Kelly Agnew first entered the ultra running scene in 2010. He entered the Labor Pain 12 hour race and completed 31 miles. From there he entered a large # of ultras in 2011 and 2012. Ultrasignup.com credits him with 16 races completed in both 2011 and 2012. In addition to his newfound love of ultras, Kelly ran an impressive # of marathons. In addition to the ultras, he completed 11 marathons in 2011 (mostly over 4 hours), and 4 more in 2012 (all over 4 hours).
He finished mostly middle of the pack in races such as Leadville 100, Javelina Jundred, and Rocky Raccoon. He showed promise, finishing 2nd in the inaugural 2013 Adreneline Night Runs in 2013 and The 2013 Pony Express 100 mile Trail Run.
In 2013, Kelly also seemed to have broken through at the marathon distance. He ran 3:12:16 at the 2013 Provo City Marathon, qualifying him for Boston. He did use this time to run The 2014 Boston Marathon. He finished The 2014 Boston Marathon in 3:48:17.
Where Kelly seemed to show real promise was in fixed time events. Fixed timed events are typically run on loop courses. The winner is the runner that can complete the longest distance in a set amount of time. From 2013 through 2017 Kelly claimed first place in 13 races. 11 of these were fixed time races. 8 were 24 hour races and 3 were 48 hour races. His other 2 victories were in 100 milers.
Suspicions of Kelly’s results began in 2013 when he won the 2014 ATY with 201 miles. He won the 48 hour race despite stopping after 41 hours. He stopped once he knew he clinched the victory. It’s been reported that he has acted suspiciously at other events. Suspicions were confirmed at The 2017-2018 Across The Years (ATY)
Across The Years
From the Race website:
Across The Years is the original fixed-time multiday running event celebrating the New Year! Runners have 24, 48, 72 hours or 6 days to cover as much distance as possible. Each runner is free to walk, stop, eat, and sleep whenever they wish, but the clock is always running!
I spoke with Mike Melton of MCM timing. Mike witnessed Kelly, and below is a summary of what he saw.
Mike was asked to keep an eye on Kelly after race officials were made aware of suspicions regarding Kelly’s past races. Mike witnessed Kelly as he finished lap 17. As Kelly completed the lap, he stopped after crossing the mat. He spent time looking at the monitor located at the timing mat, and went off to the port-o-john. Mike was in the tents near the timing mat where he was able to observe Kelly. Mike observed Kelly for 10 full minutes.
He witnessed Kelly as he spent 7 full minutes in the port-o-john. Kelly emerged from the port-o-john and proceeded to cross the timing mat, registering a lap that he did not complete, and proceeded to run the next lap.
Mike pulled the timing data, and a pattern emerged. This year, ATY added a timing mat mid loop. Mike quickly saw a pattern emerge.
Laps 1- 10 – legitimate
Lap 11 – missed far mat
Lap 12 – legitimate
Lap 13 – legitimate
Lap 14 – missed far mat
Lap 15 – legitimate
Lap 16 – legitimate
Lap 17 – missed far mat
When Kelly was confronted, he said that if he missed a mat, it was accidental. When told that Mike witnessed what happened, and that they determined it was intentional and that he would be DQ’d, Kelly turned in his timing chip and left without much of an argument.
It’s important to note that I kept my eyes on him the whole time – I did not look away or get distracted at all during the 10 minutes I watched. Also, I thought it was significant that he clearly glanced down at his watch as he entered the portable toilet – as if he was marking the time he stepped in. He spent just over 7 minutes in the toilet.
-Mike Melton – MCM Timing
Kelly was retroactively disqualified from the 2014 through 2016 ATY events as well. He had won the 2014 48 hour event by over 55 miles – while stopping with 7 hours left.
In addition to his ATY wins, Kelly’s victories have come at the following events:
Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 24 Hours, Las Vegas Nevada – 2015,2016
Lemming Loop 24 Hours, Manitoba NB, 2015,2016,2017
Pulse Endurance Runs 24 Hours, Eagle ID, 2014,2015,2016
Pulse Endurance Runs 100 Miler Eagle ID, 2016
Beyond Limits Ultra, Mountain Center CA – 48 Hours 2017
Cajun Coyote 100 miler, Ville Platte, LA – 2013
I have contacted, or am in the process of contacting these races. For most of the fixed time races, there is not a lot of data available to analyze. But based on what was uncovered at ATY, all of these results are suspicious.
Fastest Known Times (FKT)
On his blog Kelly claimed to have set 3 FKTs. As I am writing this article, he has deleted all of those posts (as well as reports for all his races that seem suspicious). As I am writing this it seems as though Kelly is busy deleting blog posts.
White Rim Trail
Kelly claims 2 FKTs for this 100 mile loop – He claimed the supported and unsupported records.
For the supported run, Kelly’s wife followed him: He claims to have finished the 100 miles in 17:47:25, beating the previous record by nearly an hour.
The archived version of his page only had some photos survive. There is a picture of him behind the wheel of his car and his odometer which showed exactly 100 miles – which he posted in contrast to his GPS watch – which showed 101.7 miles.
I did take a screen shot of his Garmin before the post was archived.
I emailed Kelly on Saturday asking if he had the backup data that could be used to corroborate the photo on the Garmin. He never did respond (I cannot be certain that the email I have for him is current). But I did attempt to connect with him on Facebook and reached out through a mutual acquaintance, but was unable to make contact with him.
I found this post by Kelly on runningahead.com. Kelly posted about his FKT and was responding to someone who asked about the requirements of making a FKT official:
The only information I found was the picture of his watch face.
Kelly also claims to have run the White Rim Trail unsupported in a time of 21:52:12. The previous record was 27 hours. He claimed to have beaten John Stamstad’s mark by over 5 hours.
Suffice it to say that I have no reason to believe these FKT’s are legitimate. Someone that would openly cut the course at a 24 hour race while running side by side with other runners, would have zero issue cheating when going for a record when absolutely no one is watching.
Below are links to the archived race reports: You can search for the links to his other deleted reports through the wayback machine as well.
Additionally he claimed to have set the FKT for The Ingalis Trail Creek. That blog post has also been removed.
Kelly has completed The Leadville 100 6 times. From 2014 through 2017 he missed multiple checkpoints. I checked various other runners and all of them registered all the proper splits.
His Boston qualifying time was a significant PR, and he ran a significant negative split. No photos and only the half split are available. So there is nothing definitive with the 2013 Provo City Marathon.
It is also suspicious that he has deleted blog posts documenting many other races that are not mentioned here. Why delete race reports of legitimate races? The only post from one of his victories was from The 2013 Cajun Coyote 100. Maybe that was legitimate? It was his first win, and maybe it set the bar too high?
Hammer Nutrition, upon learning of the scandal regarding Kelly quickly reacted. In an email they notified me that “effective immediately Kelly Agnew has no affiliation with Hammer”. I did not contact Hammer or his other sponsors requesting this action. I appreciate Hammer being proactive. I do know that the other sponsors are aware and are doing their own investigations.
Kelly has removed the sponsorship information from his blog.
I could go on for pages. I barely touched on his Boston Qualifying race (He ran a significant negative split – questionable).
I suspect more will develop as people read this, I expect more rnners will come forward and share their experiences.
Many runners left races that Kelly competed thinking that Kelly defeated them. Kelly took the victories from them for whatever reasons he had – sponsorships, status, who knows? If Kelly would respond, that’s what I’d want to know. What was the end game? What was the benefit? Did he think about the runners that he cheated? What’s next?
The interesting thing to me is that this went on for so long before it blew up in Kelly’s face. I think in the fixed timed races, most runners do run against themselves more than in any format. There is a sense of camaraderie at 24, 48, or 72 hour races. When you run in loops with the same people for hours or days, you develop a bond. For many (most) they are shooting for a personal target. They weren’t competing for the victory. That may be why this went widely unnoticed for so long.
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Is he wearing a Comrades Marathon peak in the profile picture? I would be interested in his result there if so.
Yup. Two finishes: 2013 (10:19:01) and 2014 (9:15:21). I’m checking the timing mat splits now for anything untoward, although the name doesn’t ring any bells.
He didn’t miss any timing mats at either Comrades 2013 or Comrades 2014, and his pace for each split is pretty typical (slowing throughout). Nothing anomalous at Comrades at least.
For someone who only completed marathons in 4+ hours except his anomalous BQ, completing Comrades in sub-10 hours is unheard of. BTW Comrades has a large percentage of cheaters every year due to the sheer crowd and point to point nature of the race, so I won’t be surprised if his results there are not legit either.
He ran 3h48m in Boston. Sub-10 at Comrades is quite manageable from there, even low 9-hour. I’d be impressed if an international runner managed to successfully cut the course at Comrades. His Comrades splits are absolutely run-of-the-mill. There is nothing there.
I’m not at all convinced that “Comrades has a large percentage of cheaters every year”. I might highlight 20-30 suspicious cases (using broad parameters) to CMA each year, out of 12000+ finishers. And of those, I could count on one hand the number that bear serious investigation. That is a tiny percentage – considerably less, I would wager, than the background rate of material dishonesty in the general population.
I met Kelly and his wife in the bar at the Durban Hilton after Comrades 2014. Seemed like great folks. I’m very disappointed to see what appears to be a pattern of cheating and would welcome any sort of explanation (or admission) from him.
Kudos to the RD for doing the right thing with the disqualifications and not take the easy way out by looking the other way as many RDs tend to do.
This is good investigative journalism. One bad apple only spoils the bunch if it stays in the barrel. Thank you for helping to pick out this silly fool. The long distance community has its share of jerks and weirdos. (I actually prefer the latter to most people.) But it is still relatively pure compared to most sports when it comes to cheating. If we continue to hold a high standard and share information like this maybe we can keep it that way.
That main picture is definitely taken at the comrades marathon.
Comrades site has the following…
2014 Down 09:15:21 Bronze Finished 2591 / 2396 / 816 41
2013 Up 10:19:01 Bronze Finished 3845 / 3440 / 1218 40 United States
One or two small errors stand out out to me regarding the above report:
Why wouldn’t a Garmin register 101.7 miles when an odometer reads 100 miles? The former has a higher error rate than the latter, and it would be far more suspicious if they matched. Have you ever seen data on multiple satellite units that perfectly matched at the end of a course? Because I never have.
And timing mats fail too. Without data on how many other runners were missed by the far mats at ATY and Leadville’s aid stations it is impossible to tell whether Kelly’s missing data is an anomaly or simply the baseline error rate for the equipment and/or volunteers there. As a race director and frequent volunteer at 100-mile mountain races, I’ve witnesssed plenty of errors occur during races, from failed mats to lost log books to garbled radio transmissions. If Kelly’s error rate is significantly higher than that of others at the same race there’s something, but taking his data out of the context of the whole risks a premature conclusion.
I’m not saying I have evidence to the contrary, but it’s important to remember that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. In psychology it’s called the “availability heuristic,” and it’s important to keep in mind when drawing conclusions from limited data.
I wouldn’t expect them to match..that really did show a lack of understanding of GPS technology.
Regarding Leadville. A missed data point could be an anomaly. Even one race with many missed points could be written off to technical issues. But 4 straight years, when other runners have not experienced similar anomalies?
Sorry, I don’t understand. If you didn’t expect them to match, why write the following: “There is a picture of him behind the wheel of his car and his odometer which showed exactly 100 miles – which he posted in contrast to his GPS watch – which showed 101.7 miles.” It seems to me that there was an implication they should match, but perhaps I misread your prose.
And do you have the data that shows no other runners have experienced similar anomalies? Perhaps check bib #643 in 215.
Or bib# 743:
or bib# 719:
or bib# 636:
Each of these runners have missing splits in the 2015 Leadville race. And that’s just the first fifteen finishers. It would be interesting to see the full data set.
Oops. Just noticed all my links are identical above post, but there’s no way to edit. Ha! 🙂
Point taken. Unfortunately, everything is now questionable with Kelly. He missed Leadville splits 4 straight years. I have not pulled the full data, but It may be a worthwhile exercise.
For the GPS vs car, I just pointed out the context in which he posted the odometer. The GPS face was the important part. He wore a Garmin, but has not provided the backup data as evidence.
Yeah, I was also confused by the images of the odometer/watch. Is the trail for that FKT entirely driveable as well? I mean, is that why he was showing that the truck had 100 miles on the odometer? In any case, I wouldn’t expect that anyone who has run with a watch would expect the watch and truck to be equal at the end.
Your points about evidence are very valid.
However, there have been grumblings (for years) within running groups around where he previously lived about him being an untrustworthy person (read “cheater”). I’ve personally heard stories of someone who witnessed him get in a vehicle with his wife at an aid station in Leadville where “she drove him further along in the course”. According to Facebook (as of the last few hours) he isn’t held in high regard as there are other claims/stories of his sneaky adventures.
I believe Derek’s point is that I could show you a picture of a GPS watch with 1 hour 59 minutes and 26.2 miles distance, but that doesn’t prove that I just broke the world marathon record.
Two photos of two devices that measure distance doesn’t tell anyone anything. What’s meaningful is the collected data from that device, showing the GPS user’s 1000s data points of location / pace / time of day / etc. during those 100 miles.
I’m not an expert, but as far as I know, a GPS data file doesn’t prove anything either. This is because anyone can manually create a file containing GPS data that looks as if it was recorded by a GPS device while traversing a given route at a particular pace. When someone sends you such a file, you have no way of knowing whether the file was generated by a GPS device, or if someone create the file on their computer. The only scenario where GPS data proves something is when you see a person start a run with a GPS device and then you watch the person downloading the data from that same GPS device at the end.
It’s not very easy to manually create a GPS file, but a determined cheater can definitely do it.
I think missing 13 mats/checkpoints in a single race and getting caught cheating in another is enough grounds to call all results into question
This year with the new timing system at ATY they could monitor the far mat real time. The timer was meticulous about this one and has caught cheats at other races. He’s been repeating details about this story on social media. He didn’t know Kelly or had any glee in the DQ. Before each days race, he even gave a speech at the start getting all the runners attention that timing and security was serious this year. As I ran, I was just hoping my far mat stats were always being recorded.
He was caught in the act that’s how they knew the info. was accurate in that race.
Man, this is so depressing and supremely ironic. Out of all your posts I’ve read since the early days, this is the first one I feel has affected me personally. I knew of Kelly from the Runner’s World forums in the 2010-2013 time frame. I ran my first ultra in early 2011 so I read lace_up’s posts with interest. There never had been a large contingent of ultra runners in the RW forum. Ironically, one of the few reasons I signed up last minute for Rocky Raccoon in 2013 was because I read his race report from 2012 and thought he looked really fresh in one of the pics I found of him late in the race. I felt we were of somewhat similar abilities. It would have been hard to cheat that race but it’s amazing that’s what I remember about him in light of this post.
What IS it with double letters, anyway?
What double letters?
I think he’s referring to the alliterative ultra race names – – Javelina Jundred and Rocky Raccoon.
It’s the cheating names: Rossi, Kelly, have double letters. I think it may be just a common part of American names, but I am happy to say I have no double letters in my name and I also don’t cheat. So maybe it IS correlated!
Damn! I hadn’t noticed, but you are correct. If there is a runner named Jimmy Mississippi in any run I take part in then he will be videoed wherever he goes, the cheating SOB!
Hahahaha. Now I get it. 😆
Right, people who are getting caught cheating have double letters in their names: Kip LiTTon, Mike RoSSi, Julie, MiLLer, KeLLy Roberts, KeLLy Agnew
Kelly was a member of a running forum I used to frequent, and also participated in ATY 13/14 and Jacpot 2015 that my kids and I participated in. I never had much direct interaction with him, but what little I did have rubbed me the wrong way. He seemed very aloof and condescending, certainly not typical of other ultra runners my kids and I normally encounter. I wish I could say otherwise, but reading all this today, I am not surprised. My BS meter hit on him immediately, and years later these revelations come out.
He was kicked off of Runners World’s forums for bullying.
Mark – That was the impression I had as well but was not able to articulate it properly. aloof and condescending
Yes That is a Comrades peak , I will go into the records right now & report back.
Already done it, Colin (comment up at beginning). There is nothing anomalous in the Comrades results.
Is that a Comrades Marathon cap he is wearing??? Sure looks like it!!@
this is sad… I feel bad for him… seems like he became addicted to the feeling of winning (but couldn’t actually do the winning)… I’ve done loops, and thought that because I’m slow the person counting the loops has overcounted because they don’t want to be hanging around longer than they need to… I’ve even told someone that if my gps is short, i’m doing an extra lap just to make sure, if I think they’ve counted wrong… I used to think youre only cheating yourself… never occurred to me (because i’m not fast) that you could be cheating others out of their awards… he should return every medal and award that he didnt really win.
Gosh… what a loser. It’s amazing that someone can take any pride in cheating like that!
I see on his FB page that he has a link to a pic of him running a beer mile. I can only wonder how much beer he leaves in his cans haha…
Gosh… what a loser. It’s amazing that someone can take any pride in cheating like that!
I see on his FB page that he has a link to a pic of him running a beer mile. I can only wonder how much beer he leaves in his cans haha…
Topo Athletic (shoes) was Kelly’s main sponsor. They don’t appear to list him as an ambassador anymore but they still host some promotional info about him:
This is sad news to read. Kelly and his wife were regular fixtures on the ultra scene in the west. They were always friendly and supportive. I would have never suspected anything. He would often admit that the multi-day flat races were his sweet spot but he didn’t avoid Leadville and even did Hard Rock once.
I’m married to a guy who has won ultras, and the saddest thing to me about this is the rightful winners have been robbed of that moment of pure elation when they stand in front of their fellow racers and accept the award. My husband has been that guy and you can’t replace the feeling he has had in that moment, and the feeling that my daughter and I, as his crew have felt. Even if the true winners are updated in light of this, they will NEVER get that “moment” they deserved because it was stolen from them.
Many of the rightful winners are discovering that they actually won. I would say they are quite happy about it now, they really put in a huge effort those years. Of course pretty disgusted that Kelly stole it from them for a few years.
We actually saw this happening at a timed event in Athens in 2016. The chap was either in the 48 or 72hr race but, as I was crewing, some other runners alerted me that he was taking a shortcut on the 1km loop. Next came some investigation, alongside crewing, and it seemed whilst most of his km laps were as expected for a race of the length, he ran the odd one in 3 minutes flat.
We also saw him cutting the course and I caught him trying to do the same as your man Kelly and made sure he couldn’t go round and walk over the mat again. It was done under the pretence of forgetting something at his crew table and then trying to cross the mat again.
The organisers, once we had enough evidence and he had enough 3 min kms mixed in with his splits, took action and DQ’d the guy. I couldn’t find his name in any other race results or anything, which seems strange for a 48 or 72 hour runner.
Comically there was then a confrontation with the chap, as he knew I had grassed him up, but when I suggested we ran a 3 min km together, so I could see he was physically capable of doing so, he refused.
I’m not sure why anyone would choose to cheat in these races, there is virtually no acclaim (I say this as a reasonable 24hr runner) and the camaraderie with your fellow runners is one of the great things about it. The World 24hr Championships is a big old meeting up of friends, as much as a race, for me.
Good job catching him out Derek and keep up the good work.
Is his BQ time legit? How about his actual Boston time?
2014 Kelly Agnew Boston Marathon results:
Overall: 3:48:17 ~8:43 pace
His Actual Boston time looks fine. His qualifier is questionable. Large negative split and a big PR. Not enough data from that race to say with 100% certainty. I have my suspicions..
Across the Years also had data from past years. They had a far mat each of those years too and saved the data. Notice that they DQed him also for all the past years. This year they had two far mats, one was impossible to miss unless you went way off course around RVs. No reason to do that. The two far mats this year were on two different systems, backing up each others. Sadly, there is no doubt on this one.
What are the splits in his Bq?
First half in 1:43:51 and second half in 1:28:18. 7:56 pace vs a 6:44 pace.
Looks like he skipped half the Leadville course in 2015 to get a jump on the Hope Pass climb, then he didn’t have it in him to run back up it. That was the first year of the lottery and I didn’t get selected. What an a$$hole.
Kelly was DQed at the 2012 Vermont 100 for missing multiple checkpoints and unrealistic splits between those he did make. Several runners crew members claimed to have witnessed him riding in his wife’s truck. He initially was the last sub-24 hour finisher, but was moved to the DQ list. Some of this is hear-say, but I ran that year, and witnessed his suspicious behavior. I used to be his friend, too, but after his VT DQ, and witnessing several other suspicious results, many of us dropped him. We routinely refer to cheating as pulling a “Kelly” move.
I tried to post the 2012 VT100 results, but the page isn’t loading.
It is also important to understand the ATY course layout. For the first four hours they were running clockwise on a 1+ mile loop, all of Agnew’s laps that direction before DQ. After crossing the mat heading east, there was potty around the next corner about 100 yards ahead that he had already seen more than a dozen times. Other potties were around the loop. If Agnew needed to go, he would have continued on to that potty. But instead he went off course, back around tents, back west, to potties there before the aid station and timing area, way out of his way, waiting and then ran east over the mat again.
Depressing. I got into ultras to avoid exactly this kind of douche-baggery. Is nothing sacred.
I SAW THAT, MARK D. …. AS AN ULTRA RUNNER I GET PRETTY HOT UNDER THE COLLAR WITH “CHEATS”, AS YOU MIGHT REMEMBER WITH THE “KITTY” EPISODE ( HE STILL HAS NOT BEEN DISCIPLINED ). IF THIS GUY DID CHEAT, I’M GLAD THEY “NAILED” HIM & DID THE DISQUALIFICATIONS !
(I’d like to see CMA take back Kitty’s “Double Green” still.)
If proven to the highest level which this evidence presents (direct witness)… then where can we watch the public hanging? I’ll bring the popcorn.
People like this make me sick. What does the guy do for a living? Nice to have the ability to do multiple Leadville’s, Boston, Comrades, Hardrock and other notable and sundry races. It’s not inexpensive. It’s hard for me to believe someone could be so dishonest with regard to racing and then scrupulously legit in everyday activities.
I’ve always felt the same; have even contemplated anonymous tip off to the revenue service before…
I believe with serious chess if one is convicted of cheating all previous results are voided and one is banned for life — obviously to discourage cheating…as a back of the packer who is quite proud of his legit 135 finishes in the past 6 yrs., I’d like to suggest a similar policy here!
I’m a 100M race director and thought I recognized the name. Checked out Ultrasignup and, sure enough, he has finished my race once and did so in sub 24. I’m sure I met and spoke to him at some point that weekend, but I can’t specifically recall. We don’t typically have many sub 24 finishers, although there were quite a few the year he ran due to almost perfect weather conditions. I have no way of knowing if, or reason to believe, he cheated our course, but it would be easy enough to do (as it would be at many trail ultras). Curious to see if more evidence emerges regarding his results, especially his trail ultra results, where he *seems* to perform more in the middle or back of the pack than he does at the timed events.
I linked this letter through fb, but wanted to place it here as well. I had an interaction through Kelly’s blog back in 2012. Kelly’s wife took pics of me racing in the NYC triathlon. In his blog he talked about “never seeing a midget on a bike before” and his wife joked about “getting him a midget for Christmas”. Here is the letter I wrote to the Huffington Post about it. Can’t say I’m not happy about other people finding out what kind of person Kelly really is.
Holy crap. Sorry you had to deal with that. What a pile of trash!
Good article. This Kelly Agnew guy is all round disgusting.
Goodness me, that’s awful. What a horrible man he seems to be.
This showed me (more than any cheating could) what type of person he is. Sorry that you had to deal with his ignorance. Keep up the great writing and racing!!!
Based upon his response to you, I’m guessing this guy won’t be issuing a mea culpa or apology any time soon (if ever) regarding his cheating.
Didn’t anybody in ultra community think something was amiss that a guy, an older one at that, who is just an avg. marathoner at best is winning 200 mile races? Soon as you look at this guy, he screams mediocrity. I wouldn’t believe for a sec this guy is capable of winning any race.
Yes, it was strange but I always chalked it up to these timed races requiring a different type of talent and perseverance to endure mindless small loops along with sleep deprivation, especially at 48 hours and above.
Me too, Randy. I’ve seen him on the trails and at local races, and I was relatively surprised that this was the guy supposedly winning these timed events….but I didn’t give it too much thought because those timed events are their only little world and I just assumed he had figured out the fueling/sleep/pacing strategies.
From what I gather from different posts in different forums about Kelly is that there have been suspicions about him as early as 7 years ago but no smoking gun evidence.
I once got second place in a geezer 12 hour bike race. My support team became suspicious of the winner sometimes during the second to last lap, and had convincing evidence he didn’t complete the winning circuit. They wanted to confront him; my big Navajo mechanic begged to beat him up. In the end we let him take the top podium. I feel alright about it. My race was memorable, hard and full of camaraderie. What he did, or did not, was up to him.
Nice job picking out the anomalies.
As for GPS watches, I’ve run with someone using an identical model and we’ve had several percent variance so what you see on the odometer above seems pretty normal to me
It’s not about GPS distance not matching odometer but not providing GPS details, mile splits, speed HR, etc. If all what it takes to is to provide two pictures to claim FKT then I will do that at the Boston Marathon course this weekend.
Nice pic of Holy Cross!
I’m also surprised this went on for so long. There’s no way a 4-hour marathoner could have posted those longer race times and FKTs as claimed. They just don’t match up. As a very average (but still sub 3) marathoner who has run his share of small, shorter ultras, I rarely found myself at the top of the field. Marathon performance is a pretty direct indicator of ultra potential.
I’m so glad Derek has this site. As the kind of guy who once turned himself in for making a wrong turn at a 50k fatass (that resulted in identical or longer mileage!) I obviously have some kind of mental defect that makes cheating really, really bother me. I also love the RD response. We don’t see enough of that.
I’ve run smaller races where the RDs are great about keeping them legit. My first ever 50k, the RD contacted me to ask about a runner who’d placed 3rd (I was in the top 5 but had never seen the guy, another suspicion in the list for this runner) — it turned out he’d skipped one of the three 10 mile laps. (How bad are you if you cut 1/3 of the course and still don’t “win”?) I really appreciated his looking out for those of us who were putting in the whole effort.
In contrast, there’s another RD near here — a fixture on the ultra scene — who puts on ultras and during a really tough 50 miler (70% attrition rate), it became clear that the “winner” had skipped at least 5 miles of the course. I spoke with him about it later, and he shrugged and said it wasn’t a big deal to him because the guy was only cheating himself. (Odd contention, since the RD hands out some nice awards.) He also mentioned that he’d have no problem having Lance Armstrong come and run one of his races when that whole thing was being floated.
He’s a nice-enough guy, but I won’t run one of his races again. I feel like the lack of concern for cheating betrays a lack of respect for the racers who are out there doing things right. Maybe he’s run too many ultras and he’s too zen about it to be an RD.
And John Young, your article confirms that this Kelly is just a bad person. Let’s add another full stop there. Your description of events is far more gracious and displays greater thought, empathy and patience than I could ever muster were I in a similar situation. You are the kind of person I like meeting at races. I hope we cross paths someday — but I’m not tough enough to ride a bike!
Thanks for the kind thoughts. Doing something different this year. Putting most triathlons aside and going to try 12 marathons in 12 months starting in Boston in April. Cheers!! #BetheHammer
I’m sure it’s expense that races don’t want to incur but perhaps the toilet areas near mats need to be made one way so runners can only go in one way and out the other back onto the course. I’m sure they feel they shouldn’t have to do this, but sadly my experience of people is there is always someone looking to exploit your setup until you have removed all possibilities.
I don’t get cheaters in running because ultimately, all you cheat is yourself but where he’s won titles, the aspect that he has taken away from legitimate runners angers although I’m also guessing that there was financial gain through sponsorship etc?
Interesting about the Leadville results because it’s pretty flipping hard to miss the mat going both directions at Mayqueen! The timing mat is placed at the choke point where the road crosses over the channel so there is no way to have “missing data” without a technical issue with the chip or to completely miss the campground which is pretty damn hard to do.
I may pull full results to really analyze his splits at Leadville. Others have missing mats..but for so many years in a row seems very suspicious..especially based on what we’ve learned about Kelly.
If he missed the outbound and inbound mats at Mayqueen that tells me he probably hopped in a vehicle in the dark and got a ride around the lake. There is also someone who sits by the mat on the inbound leg and tries to write down all the bib numbers that go by. It’s not scientific and I don’t know where her notes are post-race but it would be an interesting double check.
Leadville analysis would be interesting for Kelly Agnew. Still so difficult to believe that LT100 would award him a finish when he clearly did not go through the major mile 40 and 60 checkpoints at Twin Lakes. I suspect that a “defective or obscured chip” defense could have been used by him but I know that the volunteers manually record bib numbers too, as they go through the Twin Lakes fire station. On the few miles inbound after Winfield mile 50, it would be pretty easy to hop off the jeep road and hide in the woods or camping areas and wait to be get picked up by a vehicle, before the left turn onto Sheep Gulch trail head on the Continental Divide trail where the Hope Pass climb starts. But again, how can someone not go through Hope Pass inbound and still get a hug at the finisher’s line?
Agnew 2016 Hard Rock 41:59:59 results look reasonable for his talent level, at an event where it’s a lot more difficult to pull a disappearing act because of the small number of runners + all of the observers.
I guess I don’t understand why a runner, any runner would not be immediately DQ’d at the finish line if the have missed a matt chip time? If you do so in a triathlon your are done, end of story. If they have the matts and don’t enforce the rules I would say that is on the race director and the runner.
I don’t know about you other runners, but part of the reason I compete in races is to impress my wife. After 21 years of marriage, I still love to her her cheering everyone on at races, and that she always tells me how proud she is when I finish.
This guy’s wife either knew what was going on, facilitated his cheating (if you believe some of the stories), or is really really stupid. Makes me sad no matter which option you pick.
Yes, this is something nobody is talking about, but Kelly Agnew is on record saying that ” and I are like pieces of a watch. We work together flawlessly and support each others movements. Always.” His words from his White Rim supported FKT report. A lot of the road marathon cheating incidents are solo lone-wolf efforts but sadly I’m suspecting a systematic planned and team-orchestrated approach here on the trail 100’s like Vermont and Leadville. I don’t think she could have assisted much in the short-track timed events like ATY.
I’m betting he cheated the BQ race too. I live near Kelly and am familiar with the Provo course. The first half is downhill. No chance he was a more than minute per miler faster on the last 13, which is flat. Last half of this course would be easy to cut with a car.
Nice work Derek- I hope you keep outing these cheats!
I have one running experience with him and that was at the 2015 Zion 100. I did not name him in my race report but I wrote about him not doing a loop section. Does not surprise me at all to find out he is a serial cheater.
He’s deleted every single post from his blog. Innocent people seek every opportunity to defend themselves, guilty people keep quiet.
Evidence that he may have used the “pooper” to cheat at his supposed BQ qualifier. While he took down the link to his race report, he made reference to having to stop and poop during the race.
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