It was a hot day at The 2018 London Marathon. The temperature was the hottest recorded in the history of The London Marathon.
Negative splits were rare. Over 40,000 runners started. 481 non elite runners ran negative splits. (1.2%). Some of those runners cheated.
There is course cutting at practically every marathon. This article is not meant to be critical of The London Marathon for the fact that there was attempted course cutting. However, given how aggressive The London Marathon has been in removing runners with missed splits, it is surprising to see some obviouss course cutters still in the results over a week after the race.
There were very few missed timing mats at The London Marathon among the finishers. There were 9 intermediate checkpoints. Only 313 runners out of 40154 non-elite finishers missed 1 or more mat. (0.78% of runners). Out of 361,386 possible checkpoints, runners registered at 360,661 of those. (99.8% hit rate).
313 runners missed 1 or more mat
170 runners missed 2 or more mats.
91 runners missed 3 or more mats.
51 runners missed 4 or more mats.
42 runners missed 5 or more mats.
28 runners missed 6 or more mats.
17 runners missed 7 or more mats.
4 runners missed 8 or more mats.
Not all of these runners cut the course. Some may have had faulty timing chips. A small % of missing data is expected among legitimate runners.
The group of runners that are most suspicious are the runners with multiple missed splits combined with questionable pacing.
20 runners missed timing mats AND ran negative splits (faster time for the 2nd half of the race compared to their first half). This only includes runners that hit the half marathon checkpoint. There were a number of runners that missed multiple checkpoints including the 1/2 marathon mat. Some of these are slower runners that may have hit these points after the mats were pulled. A couple in that group were suspicious.
Of the 20 runners that ran negative splits and missed mats, the breakdown is as follows:
Missed 1 mat: 7
Missed 2 mats: 3
Missed 3 mats: 7
Missed 4 mats: 3
Some of the cheating is obvious:
1:03:28 2nd Half Split
The above runner was in the group that missed 3 mats:
He ran the 1st half in a time of 2:15:25 and he ran the 2nd half in a time of 1:03:38.
He missed the 25k, 30k and 35k timing mats.
Looking at the map, it is apparent that he ran over tower bridge and past the 1/2 checkpoint and turned around before reaching the 25k checkpoint.
No 2nd Half Splits
The runner above ran the 1st half in a time of 2:05:XX. He finished in 3:29:XX. He did not hit any of the intermediate splits after the 13.1 mile checkpoint. Despite not hitting any of the 2nd half splits, he is pictured crossing the finish line looking at his watch.
The runners above are just two of the most egregious examples. Other runners have similar patterns, and I will report them.
Two runners with identical splits missed the same 3 mats while logging significant negative splits on their way to a 4:15:XX finish. This was easy to prove. There is zero chance that both of their chips experienced malfunctions on the same exact mats.
After hearing stories of The London Marathon removing runners (like Ryan Lee) and making them prove their time, I am surprised and disappointed that runners like the ones profiled above are still in the results. I pulled the results on the Wednesday after the race, so I am not aware of how many runners may already have been removed from the results before I scraped them. The numbers referenced above were based on the results posted at the time. The runners mentioned above are still in the results.
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