A total 26,386 out of 26,482 finishers in Monday’s Boston Marathon registered a time at the 20k timing mat. One of the 96 runners that missed the mat, was George Taylor. This was George’s 7th consecutive Boston Marathon finish. George also missed this timing mat in 2015 and 2016 in running Boston Qualifying times. As I did in this article on a runner missing mats in consecutive years, I will show that this is statistically impossible to happen randomly.
99.6% of finishers successfully registered splits at this timing mat. I will assume that the failure rate was similar the past 2 years. I will also assume that all runners that missed this mat were a result of a timing malfunction.
The odds of missing this mat 3 consecutive years calculates as follows: (1-.996)^3 = .0000048% or 1 in over 20 Million.
My math may be slightly simplified, but the conclusion is clear.
Boston Marathon History – Split Times
On his now inactive Facebook page, George posted after The 2013 Boston Marathon. He claimed 2013 as his 11th consecutive Boston finish. He appears in the official results for every year from 2003 through 2017 except for 2010 (More on 2010 later).
Historical splits are available from 2013 through 2017.
In addition to the missed splits there are some interesting patterns. Below is the elevation profile.
George’s slowest pace is consistently at the start and the end of the race. Some of his fastest paces are between 30 and 35k. This is Heartbreak Hill. It would be quite unusual for someone to run their fastest pace in this section.
How would someone cut the course in Boston? They likely would take a page out of Rosie Ruiz’s playbook and take a train. There would be multiple options to use the trains to cut sections of the course.
If someone were to use this method to shorten the course, would it make sense that they would miss the 20k mat?
The map below shows that there would not be an efficient way to cut the course on this section utilizing the Rosie Ruiz method of course cutting. The Wellesley Square station is conveniently located near the 1/2 marathon split.
How difficult would it be to cut Heartbreak Hill without missing a timing mat using the train?
There are stations near each mat just off the course. The schedule may not have been conducive to using the train for this section. In past years he was seen with car keys on course. This is a little curious since he traveled from out of town and presumably wasn’t flying home straight from the race.
Boston Marathon History – Photos
There are a lack of photos in all of George’s Boston Marathons. All the photos are in the last few miles of the course. There are some photos that are interesting. Not necessarily direct evidence of wrongdoing, but curious nonetheless.
2017 Boston Marathon
He is carrying a phone, and something else in his other hand. He is wearing two watches (which is typical for him) and his bib is fastened using only the top pins. Theoretically, this would make it easy to obscure or remove, were one inclined to do so.
2016 Boston Marathon
On a hot day, George decided to take off his 2nd shirt just before the finish line. Again, he is wearing two watches. He also moved his bib onto the tank for his medal photo.
2015 Boston Marathon
Not much of interest in regards to the photos for 2014 or 2015. Again he is limited to photos near the finish. I am not quite sure that I have seen a bib fastened in this manner before.
2013 Boston Marathon
His only official photos are at the finish. However there was an unofficial photographer set up right at the 30k mat. He took these photos.
The photographer that took these pictures was set up right at the 15k mat. In the first two photos, you can see George on the side of the road. He ran this split in his fastest time (6:56 per mile pace). It appears that he is carrying a car key in his right hand. I did try, but I couldn’t quite make out the readings on his watch.
2010 Boston Marathon
George wasn’t registered for the 2010 Boston marathon, but that did not stop him from running.
His bib was a fake. The dimensions and colors don’t even look correct when you compare it to the other bibs. he copied or produced this bib in order to run the race.
recently, he has only run The Boston Marathon. His past results have turned up the following:
As you can see, he missed splits in both of these races. He did not hit a single split at the Marine Corps Marathon.
I also looked at his New York Marathon history, but have found the recorded splits to be missing from another of other runners as well, so I was not comfortable making conclusions based on those results. He ran the NYC Marathon from 2005-2009. He had some times right around 3 hours, but I just don’t feel I have enough data to draw a real conclusion on those specific results. There are no photos available that far back.
In the past I haven’t spent much time reviewing the actual Boston results unless it hit my radar as the qualifier – as in this case. However, this year I have received a number of reports, and noticed some odd split times. I will spend some more time reviewing the splits. For example, I have found a charity runner that managed to run the Heartbreak Hill section faster than everyone including Galen Rupp and Geoffrey Kurui.
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Great work Derek!!!
Hello, Atlanta Track Club?!!!! How can you let this cheat run each year under your team name? Also, it’s time for the BAA to DQ this guy from this and other races for good. Is the evidence not clear enough. Frankly, I just ran Boston and it was brutal. The fact that this cheat has the audacity to do this especially after I saw a lot of runners around me doing their best to complete the full 26.2, makes his cheating thoroughly disgusting.
One downside is that the track club’s can not help who wears their gear to races. (yes I noticed the competitive team singlet)
He’s just wearing their shirt. I don’t believe he is affiliated. He lived there a long time ago. Don’t put this on them.
Ah, OK. They may want to send him a note since he seems to wear their gear each year. Regardless, I think you’ve uncovered an habitual cheater. Would be curious to see his results in other races?
Keep up the great work.
That singlet is very old, somewhere about 1999 edition. Is not a member of the Atlanta Track Club or any of its teams.
While the singlet may be old the hat is newer and was a gift to members back in 2015. Also a lot of people just join to guarantee entry into the Peachtree Road Race.
WTF?! I trained my butt off to qualify, end up not qualifying fast enough. Runners spend what, years trying and we have self centered ass hats that cheat for, what?! Qualifying is a reward to the runner, we don’t get money, fame.. what’s in it for this guy, other than making the list of people I’d throat punch if given the opportunity?
Wow. Great sleuthing, really amazing.
In the picture posted for the 2015 Boston – is that a set of keys (look like car keys) in his right hand?
His garb in the 2013 pictures are very Litton-esque – dark glasses, long sleeved turtleneck while everyone else there is s in tank tops and short sleeves. Bib hidden.
You do amazing work, just love watching cheaters get caught, just donated.
I think you’ve only brushed the surface with this guy: He could be one of the worst cheaters you have ever uncovered. 2015: the weather was awful (wet and cold) and he looks dry and as warm as can be. (If you’re going to complete the rouse George, at least dress the part.) I would be curious to see his result from 2012: 91 degrees, 46 percent humidity If he ran and finished “fast” there’s no way he ran this race, too and probably had a mule do it for him, as well. His repeated cheating indicates a thoroughly demented psyche. Like, please, please catch me.
It’s on the “athlinks” link below.
Wow! So crazy!! He is always wearing Atlanta Track Club Compefitive Team shirts…that is a very competitive team to be a part of and meant he was reimbursed some money for this event. They must be embarrassed…I know I am as a member oft the ATC! Shame on this guy!!!
I don’t think he’s an active member. He doesn’t live anywhere near there.
George is an active member of our tri club in Oklahoma City. We are all in shock. Some people are saying they are not suprised and they have known this for years. But I am shocked. Super nice guy. A lot of us know him as Mr.Boston. It all makes sense though. Thanks for your data.
See my prior comment. He is NOT a member of the Atlanta Track Club or any of its team. I know that for a fact. Please don’t assume or cast dispersion on our club.
Is this the same guy?
Looks like he’s been doing this for years! US 10K Classic 2003, 100% uphill. No way he did it in 41 minutes.
Great job, as usual.
Can you please consider another way to donate? Every time I use PayPal I get my card number stolen and used for gaming. Not even kidding.
Hi Everyone. This is not an official post from the Atlanta Track Club. However, I have been on the Masters Competitive Team (now called Atlanta Track Club Elite or just Atlanta Track Club) since the mid 1990s, including being the Team Coordinator twice. I remember George Taylor, as do a few of my teammates, especially those of us now in our 60s. He did run for us for a few years–as best we can remember–from somewhere around 1998 or 1999 into the first year or two of this century He then moved back to Oklahoma, which is where i believe he had lived before coming to Atlanta. I am very sorry to read about this as I remember him as a soft-spoken, nice guy who we all liked. It is always depressing to read about these sorts of situations. I want to be clear however, that although he clearly kept the singlet, he was not actually part of our team during these years in question. We had a similar incident with a teammate a few years back. We became suspicious ourselves, investigated, reported the situation to the race director and requested he be removed from the results. He was dismissed from the team. Despite the unfortunate negative publicity from all the pictures of him wearing our singlet, it is always great when situations like this are uncovered, so I wholeheartedly concur with others–great work Derek.
It’s weird how satisfying it is to see you uncover these cheats. Maybe its destroying the humblebragging you know they probably livefor.
This bothers me as I have a BQ but did not have enough cushion. It would be better to do this analysis before the registration window closes. Anomalies in a race of this size should be easy to spot and DQ. Every mile should be chipped.
Good work! Now it’s time for George and Atlanta to step up and apologize to the running community. Until then I’ll be training to beat the cheaters.
I do quite a bit of work trying to identify cheating at each race. I’m sure I’ve prevented runners from ever registering. TOugh to catch them all, but I’m working at it.
Looks to be an OKC Landrunner who runs many races. And always has good times, makes you wonder about all of them.
Questioning the integrity of the club that he is a member of would be like a non runner questioning the integrity of all runners. Don’t be an idiot!
Seriously?! That’s painting with a wide brush. The Landrunners are a great club with over 1000 members. I’m one of them. I’m not sure there’s any members running a sub 3:00 marathon right now. The club is much more about support and friendship than competition.
I think Chris is referring to wondering about his times, not all Landrunners.
I absolutely love that you do this. Keep up the great investigative work!
I’m not sure those are car keys in the 2013 photos. Looks like a thin phone to me.
The interesting thing about the 2013 photos is the point at which he’s doing up his shoelaces, or pretending to. That point, just before the 15km mat as I understand it, is closely accessible from off the course only by bike. Right there, they are running on a single road going over a lake. The nearest car access point is some distance up the road. Getting to that timing mat by car would require him to track backwards along the course on foot for a few hundred metres, before turning around, hitting the mat, and going back to the car. Not easy.
So could he be bicycling from 5km to 35km?
Note the following things about this theory. (1) His athlinks profile shows him doing many duathlons, so he’s probably a capable enough cyclist. (2) I highly doubt that a skilled cheat would skip only a single 5km segment of a marathon. It is more likely that he would cut 30km off the course and hit as many mats as he possibly can. (3) This would explain why he no longer hits the 20km mat – it’s too hard to hit a mat at 20km and then at 21.1 km, without getting caught, if you’re cycling parallel to the course. He probably figures that his 15-21.1km split looks reasonable, and it does, such that missing the 20km mat won’t look suspicious.
I agree, the race splits are so uneven and change by a significant amount up and down that I suspect even a novice runner wouldn’t run let alone a supposed experienced marathoner, e.g. in 2017, 7:13 per mile from 15-21k, to 7:43 from 21-25k then back to 7:06 from 30-35k. Most years show a similar variation, except a slow first 5k and slow last 7k. Cycling is a distinct possibility.
Yep – and there is a benefit to George of doing inconsistent splits: the lower risk of the same runners seeing him every time he enters and exits the course at a mat. This isn’t a big risk to begin with: you’re running a marathon you’re not taking notice of Georges. But it’s also the reason that he’d cut the 20km mat completely rather than be seen at 20 and then 21.1.
It also helps that his first 5km split is so slow. He might combine a late start with a slow first 5km to allow himself to progress through the field at each mat, seeing different runners each time.
I don’t see definitive proof of cheating. In 13 and 14 he didn’t miss a single mat. Interpolate the times to 15, 16, and 17 and they seem fairly similar. I see a runner who goes out fast and dies at the end. As you point out, he has fast times around Heartbreak Hill (he does have faster paces on other parts of the course), but I note a definite “bonk” after. That doesn’t seem unusual to me, especially if next years qualifying is made. I would caution anyone calling him a cheater in this litigious world we live in without definitive proof. And a point of clarification, the unofficial photos, taken at the 15K or 30K mat?
He wore a fake bib in 2010. What else needs to be said?!
The definitive proof is in Derek’s article. Along with the fake bib, the probability of him legitimately having missing data from the same mat 3 years in a row is about zero.
it may be incredibly improbable that his chip would fail to register at the same mat 3 consecutive years but it does not follow from that alone that it is very, very probable that he cheated.
While the probability of his chip failing to register at the same mat three years in a row may be incredibly small, it doesn’t follow from that alone that he almost certainly cheated
His active results say he ran a 3:18 in 2012! Ha – so the really hot year he runs 10-20 min faster than all the other years? Right.
I am 58 just entering the world of marathon running. Just looking at how consistent his times are over the years it is like the guy never ages. He is running the same kind of times as he did 5 years ago.
You would be really suspicious about my marathon times! I ran my first marathon at age 58, and I have gotten faster nearly every year since then. I expect to PR yet again next year at the age of 70.
Look at his old marathons that measure splits. He misses a lot of splits.
To clarify further, George was on the ATC Masters Competitive Team from somewhere in the very late 1990s until 2002, 03, 04??? None of us who are on the team can specifically remember. At that point he moved back to Oklahoma. That singlet he is wearing was one we mainly used in the 1999 to 2003 timeframe. After that we switched back to red singlets, although cerainly at local races we would have a mishmash of old white and new red (several different versions overmthe years). We completely swirched the ATC logo–look at his compared to the current one–a few years ago, so at that point no one on the team was wearing that old singlet at competitions. We aren’t even called the ‘competitive” team after 2014. We are as sorry this happened as anyone, but he just has not been on our “elite” or “competitive” roster for at least the last 10 or 12 years, and I think even a little longer than that.
Kirk. Dont sweat it but maybe a letter to George “asking” him to stop wearing your colors at anymore races. It’s apparent he’s an habitual cheater but your great club shouldn’t be tarnished.
I am a local runner and know for a fact George Taylor had his results removed from the Full at White Rock in 2010 where he had “won” 2nd in the M55-59 and the Cowtown Half Marathon in 2013 where he had “won” the top Grandmasters award.
(Fact Check: White Rock time on page 6 in this newsletter http://www.okcrunning.org/resources/newsletter/2011/201101january.pdf but no longer in Official Results http://results.active.com/event_collections/dallas-white-rock-marathon/2010?i=1 )
(Fact Check: Cowtown Half Marathon Grand Masters “Winner” time here http://www.clinesrunningcorner.com/results2013/feb24_cowtownhalf_2013.pdf but no longer in Official Results http://www.mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=7211 )
Was he not identified prior to this for a bogus bib? Seems like he wouldn’t be allowed to enter after that.
I just ran 2017 BM, my 5th consecutive in barefoot. The hot weather was brutal for no shoes runner like me, even though I’m only 75 yrs 8 months young. My Bib#24887 cannot be found in BM official record yet. Maybe I ran this too slow due to my left leg injuries or am I subject to being another cheater like Mr. Taylor? With my age, I really feel sorry for this guy because life is just too short to be humiliated oneself. This is my 14 th bbarefoot marathons. This year I ran with so many handicapped, disabled, or injured runners like me together, and endured with them. Each step was seemed my last step but endured somehow, mainly for those runners constant encouragement! From now on, they are my real heroes!
Thanks Derek! Donated 🙂
Studying his 2017 splits, I’m not sure George runs a step between the 5K and the 35K mat. Looks more like a backstreet bike ride to each timing mat.
Maybe the BAA or some other volunteer group could post people at all the train stops along Marathon route to take photos and videotape anybody who is wearing running gear as they board the trains. That could help in identifying the Rosie Ruiz types.
Excellent investigative journalism Derek!
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