Dr. Kip Litton DDS. He was the first recreational marathon cheat that I heard of. His story fascinates me to this day. Never before were one runner’s results scrutinized to the level that Dr. Kip Litton’s were. Even today, 6 years after his last official result, no one knows exactly how he accomplished the cheating. He even went so far as to create a fictional race in which he inserted himself among the fictitious finishers.
Before Mike Rossi, Kip Litton was the first name (after Rosie Ruiz) that most runners thought of when it came to marathon cheating. For those not familiar with Kip, here’s a very interesting story about him that appeared in The New Yorker.
Now there is another dentist with a disqualification on his running resume
Below is a snapshot of my spreadsheet displaying all of his split times at Rock ‘N Roll Arizona Marathon since 2006. The paces are minutes/mile. In some years the mat locations changed. In 2012, the course changed. If a cell is blank, there was no timing mat that year,. If he missed a split, that is noted.
2006 through 2011
The below map is a representation of the course through 2011. In every race from 2006 to 2011, Dr. Pafford has splits that are inconsistent with his normal pace. He did run a time of 4:12:47 in 2005 with normal looking splits.
- 2006 – 05:50 per mile from 13.1 to 20 – 8:40 per mile Final overall pace
- 2007 – 06:34 per mile from 13.1 to 20 – 8:39 per mile Final overall pace
- 2008 – 05:08 per mile from 13.1 to 20 – 7:49 per mile Final overall pace
- 2009 – 05:38 per mile from 13.1 to 20 – 8:31 per mile Final overall pace
- 2010 – 05:47 per mile from 13.1 to 20 – 7:34 per mile Final overall pace
- 2011 – 04:54 per mile from 13.1 to 20 –7:23 per mile Final overall pace
The obvious opportunity to cut would be on Thomas Rd. If one was to cut and pick up the course at mile 15, you would skip about 1 mile. In Dr. Pafford’s case, that would save about 8 minutes.
Comparing the outlier splits to his 13.1 mile splits, Dr. Pafford ran the distance from 13.1 to 20 anywhere from about 3 minutes to over 4 minutes per mile faster than you would be expected, saving anywhere around 25 minutes or more in that 6.9 mile stretch each year.
25 minutes would be equivalent to about 3 miles at his normal pace, which would be representative of about 3 miles cut. That could have been accomplished by taking Thomas Rd all the way across to mile 20.
Other Marathons between 2006 and 2011
2007 Boston Marathon 4:19:41
2009 Boston Marathon 4:15:28
2010 New York Marathon 4:26:07
These are his only other marathons during this time frame, meaning that he used the Arizona races as his qualifiers. These times are also in line with what would be expected given his normal pace in the RNR races.
2012 through 2017
- 2012 – 04:49 per mile from 13.1 to 16
- 2013 – 06:31 per mile from 13.1 to 20
- 2014 – 06:46 per mile from 13.1 to 20 mile + missed mat at 16.7
- 2015 – 07:04 per mile from 10k to 13.1 mile – 06:37 per mile from 20 to 26.2
- 2016 – 06:02 per mile from10k to 13.1 mile – 06:57 per mile from 20 to 26.2
- 2017 – 06:27 pace per mile from 10k through 26.2 after 9:34 pace from 0 to 10k
The easiest and most likely area to cut is the circled portion – the out and back section. The 13.1 marker is at the very beginning of this section.
2012 is very curious, the 4:49 split for the 2.9 mile stretch is definitely suspect. If you assume that he is incapable of running a 4:49 pace for 3 miles midway through a marathon when he ran the first half at a 9 minute pace, he would have needed outside assistance to hit the 16 mile mat when he did.
As is the case with practically all of the races from 2012-2017 he only has photos near the finisher area.
In 2013, he missed the 16 mile mat which is near the turnaround point. In 2014, there was a mat at the furthest point out at mile 16.7, which he missed. Also beginning in 2014 his splits from 20-26.2 were extremely fast.
In 2014 through 2017, inexplicably there was no longer a mat placed on this out and back portion. Greg’s splits have gotten progressively more head scratching each year. He always has a remarkably fast split from 13.1 to 20, but lately there have been similar splits on the entire back half of the course. He has been disqualified from the 2017 race after registering a personal best time of 3:08:31 at the age of 55..
|Greg at the 2017 RNR Arizona Marathon|
I will forward this article to the race officials. My hope would be to have them review the prior results, and if they disqualify him, have him removed from the official Boston finishers lists. At this points, that is more symbolic than anything. I am also of the opinion that any runner that cuts a course multiple times (can’t claim ignorance) or enters Boston with a falsified time should be permanently banned from the event.
I also encourage the Rock ‘N Roll Arizona Marathon officials add back the timing mat on the out and back section at mile 16.7.
I did attempt to contact Greg for comment, but have not received a reply as of yet.
Please consider a contribution to help support the site. Contributions help to offset costs associated with running the site and help to enable me to compensate those that assist in data collection, etc.
Thanks to all of you that that support Marathon Investigation!