I wrote about “Fake Tina” after The 2016 Boston Marathon. In the initial article I gave her full name – that was a mistake. I do think the story is interesting, and sad. I am not posting her full name or any identifying photos in this version. Those details are not important to the re-telling of the story of a woman who went to great lengths to convince others that she ran The Boston Marathon.

Fake Tina was planning to run the Boston Marathon in 2016 – or that’s what she told everyone.

Pictures of Boston. It was later determined that they were actually pictures pulled from a running blog.
A photo of Fake Tina with her Boston Marathon jacket.
Tina was doing great! Not sure how she was being tracked though.













Her friends and her husband are very proud. There were multiple Facebook posts congratulating her. It is unclear if her husband was truly aware of what was going on.

She posted this photo on Facebook after the race.

She had the Mylar blanket, but no medal. Also, she did not appear in the results. But she had an answer for that.

Not only did they misspell her name, they just gave her an entirely different last name, according to Tina.

Shortly after that, people started asking her where her medal and pictures were. She had no answer for the medal. She said the pictures were too expensive. Of course if there were any pictures, she could have sent the link through marathonfoto.

As it turns out, the “misspelled name” assigned to bib 26264 belonged to another runner –  “Real Tina”.  Below is a photo of the real Tina wearing her bib and a medal – two items that the Fake Tina has been unable to produce so far.

“Real” Tina – On The Left

I can envision the non-running Tina grabbing a discarded mylar blanket to pose for her photos. We know now that she never had a bib. Maybe she went to the expo in hopes of somehow obtaining a bib, or was this the plan all along?

The real Tina  was tipped off by someone that saw this other woman claiming her time, and her identity. She was not pleased.

So I’m guessing she just searched the BAA website’s entry list. (She) actually traveled from out of state, went to the expo, bought the jacket, took pics on Boylston and posted them on FB (her FB page isn’t private so I saw them). I was shocked. None of the pics showed a bib and when I got the marathonfoto pics, they’re all of me. She clearly didn’t run but posted a pic of her wrapped in Mylar. just today, she posed pics with the medal. I’m not sure what to do since she didn’t bandit my bib, but clearly this is so wrong.

Fake Tina got her medal a few days after the race.


It is likely that she found a medal on EBay or Craigslist. They became available immediately after the race.



Initially I wasn’t sure how to feel about this story. On one hand, she didn’t bandit the race or actually forge a bib. And, while many runners may disagree, it’s not a crime to own a Boston Marathon jacket if you haven’t run the race. I don’t think anyone is going to balk at a Mylar blanket theft. Buying a Boston finisher medal, is disheartening, but not illegal.

But the level of deception she attempts is really unbelievable – and unbelievably sloppy. If she were really a runner, she would know how easy it would be to uncover the truth. The fact that she involved an unknowing runner in her scheme, and attempts to deceive all of her friends, and apparently her husband is incomprehensible. This is an example of how prestigious the Boston Marathon is to many, and how far some will go to try to get a piece of the glory.
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  1. Let’s compare this to the Stolen Valor law. Anybody can wear a military uniform or pretend to be a member of the military or veteran but they violate the law when they receive monetary value for falsely claiming to be a member of the military or a veteran. So, even if these assholes get a free meal or cup of coffee they are violating the Stolen Valor law.

    Another thing, the buying/selling of military medals isn’t against the law. You can search ebay or craigslist and find Purple Hearts for sale!

    So Fake Tina gained what monetary value by claiming she ran the Boston Marathon? Did she get a free cup of coffee? A discounted meal?

    You should be more concerned about people cheating during a race, people cheating to BQ, and people using a mule. Bib switching because somebody wants to run in a sold out race is wrong, but if the results aren’t used to BQ, who cares!

    • Derek is allowed to post on whatever he would like – it’s his website and blog. I believe he is just pointing out the emotional instability and marked narcissism that fuels almost all these cheating exploits. The desire for the adulation, acceptance, and admiration of others is powerful to some. This case is not unlike Kip Litton in a sense – he spent lots of money to fly all over the place and not run marathons. It would appear that this woman went to a lot of trouble to to appear that she ran Boston. Sad. Jane S flew to Ft Lauderdale and then re-biked the course at running speed for 90 minutes for her half marathon cheating expedition. Of course there are cases where the cheater in question has financial incentives but even then, narcissism is a big factor. The number of these cases is astounding and an interesting social phenomenon.

    • He is concerned with people cheating to qualify for BM. that’s the focus. This is a bonus story, I’ll take all the content regarding running cheaters I can get – for too long this has gone unnoticed. Don’t worry there will still be many a story on BQ, Bib Switching, etc.

    • Haha, “Stolen valor”, as though competing in a marathon and earning a participation medal is vaguely comparable to earning a military medal. Derek’s work is a nice example of how data science can make formerly intractable problems relatively straightforward, and I think there’s value in calling out cheats, but let’s be realistic about the scope and importance of this work. Unless you’re in the prize money, you’re running because you enjoy running, period. A finisher medal does not equate to “valor” in any adult sense of the term.

    • Ok what is sadder, the guy that runs the blog pointing out liars and cheats, or the loser-wannabe-hall-monitor that comes to post on said blog (and probably many others)? Move along then if you see something you do not like, quit trying to tell everyone else how they should think – trust me once you are dead only a few loved ones will miss you, and then after a few decades you will be long forgotten like the rest of us. Get over yourself.

      I for one love what this site stands for and does, we live in a world of cheaters and now we have the communication technology to point them out! AWESOME,

      • I completely agree, I am our running year round training to do the events I’ve registered for. Some of my friends don’t qualify to get into events like Boston – but they take it on the chin. Then the liars and cheats get the places that should be filled by others. I love the site and I hope the investigations continue for years to come.

  2. We don’t know much about Tina, her life or her problems. She is obviously an emotionally unstable & insecure person. I don’t think putting her story on here helps anyone. She’s didn’t steal a spot from anyone or use a bib mile. I support the stories of course cutters & bib mules enough that I have donated $. But this story is not much more than online bullying & trolling a person who obviously has some sort of mental insecurity. I believe calling her “fake Tina” is a cruel thing to say. I hope that shaming her for something that has caused nobody any harm doesn’t cause her to harm herself in anyway. Have a heart Derek & pull this story off your otherwise useful blog.

    • Oh come on – she isn’t being bullied (an overused term anyway nowadays imho) – her last name was not used and since she wasn’t actually in the race, she cant be looked up in pix etc. She posted all her lies online herself. Derek was nice not to shame her.

      I think this “case” falls under “stolen valor,” faking some type of glory akin to a military person faking something to gain an award or recognition of some sort. This is a sad case but does illustrate the lengths someone will go to even say they ran Boston and get the approval of others..

  3. These types of people are sociopaths. You’re lying about something that is a PERSONAL achievement. No one else cares if you finished Boston – that is your own achievement. If you lie about that, what greater lengths might you go to in things that truly matter?

  4. After discovering this blog I was gomg though it with a considerable interest at first. At first. Then I began thinking to what point and purpose it is being done. In this case exposing an obviously mentally instable individual and publishing her personal details (as was done in the initial article). Notthat I cry foul at publishing personal details – given how much people give away nowdays in terms per personal information it is their fault. The big question is what is it to Derek? The story has a potential to duve a mentalli unstable person over the edge. What possible good, apart from personal gratification aling the lines “I’ve done it beause I could” does it bring?

    Another thing is I really do not understand the point of Derek’s effort. So people cheat and break rules. They do it every day, everywhere. They drive over speed limit, they lie, they appropriate, they steal, they plagiarize. And franckly, nobody cares. More so, they more often than not applaus those who do is succesfully on a grand scale. The races are not about money, they are not even about fame – aper from this slifer of easily forgotten glory a post on Facebook brings. Who cares? Why bother? I’m what in US would be a Cat 4 (and an average one that that) XC rider. I don’t care that I’m slow – if I finish faster than the last time I’m damn pleased with myself. I don’t see a point in ever cheating because I would know I cheated. That kills the fun. But if someone wants to cheat and brag they rode the course faster…? Why now? what is it to me? I would have more problem with people banditing the race, actually. Other then that – I could not care less. Cutting the course, using a mule, even doping – what is your problem people? Getting all fired up over a medal and an instagram photo people “should not have”? Where does this obession with showing off comes from? I never get it.

    Maybe this year I climb out of “Cat 4”. Maybe not. Especially since I don’t have a car and often bike 10-15 miles and theh back just to the race (which does not make me any faster on the course!) – not many public transport option allow mountain bikes on! But I really do not care as long as I’m faster than the last time on the course. Why do you care?!

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