Analysis of RnR San Diego Finds Suspicious Results

BIb Mules and a Likely Course Cutter Identified

During the initial review of The Rock n Roll Marathon – San Diego I found some questionable results. Some were cleaned up – mostly runners that dropped to the 1/2 Marathon. I will highlight a few instances where bib mules were used and obtained Boston Qualifying times and one case of likely course cutting.

 

3rd Place Age Group Female – Boston Qualifying Time

 

 

The runner that took third place in her age group is pictured above. An obvious bib mule. It is worth noting that RNR uses the timing chips that affix to your shoes. This runner was identified based on the gun time photos of another runner to confirm that they actually had the shoe chip as well as the bib of the female runner that was registered.

 

4th Place Age Group Female – Boston Qualifying Time

This is where the shoe chip is relevant.

 

The runners pictured in the photos with this runner had MUCH slower times than the woman in the center that has the Boston Qualifying time.

She had nearly identical splits as this runner (1 second difference) but was not in any photos with him on course. They were in a finish line photo together:

 

If you look at his feet, you can see that he has two timing chips – one on each shoe. He carried this woman’s tag and she has a Boston Qualifying time – for now.

I did notice that the woman also had a shoe tag. But she is pictured with another runner that was registered for the half marathon. That runner has no tag. So, she ran with another runner’s tag for the half marathon while her friend ran with both marathon tags while running a BQ time for her. His time was not fast enough to earn a Boston Qualifying  time for himself.

3rd Place Age Group Female – Boston Qualifying Time

This runner had a previous PR of of about 4:15:00 at a Revel Race (significant downhill marathon). Her times on traditional courses have been closer to 5 hours.

She also had a 45 minute chip/gun time differential. Not the largest gap in the field – but she started near the back of the field.

Mile overall time split pace
3.1 0:30:57 0:09:59
6.2 1:00:10 0:09:25
13.1 2:07:13 0:09:43
20 2:43:35 0:05:16
26.2 3:58:15 0:12:03

The split that is most unusual is from 13.1 to 20. Looking at the map below it appears that there is opportunity to cut this portion of the course.

All of these runners and a few others have been reported to the race officials. The other cases may have been timing errors or runners that dropped to the half marathons. I did not see obvious intent to cheat the course with those instances. Some of what I reported appear to be timing issues.

Sag Wagon

I have received reports that when runners miss cutoff times at RnR events that they get bussed to the finish line to receive their medals. While I am not a fan of that particular policy, that is up to the race if they want to give everyone a medal. I am working to confirm that these runners do not receive finish times. This wouldn’t be relevant for BQ purposes, but if you don’t run the full course you should not receive an official finish time. I have seen separate categories in the results of some RNR events where runners were diverted. I am fairly certain that these runners are not intentionally being granted finishing times, but I am following up with race officials.

 

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Categories
RnR San Diego
26 Comments on this post.

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  • Chris Shue
    9 June 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for reminding me why I won’t ever run a Rock and Roll event again. I completely forgot that they award finisher medals to sag wagon runners.

    Leave a Reply
    • Show Me the Money
      10 June 2017 at 2:24 am

      Why does RnR giving finisher medals to sag wagon runners bother you so much, that you won’t do a RnR race? While I think getting a medal for not finishing is weak, if you finish a RnR race you earned your medal!

      Leave a Reply
      • Brian Glotzbach
        10 June 2017 at 4:16 pm

        Because it makes a mockery of the sport and denigrate the efforts of those who actually finished the race in the alloted time.

        It’s called a “finisher’s” medal for a reason. If you’re going to just give it out to anyone who registers regardless of whether they finish or not then just hand it out at the expo with the bib and shirt. No need to even run the race.

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        • Show Me the Money
          10 June 2017 at 6:11 pm

          Don’t be an idiot! Oh, sorry too late. If YOU finish the race in the time allowed and you get the medal, YOU earned it! While it is stupid for any race to give a finisher’s medal to people who didn’t finish, it takes nothing from YOU finishing the race and earning the medal!

          Leave a Reply
          • Brian Glotzbach
            10 June 2017 at 11:28 pm

            Let’s stop with the name calling.

            If you have to jump on the sag wagon because you couldn’t finish the race in the time allotted the you did not finish the race and did not earn the medal.

            Do you even understand what the sag wagon is? It’s there to pick up injured runners or those who have to clear the course because they’re behind the required per mile pace.

            You might want to rethink calling someone else an idiot…

        • Show Me the Money
          11 June 2017 at 1:59 pm

          I’ll type slower so even an idiot like you Brian Glotzbach will understand!

          If you finished a race in the time allowed, what difference does it make if runners who rode the sag wagon received medals? If you BQ, got a finisher’s medal, & placed in an age group at a RnR race and people at that same RnR race who rode the sag wagon also received the finisher’s medal, would Boston not accept your BQ? Of course not. So, people receiving the finisher’s medal even if they didn’t finish has NOT effect on YOU finishing the race. You’re only a whining snow flake who feels the need to bitch about every small little thing!

          Leave a Reply
          • Brian Glotzbach
            11 June 2017 at 5:23 pm

            Lol, the only “snowflake” here is the guy defending giving finisher medals to people who don’t finish the race.

            That’s “snowflake” mentality right there.

      • Molly
        10 June 2017 at 8:39 pm

        Do you think someone who got a ride for part of the race “finished” the complete event? because I don’t. Frankly – I don’t care if they get a medal. I wouldn’t do it if I were the race director. But I DO CARE if they get a race result when they covered part of the race in a sag wagon (or Uber, or the T (thank you Rosie Ruiz)). That is against USATF Roadrunning rules and for the results to be legitimate, they should only include results for runners who completed the entire distance on their own.

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    • Show Me the Money
      10 June 2017 at 2:26 am

      Is there a RnR race that has a high number of BQ’s?

      Leave a Reply
      • derek murphy
        10 June 2017 at 8:00 am

        They are mostly larger races. There are a significant number of runners that BQ at RNR events.

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  • Nicole
    9 June 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I usually run about 2 RnR events a year including Las Vegas where I do the multiple race challenge. If anything, this shows me that I really need to remove the 5k timing chip from my shoe instead of just adding the half marathon timing chip to the other shoe the following day. I never think to only keep the current race timing chip and discard the previous day’s shoe tag. I would hate to be accused of carrying someone else’s tag with me -thanks for the reminder!

    Leave a Reply
    • Ruth Thompson
      9 June 2017 at 2:43 pm

      You can wear two tags if you want, it looks odd. Having two runners with similar times and only 1 runner in photos when another runner should be on the runner’s heels is more than questionable; and how I found 2016 Go Commando Half bib mule.

      Leave a Reply
  • PT
    9 June 2017 at 1:37 pm
  • NF
    9 June 2017 at 3:05 pm
  • Kat
    9 June 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Please cut out the incredible person in the pic with the braids. She has nothing to do with this story and is an extremely hard working elite ultrarunner, as nice and honest as they come. This pic makes it seem like she was involved and she wasn’t. Thanks.

    Leave a Reply
    • Russ
      10 June 2017 at 7:33 am

      Seems like she at least knows the person. Hard to say she has ‘nothing’ to do with it. I wouldn’t have even thought about it had you not commented here… but why is an ‘elite’ ultrarunner’ hanging out with this person?

      Leave a Reply
  • Longboat
    9 June 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Derek, Good digging as always!
    I think you have a typo on the split pace of the last runner. 13.1 to 20.0 = 6.9 miles, time 2:07:xx to 2:43:xx = ~36 minutes, so split pace = 5:12 (+/- 9 secs.). Quite an achievement for a 4 hour marathoner!
    (an 8:xx pace would be per kilometer 😉 )

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      9 June 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Yes, the times were right. I had overall pace in there, not split pace. Obviously that time was not possible.

      Leave a Reply
  • Barry
    10 June 2017 at 5:19 am

    Unfortunately, Competitor group is a profit organization. They don’t give any money back to the community. They don’t like to lose customers so they like to look the other way at any alleged cheating. Yes if you DNF or DNS you get a medal. Trust me, if your plane ✈ was late, drop them a dime they will mail you the medal.

    Leave a Reply
    • Show Me the Money
      10 June 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Their official charity if St. Jude’s Hospital and they raise a ton of money for them! How do you know that other races actually donate the money raised to that charity?

      As for their policy about giving medals to people who didn’t finish, what difference does that make to you, if you finished the race?

      Leave a Reply
    • Washgirl
      10 June 2017 at 8:24 pm

      Show me the money. Yes they WORK with St Judes, but they don’t donate a dime. The runners get the donations. CG is all profit.

      Leave a Reply
      • David
        12 June 2017 at 11:39 am

        Sort of. If you raise enough money you don’t have to pay for your race entry. But yes, they’re not writing checks to St Judes, it all comes from what the runners raise.

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  • Molly
    10 June 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for your work Derek. FYI, I forwarded the info from the RNR website regarding sag wagons to my local USATF chapter and they have forwarded it to the national office. They agree that anyone that does not run the complete course should not get a finish time. I was careful to point out that the RNR website didn’t clearly state whether or not they would take the timing chip from sag wagon runners – which would be the easiest way to ensure that they got no finish time (even if they got a medal). I’ll let you know what I hear.

    I think USATF needs to start giving some thought to what race directors should be required to do when they are provided with information regarding irregular results. I know sometimes the information that you are able to gather may not be considered definitive – but sometimes it really is. And I think they should be required to DQ the runner and remove their results from the race results. I also think there should be some requirement for the races themselves to do some of their own review of results (like missed timing mats) – or irregular splits (9:00 minute pace for part of the race, then 5:00 minute pace in another).

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Leave a Reply
  • Brandy
    11 June 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I ran RnR last Sunday and the course can EASILY be cut at mile 14, along Morena Blvd. There’s a Carls Jr on the corner that many runners were going into (use the restroom? get water? idk…) A runner could easily exit the restaurant in the other direction and continue on, past the mile 19 marker. I was also surprised that there were no timing mats around Mission Bay (Miles 15-19). I thought for sure I’d hit one out there since it was geographically far out there.

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  • Shtinkykat
    11 June 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Looks like RnR SD has already removed the cheaters’ results so kudos to Marathon Investigation and the RD. I’m glad that the cheaters’ identifiable information had been scrubbed in this article so that these people don’t face undue and disproportionate “cyber justice” at the hands of indignant runners. The cheaters can’t crow about their undeserved outcomes now and if they already have, will likely face embarrassing questions as to why their results arent published. That’s sweet justice in my book.

    Leave a Reply
  • Run run run
    17 June 2017 at 10:23 am

    They also gave out a Marathon Finisher jacket. All you had to do to get it was register for the marathon and then turn in a little slip of paper from the bottom of your bib for them to hand you the jacket. They didn’t care if you ran the marathon or not.

    Also, my friend was registered for the full but decided to run the half. They told her to just run it (without issuing a new bib) and they implied that the timing mats would figure out which course she ran. I guess it worked because her 1:44 half was not recorded as a new marathon world record. 😉

    Agree that there were multiple overlap points in the Morena and Mission Bay Area. I’m sure some people just decided to cut the course without evil intentions of BQ. A lot probably don’t even know what BQ is. But I agree that they should not cross the finish line with their timing chip or accept a medal.

    Btw, this is a horrible course for a BQ. The huge mile-plus hill at mile 21+ is a NO. My average pace was about 8:40 for most of the race, but over 12 for that mile! (It was my first marathon).

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