“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
On Saturday afternoon, I received a message:
I’m at Mo Bell marathon in TN where Larry Macon is so blatantly course-cutting that I got it on video. It’s a one mile loop….others running the full noticed Larry was cutting a 0.2 mile out-and-back.
Maybe Larry thought that he wasn’t being watched.
By all appearances, the Mo’ Bell Marathon is laid back. There are multiple options for runners this weekend. There are events all the way from a 1-mile fun run to 100 miles. There are two different courses, a 3-mile trail course and a 1-mile road course. All runners of the 1/2 marathon distance or longer receive pajama pants. Runners can mix and match their loops. There are no timing mats. Laps are counted using colored rubber bands or balls. But the race takes attempts at dishonesty seriously. From the race website:
Sounds like the honor system, doesn’t it? It is. However, we do have some video cameras out on both courses that will be recording you, so if there are any disputes, we’ll review tapes. Please don’t make us do that; it’s tedious for us. If you want to cheat a course to get a medal, and you choose our race because there aren’t a million timing mats to catch you doing it, it says more about you than it does about our race.
The first time, they called out to him and he just said, “Oh, I guess I missed a turn,” and kept going without making it up. Then he did it again the next lap. They told the race director so she sent an assistant out to put more flour down to mark the turn. He also stayed and videoed Larry skip the cul de sac.
At this point, my contact went to check things out himself:
Larry is in the red shirt and black shorts. He is shown walking past the point where all the other runners turn. This is the 0.2-mile out and back. If someone were to cut this every lap, they would shave over 5 miles off of the marathon. The person that shot this video informed me that Larry ran the first few laps with a friend and did not miss the turn.
On the next lap, a runner notices Larry doing the same thing. The witness reports she yelled after him, “Sir, Sir.”
This lap, he walked past the turn and another runner who was coming out of the loop said, “Sir? SIR!” and pointed back to the turn. He acted all surprised and said, ”Oh! I almost missed that one!” 5 hours into a one mile course and he doesn’t know there are turns?!
He was corrected before these videos. He was witnessed cutting that section on previous laps.
“But, He’s A Nice Guy”
Who is Larry Macon? Just last week I updated my original article on Larry. I shared it on The Marathon Maniacs Facebook page. Those that defended him offered the usual reasons.
Larry is the real deal. Ran next to him.
I have so many Larry stories… as do most of the crazier runners. Not a good idea trying to tarnish his name or legacy.
Larry is a pioneer. He has always followed the rules in his marathons. The rules have been evolving and they are different now, i.e. early starts, etc. Thanks to Larry and others like him, we get to run marathons all over the country almost every weekend!
Same guy always injecting the same negativity in to our sport!
He does significant exceptions made for starting times – but he does NOT cut races or cheat!
For every public comment supporting him, I have heard stories from the other side. It is well known that Larry has worked every angle to have races make exceptions. Even his defenders use that in his defense, seemingly every inconsistency in his schedule can be explained by early and late starts.
The many emails I have received are in stark contrast to those I hear from his supporters. There have been other first-hand accounts of course cutting (always at the smaller events), pressuring races to make exceptions, or adding events to preserve his records. Larry seems to have put enough fear into people that the emailers always ask to remain anonymous.
The runner who contacted me did not insist on anonymity but was concerned that other runners said that Larry could be ‘vengeful’, so I chose to protect the runner’s identity.
Larry’s record for Most Marathons in 365 days was broken by Nick Nicholson when, on August 19, 2017, Nick completed his 240th marathon in 365 days. On July 21st of this year, Nick extended his record to 270 in 365 days. He says he has the marathons on video, started them with the rest of the field, and has multiple pictures from each race. He only runs “official marathon (and further) timed events.”
Nick is also working on the record for most ultramarathons in a year.
Nick has yet to turn in the paperwork to Guinness. He is working on compiling the data. He says he will likely submit paperwork for both records at the same time. He expects to push the ultra record to 195 during the first week of January.
You can follow Nick at https://www.facebook.com/Nick.Nicholson.GWR
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