Analysis of London Marathon Results – Course Cutters were Obvious

Analysis of The London Marathon shows that some runners took shortcuts rather than finish the race in record temperatures.

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.

 

Timing Data

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.

Negative Splits

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.

 

Summary

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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London Marathon
53 Comments on this post.

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  • peteturbo
    1 May 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I cant get a ticket for London. I ran Southampton the same day – it was hot and the second half was hell. But these cheats took the place of people like me who did make it to the finish and would love to be in London.
    Thanks for naming and shaming.

    Leave a Reply
    • Kevin Bryant
      1 May 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Sorry you can’t (as yet) get a VLM place.
      I ran Southampton also:I was drooping rather in the last 10k. because of the heat, no negative split for me,I was very glad to finish without having to walk at all.
      However unlike the cheats at any run you and I and the vast majority of others can look back on our medals with pride.
      Happy running.

      Leave a Reply
  • randy
    1 May 2018 at 3:00 pm

    “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.”

    One runner with 2 chips, cutting the course?

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      1 May 2018 at 3:02 pm
      • JT
        2 May 2018 at 7:24 am

        I have looked at results and a more stark example was someone who ran 12:19 pace first half and 5:39 pace second half with splits at 25 and 30km missing.

        In total I think i’ve seen approx 21 possible course cutters.

        Shortly after the results where published some names had ‘Result in Query’ after their name, that has been subsequently removed.

        Leave a Reply
        • derek murphy
          2 May 2018 at 10:58 am

          I didn’t publicize him because he still had a 4 hour time..no qualifier..but yes, he was pictured with his medal.

          Leave a Reply
          • Ravi
            3 May 2018 at 12:42 am

            Whether he ran a BQ time or not is irrelevant. Name him and publicly shame him as a cheater. Why haven’t you published the names of the runners pictured above???????

  • Mark
    1 May 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Disgusting
    I also ran Southampton as never get a chance at London
    Really Riles me to think that someone could cheat
    Hope They’re banned for life

    Leave a Reply
  • Ruth Holmes-Davitt
    2 May 2018 at 4:11 am

    Why? What a waste of effort! So proud of my 7hrs 49 mins. It was all me, plodding along, fighting my demons – genuinely not caring what anybody else thought of my finish time. This article has made me feel even prouder. Have made a small donation xx

    Leave a Reply
    • Ravi
      3 May 2018 at 12:44 am
    • Amanda
      7 May 2018 at 12:15 pm

      That is wonderful! I ran my first, and also only so far, Marathon a few years ago, and I’m quite proud of my 6:53 time as well. We did it and finished 🙂

      Leave a Reply
  • Wayne
    2 May 2018 at 4:30 am

    I looked at the results shortley after the race and without naming the person (Club Secretary of Liverpool Running club none the less!) she PB’ed her marathon time by over 1hr (Ref Power of 10 stats) and in the second half of the race she would have pb’ed her 5k, 10 & half Marathon time as well whilst missing timing Matts in the second half. Her result has since been removed but its disgusting that someone with the title of club secretary would cheat

    Leave a Reply
    • Peter Barlow
      3 May 2018 at 7:15 am

      WAYNE, may I ask have you took the time to ask Liverpool running club or the lady herself what the situation was, according to a lot of people on the running discussion board she had pulled out of the race and was spectating the rest until a friend from another running club was really struggling and was begged to help her finish the race, according to what people are saying the lady from the running club handed her running bib to the officials after she finished and informed the race orginisers the next day, the situation is sorted, but you would of knew this if you had asked Liverpool running club or the lady herself before posting it all over the internet, have a great day WAYNE.

      Leave a Reply
      • Max
        4 May 2018 at 7:17 am

        If that was true, why did she take a medal at the finish?

        Leave a Reply
      • Jason
        8 May 2018 at 7:41 am

        If she’s not claiming this as her time Why did she link to her time on Powerof10 and runbritain then?

        Leave a Reply
  • RunningBob
    2 May 2018 at 5:04 am

    1:03:28 2nd Half Split – slightly quicker than Kipchoge!

    Leave a Reply
    • Non cheater
      3 May 2018 at 11:28 am

      He was obviously saving himself for the 2nd half of the race 😉

      Leave a Reply
  • P K
    2 May 2018 at 5:12 am

    Looks like the results of the first runner you have been changed to 6:25:59
    Is that down to your good work I wonder?

    Leave a Reply
    • P K
      2 May 2018 at 5:00 pm
  • Jon Evans
    2 May 2018 at 8:31 am

    I posted your link on this guys page this was the response.

    Dear london Marathon I am disappointed for your investigation and further for blaming someone accusing of having done something disonourable, expecially after all training, diet and hard work done. I personally ran several marathons and with an average of 1500 km/ year. This is the first time I see something like your article.
    First the race is a personal challenge and apart for few there is no real credit for running, thus everyone does its best. As consenquence for those that were not fit or tired the easiast way to get back and collect their stuff was by their own (my case by tube) which stopped near the finish. It was much easier to get back in the race and do the last bit passing the line rather looking for an alternative route.
    Second, having paid I don t see any reason why not to collect the valuable t shirt (of +£30) plus other gadgets. Finally from the article there appears that the “fraudolent people” intentionally remained on the list whilst for example in my case I declared just after the race (by e mail so tracked) to the organization the reasons for passing the finish. If felt appropriate it s a duty of the marathon to delete those that did not finish.
    On the same point please remove my picture as my privacy is personal and don t want to share my things with others.
    Thanks for understanding
    Francesco Fraioli

    Leave a Reply
  • Matthew
    2 May 2018 at 9:20 am

    A runner with all missing timings in london marathon 2018 and have no finishing photos. Didn’t see any other photos of her along the routes at all. She wanted to peruse with the organizer of London marathon. If you need her race bib nunber,let me know.

    Leave a Reply
  • Karger
    2 May 2018 at 9:52 am

    So did any of these people qualify for Boston? Any of these people take a podium spot? If not, I don’t get the outrage. If so, then they should be flagged and their results stricken….

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      2 May 2018 at 10:39 am

      Yes, some of these times would qualify the runners for Boston. The purpose is to prevent them from getting into Boston, or any other race with a qualifying time. And, to deter others from attempting to do so.

      Leave a Reply
      • Karger
        2 May 2018 at 12:21 pm

        But you don’t say that in your article. You are looking more and more like a petty man that has nothing better than to shame people on the internet.

        Leave a Reply
        • derek murphy
          2 May 2018 at 12:28 pm

          Yes, I am the one with nothing better to do. Not sure why you are spending your time here if it doesn’t impact you. Good bye.

          Leave a Reply
          • John Airey
            2 May 2018 at 6:35 pm

            I think you’re doing great work here. I only hope you have permission of theLondon Marathon to extract their data.

            If you ever get time take a look at the people whose second half was ridiculously slower than the first last year. You’ll find me in that list! (I wasn’t that prepared last year)

          • derek murphy
            2 May 2018 at 7:56 pm

            I don’t need their permission to extract the data. It is publicly posted data of public results. It is no different than if I went page by page and grabbed the results manually. I am not selling or sharing the results with others (athlinks and marathonguide scrape data AND share it – typically without permission.

          • Raddison
            3 May 2018 at 7:01 am

            As I understand it facts cannot be considered copyright. Therefore results and statistics from sports events, whether it be running, soccer, golf or baseball, can be freely published by news organisations and the like.

      • Ravi
        3 May 2018 at 12:48 am

        Why should only runners with BQ times be flagged? And why don’t you ever name the cheaters in the photos or other cheaters that you have identified?

        Leave a Reply
        • derek murphy
          3 May 2018 at 7:50 am

          I flag everyone. My focus is mainly on those that directly affect others through qualification, award or some other benefit like promoting their running business. I simply cannot focusNd wrote on all those that cheat with the slower times. The majority of the runners I found at London were the slower times.

          And what’s to gain by naming the cheaters specifically? I only name runners that are serial cheaters or whose cheating is particarly egregious.

          Leave a Reply
    • Matthew
      2 May 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Y3s one of the runner who has no timing at all posted her timing of 3 hrs 33 mins in london marathon 2018. With this timing of her, she qualify for Boston 2019.

      Leave a Reply
  • Karger
    2 May 2018 at 9:59 am

    This site and your endevour overall is getting more and more ridiculous. Why are you publicly shaming people that simply did not cheat anyone else but themselves?( assuming no podium or BQ spot was taken). You better hope nobody calls you out when you cheat in your personal life (which you probably do because we all do to some degree. It’s human nature)

    This is becoming an absolute joke and laughing stock of the running community.

    I hope folks will just start cutting courses to laugh in the face of Derek Murphy.

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      2 May 2018 at 10:42 am

      To each their own. If you have an issue with this post, then you likely have had an issue with the site all along. I’ve done nothing in this post that I haven’t done in dozens of other articles.

      Leave a Reply
    • Dean
      2 May 2018 at 11:23 am

      Keep up the excellent work Derek Murphy. Thank you!

      Leave a Reply
    • Dean
      2 May 2018 at 11:25 am

      Karger you can’t be serious about your post. You think cutting the course is acceptable? Very sad if you do!!

      Leave a Reply
      • Karger
        2 May 2018 at 12:16 pm

        Can you read? I never said it was acceptable. I think it’s equally as sad to call out people for their shortcomings, especially if it doesn’t impact your life. Karma is a bitch. And it’s going to bite Derek Murphy in the ass.

        Leave a Reply
    • Big Wick
      2 May 2018 at 12:46 pm

      A “shortcoming” is something like my procrastination problem. Cheating / course-cutting at a race is character deficient and sociopathic. And this defect does prevent honest hard-working runners from legitimately getting into events requiring qualification. I honestly don’t see why you continue to come here. Why don’t you just go back to LetsRun MBs and your fellow adolescents? Or better yet, stat your own website? I LIKE having these people called out for DELIBERATE bad behavior.

      Leave a Reply
    • MDB
      2 May 2018 at 7:00 pm

      If I legitimately run a marathon in the hopes of qualifying for Boston or another race, but yet not make it because a course-cutter posted a faster, yet false time, do you truly not see the issue with that? Are you that obtuse, or are youjust here to stir the pot? Derek Murphy is one man trying to keep the sport honest. If we can’t have at least that, then what is the point?

      If I have a goal of qualifying for a race and I train and do everything honestly yet get denied by a cheat, then yes, my life IS impacted.

      Leave a Reply
    • Randy
      3 May 2018 at 9:25 am
  • WalkerWatcher
    2 May 2018 at 10:51 am
    • derek murphy
      2 May 2018 at 10:56 am

      I don’t think he was in the results when I pulled them.

      Leave a Reply
  • Sharon daw
    2 May 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Disgusting I’ve never cheated and I I did u would never run again .. what’s the point…????

    Leave a Reply
  • Steve
    2 May 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Cheating devalues the achievement of those that ran the full race. if there is proof that a runner has cheated they should be removed from the results and be stripped of their medal, shirt etc.

    Leave a Reply
  • Crystal Nipp
    2 May 2018 at 6:24 pm

    I guess if someone wants to enter a race and cut a course for a ridiculous and dishonest time it really isn’t that big of a deal with a couple of very important distinctions. It IS a big deal if someone does it and uses a dishonest time to enter a race that requires a qualifying time. It is also a big deal (in my opinion and others are certainly going to disagree) if they take the place in a sold out race of a runner that would have done the legit thing. Cheat all you want and make up all kinds of stories of glory and medals and such, but don’t take a spot you haven’t earned and don’t take a spot that belongs to someone who isn’t going to cheat. I’ve legitimately qualified for (and done) my Boston (don’t care to do it again) and I am in general not interested in crowded, sold-out races so none of this is any skin off my nose (so to speak) but this kind of cheating isn’t harmless. Earn it, don’t be a dick about it.

    Leave a Reply
    • Ravi
      3 May 2018 at 1:18 am
  • Julian
    3 May 2018 at 9:42 am

    This is brilliant work that you do!

    I do think it is important that all cheating is exposed and not just that which is likely to gain qualification for other races, particularly given how hard it is to get a place for London.

    However if I have understood you correctly you will be reporting all highly suspicious cases regardless of the finishing time. Just to take one example, will you be reporting the runner who did 2:32:xx for the first half and finished in 3:59:xx after missing the mats between 20 and 40k?

    Thanks very much.

    Leave a Reply
    • derek murphy
      3 May 2018 at 10:00 pm

      yes, if that runner is not disqualified, I would report them.

      Leave a Reply
  • Christopher Curtis
    3 May 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Whyyyyyyyyyyy. I can’t get a place and these alleged cheating scumbags spoil it for the genuine tryers. Shame on them

    Leave a Reply
  • Laura
    4 May 2018 at 2:29 am

    Thanks. I’m gutted with my London time. The whole race went down the toilet for me pretty early on but, I’m now feeling a bit better because at least I ran the whole course! I dont care if people BQ’d or not and anyway that’s a very US centric thing, even if I had I’d never run Boston because I couldn’t afford to.

    I saw two blatant course cutters who ducked off in the underpass at Canary Wharf and then I ran past them ambling along at the end of an alley at a quiet bit further along and rejoin the race.

    As I don’t know London that well and I’m honest I wouldn’t have the first idea where to cut the course (although there is an out and back section) so either they knew the area really well and/or it was pre-planned. I know it was the same people as one was in a lion suit which was pretty obvious and looked wiped out.

    Leave a Reply
  • Mark Henderson
    4 May 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Sometimes the mats don’t register. I ran a half marathon in Dec and it was 13 laps. For some reason one time I crossed the mat didn’t register giving me a lap that took twice as long in theory. I was initially shown as a dnf but was able to provide my Garmin data to prove I had ran 13 laps. I guess any of these runners could use their data to prove their positions

    Leave a Reply
  • Ben
    5 May 2018 at 8:24 am

    The times for runner 61840 (pictured above) are still on the London marathon website. As it stands, his (fraudulent) time means that he will qualify for next year under “good for age”.

    Leave a Reply
  • Dan Grahame
    17 May 2018 at 4:50 am

    It was a gruelling run and disappointing to read about the course cutters. Happy to say I was a legitimate negative split runner at London!

    Leave a Reply
  • Woody
    25 May 2018 at 10:32 am

    Do be aware that timing mats are actually removed towards the end for slower runners over 7 hours or so, so missing splits there are no fault of the runner and not an indication of cheating.
    If over eight hours you might have 3 splits missing. They start taking down the timing arches and mats up so no way can you get a time.
    The finish mat is there though, so you can see if the previous split times all fit in.
    I’ve seen people trolled and lied about due to missing splits when the mats simply were not there.

    Leave a Reply
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