2018 San Francisco Marathon – Questionable Finishers Remain in Results

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco CA USA

On August 5th, I emailed the SF Marathon with a list of 29 suspicious results. Prior to that date, they did remove some runners that were initially flagged, but there are some obvious results that need correcting:


Runner ran the ‘1st Half’ and has a Full Marathon result


Timing error? Boston Qualifier – for now…


Above are just two examples. As it stands, these runners have qualified for entry into the 2019 Boston Marathon. I don’t believe these runners attempted to cheat. They likely ran the “1st half” marathon, but there is no reason why they should still appear in the Full Marathon results nearly a month after the race.

Most of the results are similar to the above. Course cutting does not seem to be a major problem in San Francisco. The runners that bailed halfway through need to have their results removed.

There is one apparent spot to cut the course – just past mile marker 14.There, apparently, was a timing mat at mile marker 16.4, but the results were not published. The next mat was after the loop – at mile 17.5.

There are runners in the results that have sub-4-minute-per-mile pace from 17.5-mile marker to the finish. Fortunately, most of the runners that seemed to have cut this section do not have times fast enough to qualify them for Boston.

This article is not meant to disparage The SF Marathon, but rather to nudge them to clean up the results to make sure the proper age group winners are recognized and to be certain that no one is tempted to submit an entry into Boston that did not earn the spot.

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  1. When I first came across MI, I was curious, and for the heck of it checked out results in a few smaller marathons. I specifically recall one in Michigan that had numerous instances like this SF issue, of obvious HM runners who were given marathon results despite not being capable of that reported time. I suspect that this sloppiness exists in many events offering both half and full distance; who knows whether any of these people take advantage of that anomaly.

  2. There is a lot of sloppiness by time keeping companies. The more professional ones will go through the results to look for obvious errors and correct them but the smaller companies do not. One local company is particularly bad, but fortunately it just does small charity runs. An event had both a 5K and a 10K race and for several days after the race the ‘winner’ of the 10K was listed as having a time of 24 minutes something, second place was 41 minutes something. Obviously the runner had signed up for the 10K but decided to run the 5K instead. This same company also lists age groups but for some strange reason if they don’t know the age they put them in the M70+ or F70+ category. It’s not unusual to see 3 or 4 M70+s in the top ten finishers. As these runs are usually just fun run type events nobody gets too upset about all the anomalies.

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