Before I even had the opportunity to start reviewing The Cleveland Marathon results, I received an email regarding the third place female finisher.
My initial reaction was that there was a timing issue. No, it was not possible that she ran a 4:08 per minute mile between the 1/2 and 30k. But, I found it nearly as unlikely that she would have dropped down to an 8:54 per minute mile from 30k to the finish. Her race photos did not seem to indicate that she was struggling.
I emailed The Cleveland marathon specifically asking if there was a timing malfunction.
For what it’s worth, the runner also had posted her Garmin data, which seemingly confirmed that she ran the course in its entirety.
I also pointed out that many others showed this same pattern – impossibly fast split between the 1/2 and 30k followed by an extremely slow split. But overall paces were in line with their 1/2 marathon times.
the overall winner, for example, showed the same type of timing anomoly:
Since the initial email, I’ve received others. I appreciate the vigilance and I appreciate that so many runners are paying attention. I really do feel that the added attention to cheating has started to move the needle a bit. I believe runners are more concerned ans aware that if they cheat, that they will likely be caught.
This afternoon, the marathon confirmed that there was a timing mat issue.
Timing Mat Issue
After some initial back and forth, a race official explained:
“It was a timing mat issue. At that point in the course, the runners run down the road on one side and then come back on the other side of the road. The mat was placed on the wrong side of the road which is why all the runner’s splits at that point is so much faster.”
You do not need to email me if you see this pattern for Cleveland. However, I will still be reviewing the results for large negative splits, etc.
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