much too hard. Now signing those checks THAT'S where the action is at.

  3. Jung Hong and her bib mule cheated someone out of a rightful 3rd place Masters Female award. To make everything right in the universe, I contacted the cheated someone. I hope this leads to action on this. This might expedite the disqualification process.

  4. I commented on that in the article. But the pictures runner crosses the finish line in the video at the same exact clock time as the female runner's result.

  5. Actually there were very few mid-age Asian runners at this year's race, whether man or woman. It's very easy to identify her/him. And also only the first digit was not shown. How many variations can be? Two or three at most.

  6. Could he perhaps have accidentally clicked F instead of M on the entry form? Maybe we should check that out before we hang him.

  7. It's quite possible that he clicked F by accident. But using this time to register for Boston is no accident. And now he or she is on the entry list.

  8. No accident here. The mule bib wore the bib on the SIDE of his shorts. I mean, who does that?!! And then takes it off for the finish. Who does THAT?!!! And then "accidentally" registers for Boston as a woman? This took some thought. I don't know why people continue to cheat when there are cameras everywhere and websites like this one! BAM!

  9. The marathon has contacted me, and they will be correcting the results. They are claiming it was a gender misclassification and misspelling of the name. I will keep an eye on the Boston registration. As stated in the article – I am not 100% convinced that the entrant listed there is the same runner. I will reach out to BAA.

  10. I am trying to ascertain for certain that the runner registered for Boston used the VIA result. Could be a different runner with a similar name. Couldn't find another qualifier under that name however – so I think it's more likely than not that it is the same runner.

  11. Thank you so much for doing this …. to all those who say give him the benefit of the doubt, why would he have his bib sideways and then take it off at the finish line …. answer so that his photos are not displayed against the bib number and they will be in the huge file of unidentified runners.

  12. Also seems odd second split from 10k to 13.5 miles was 45 sec slower per mile than other splits. Could the woman have run then, any pics from that area of the course? OR maybe wanted to slow down so as not to make the finishing time too fast (my guess). Great job. If there is not a dq etc, I would be surprised. Karma has bit this joke of a race hard.

  13. The 13.5 mile timing mat must be placed wrong. If you look at the results, everyone's timing got mess-up there. It has nothing to do with this cheating case.

  14. North Bergen, NJ (Lehigh Valley's Jung Hong), is located 3.7 miles away from Palisades Park, NJ (Boston Marathon entrant Jung Hong). It is not exactly a popular name, if you google it or check the White Pages. Whose error was the gender misclassification? Hong's or Lehigh? Also, why enter in Female Masters division, instead of 40-44, 45-49 or whatever? Was that also an accident? Also an accident taking the bib off at the finish line, from his HIP?!!

  15. Derek, would you be ok with sharing their correspondence here? It is odd that they would call this a gender misclassification AND a misspelling of the name. Which one is it? Both? They could have just changed the result or done a DQ, but now they're raising more questions. I don't trust them.

    PS, they would NEVER DQ-ha!

  16. I'm not saying that this specific person did what I'm about to describe, but there are some races that match your bib number to your photo without the bib being visible. I did the Illinois Marathon a couple of years ago and ran in a pace group. It was windy, so I tucked in. The race photos for me show the group I was running in, but you not only can't see my bib – you can't even see ME. My guess is that the photo company syncs up the timestamps of the photos with the times of the race.

    Now you may be right that this person did this to avoid appearing in photos. I mention this just as something interesting.

  17. Why is anyone even questioning whether this person was cheating? Taking your bib off before the finish line is prima facie evidence of cheating. There is absolutely no reason for someone to take their bib off while crossing the line unless they were cheating or banditing.

  18. I just received the below response from Barb McKeever:

    Subject: Via Marathon Inquiry
    Thank you for contacting the Via Marathon, we appreciate the information you provided about this matter. After an internal investigation, Runner 2663 has been disqualified from the 2016 Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon which took place on 9/11/2016. Another person, ran in her place using bib #2663. This was verified through a phone conversation with the runner and by photos of the runner who ran in her place wearing Bib #2663. The Boston Athletic Association has been notified of this disqualification.

    Sincerely,
    Barb McKeever
    Race Director

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