Course Cutting at The 2018 Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Nearly every race I review has some instances of course cutting. Boston is no different. The weather played a part. DNFs were up vs. 2017. Some runners were unable to finish. Unfortunately, not all of those runners completely accepted the reality of their DNF. Some traveled further down the course and claimed their finishing time and their medal.

The weather undoubtedly was to blame for runners not registering times at some mats. I am not reading as much into consecutive missed mats as I typically would. That said, there are some very suspicious results. Runners had their bibs under layers, and timing mats were likely affected by standing water.

Leaving Early

There are a number of runners that appeared to start the marathon and left the course only to come back in the last miles. Some seemed to give an initial effort before leaving the course, only to hop on the course in the last mile to get some photos and collect a medal.

This runner appears in the results with a time of approximately 2:40:00. This includes a 1 hour 2nd half split, the fastest in the field. He hit the half split in about 1:39:00 and then did not hit any timing mats until the finish. He jumped back in the last mile to claim a medal. He did post GPS of his run, admitting that he was a DNF.



Barely Running

10 runners with finishing times did not hit any intermediate timing mats until after the ½ marathon point.



This runner was one of only 7 to miss all mats prior to 40k. There was also timing data returned from mile 25.2 that is not published. I was able to pull that data, and she hit that timing mat. I am very suspicious of the runners whose chipped worked only at the start and then again the last mile.



Coming Up

There are any stories that I am following up on.

  • I will write on a runner that was the victim of a timing malfunction. I helped her gather the data that should get her reinstated with her Boston Qualifying time.
  • I will lay out the evidence on the ‘Retro Bandit’. I will show clear proof that he was not the owner of a legitimate bib.
  • More articles bandits and bib forgers.
  • I will continue looking into the results to identify more runners that cheated in their qualifiers.

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  1. I had to leave the course due to injury. My splits were,6:55, 6:41, 6:47, 6:43, 7:01, 10:13, 14:38, and 23:11. My goal was under 3, but after injury I just wanted to finish, but could not. I ended up with a dnf, and some hypothermia. So I have knowledge here. During my walk there were plenty of places to leave the course. I did see a few, but it was chaos and hard to tell who was doing what. After leaving the course I had my bib checked and scanned 6 different places. I took a short bus for 45 minutes, waited in a long bus for a half hour, and then was a drive to the finish. The volunteer staff were professionals and very diligent. I didn’t see anyone get back on the course. But it would have been very easy to do, if you did not get medical attention. As it was, they dropped us off at the finish. I did not collect a medal, but I assume doing so would have been easy as I jumped young right into the line to get gear check. I wouldn’t even take a banana. I only earned the right to get my gear. Tough conditions and love that all those folks finished, but for someone to cheat under those conditions after everyone else worked so hard makes me angry. Pathetic.

    • You still have every right to get food and whatever else at the finish (except a medal). That is part of your entry fee. The medal is the only thing awarded for finishing.

    • Good on you for doing the right thing. My Boston ended similarly to yours, at 14.5 miles. I’m chiming in just to reinforce that the medical support on the course was excellent and I was saved from a worse case of hypothermia because of spectators who gave me hot coffee and summoned the EMTs.

  2. Fyi, I ran and saw NO timing mats under water. Water mainly pooled on the side of some roads. My chip worked on every mat, and I was out there over 4 hrs.

    • BAA has confirmed that there were some weather related issues. Maybe not pooling..but it had a clear effect on the timing system. I will report a bit on it this week,

      • My chip didn’t register at 15k nor at 40k so not surprised if there were a few more missed split times than normal. Luckily, my 10k-20k split was within a few seconds of my start-10k split so I probably don’t show up in the suspicious results! 🙂

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