Historically, the Philadelphia Marathon has had it’s share of course cutters. The course itself gives multiple opportunities for the would be course cutter to cut miles. Up until last year the organization turned a blind eye towards cheating. Last year that changed. With new management in place, the marathon did a much better job removing cheaters from the results.
In looking at the initial 2017 Philadelphia Marathon results, it appears that there is no shortage of those attempting to cut the course.
**There were 7807 total finishers – I analyzed the first 7015 runners. Mats were pulled late in the race. Including the last of the runners would skew the analysis.””
Notice the jump in missed mats at the 30k split: from the map below you can see that the 30k is along a long out and back stretch. There would be ample opportunities to cut on this section of the course.
In fact, if someone were so inclined, they could cross the 1/2 mat, go about another mile and cross the finish line.
There actually was a runner that finished the first half in over 3 hours, and the 2nd half in about 20 minutes. I think that was more the case of someone just bailing – although there is no reason to cross the finish. That runner is currently sitting in first place in their age group. They are sure to be removed from the results.
253 runners missed at least one timing mat. As detailed above the first two mats were missed just 0.5% of the time. There was obviously more that led to the large # of misses of the 30k mat.
If you acccept that 30-40 misses of the 30k were legitimate, that leaves approximately 200 runners that cut the course. This is a rough, non-scientific estimate. The vast majority of those runners were not age group winners or Boston Qualifiers. Let’s look at the BQ #s.
|Boston Qualifiers:||984 runners|
You see a similar increase with the last mat. I am looking into these runners more thoroughly. In addition to those with missed splits, I have some flagged with unexpectedly fast split times between the 30k and the finish. These would be runners that may have cut after the 30k mat.
I have come across a number of likely repeat offenders. I will detail those results in a second article to come out next week. So far, there about 15 BQ runners that I am confident in saying cut the course.
There area larger # of runners that have missed splits where their paces didn’t change so substantially that I can say without a doubt that they cut the course.
There was a timing mat at the turnaround. Those splits are not published, but the race uses that as an additional piece of information to determine which runners cut before the turnaround. I will be monitoring the results to see which of those runners may be disqualified.
More To Come
Some of the runners I have identified as likely course cutters were also identified last year. I will be writing on the repeat offenders next week. I also want to see photographs so I can try to determine which runners were proudly displaying their marathon medals after running less than the 26.2 miles required.
Additionally, I will be writing about a running club founder that openly and blatantly encourages running with other’s bibs. He states that others can run with the chip or without the chip depending on if the original owner wants credit for the time. This runner used another’s bib to run in Philadelphia this past weekend.
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