I have written about Maureen Spinler before. She first landed on the Marathon Investigation radar after her 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon result. Disney is notorious for course cutters. Typically the course cutting takes place on an out and back section of the course resulting in runners missing the 20-mile mat. Maureen had missed this mat in prior years while qualifying for Boston.
In 2017, she ran a stretch of the course much faster than her typical pace. She ran a sub 6 5k. Her explanation was that she was having stomach issues and ran faster as she was rushing from porta potty to porta potty.
After Disney, she also was disqualified from 13.Wine Half Marathon and the Chicago Marathon.
The full details of her past and her explanations are detailed in the article linked below.
Runner With 12 Consecutive Boston Starts Has Many Questionable Qualifiers
2019 Boston Marathon
Maureen was disqualified from the 2017 Chicago Marathon after I reported her result to race officials. Knowing that she was disqualified from Chicago, Maureen still submitted her Chicago time for entry into the 2019 Boston Marathon. She was on the initial entry list, but her entry was not confirmed due to the disqualification.
Where Disney failed, Chicago succeeded. Her 12-year Boston streak was filled with questionable qualifiers. Thankfully, and justly, her streak is now over.
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Thank you so much Derek. These cheaters need to be punished and I am thrilled Chicago finally took the right steps and DQ’d this horrible woman
Technically her streak of running Boston isn’t over as she can still go thru a charity and run Boston 😉
The streak of being able to run Boston via a qualifier is over….
@Jon, while she may try to run Boston via a charity, I believe the #BAA can still ban her entry application under the charity. So technically, we may not know if she will run. Hopefully they ban her as so many elite and charity runners train hard and ‘dont cut corners”.
… or use a fake bib, or just totally bandit
Nothing is impossible when you have double letters on your side
Good work Derek, and thanks for catching another one! This one has bugged me for a while.
And, any chance you can catch like 2000 more cheaters by Monday?
(I kid! Sort of…)
On that note, have you made a prediction on the BQ cutoff time this year? Other than the B.A.A., you seem like the person who could have a reasonable guess at this.
I’m guessing it’s 4:00 plus something, but the “something” very much matters to me, heh.
I’m less than 5 minutes faster this year, and anxiously awaiting notification…
Right there with you….4:48. Good luck!
Knock out those cheaters, Derrick!
Boston should just give up and open the registration to anyone. This is becoming ridicolous.
Boston is gonna be remarkable for the process in acceptance of the qualified runners, makes this journey a little more exciting… and yes we the people who ignite to make this marathon so famous… and under any circumstances they will change the process.. I believe. Enjoy your Journey wheter you think you are far or close to BQ, is only on your head.. we humans are capable to do anything… it just takes time
whats wrong with holding people to standards ?
Go to New York or Chicago or Marine Corp or ……..
Boston is special because you have to work at it to get in.
why was she on the “initial entry list” …why if u give a good time do they first accept u and then only after checking remove u..why don’t they just not add u until they have confirmed you…doesnt make sense to me and I believe ends up costing people on the cut line a spot
I recently ran a marathon (won’t name it) where literally there was only a finish line mat and no photographers on the course – anyone who really wanted to cheat, cd have mapped it out and probably done so. It was a small race, so maybe they wd have gotten caught, but Boston needs to not let EVERY marathon (it seems) be a BQ marathon and if you miss a mat, too bad, you’re out. I’ve run a ton of races, only once did a mat not pick me up, but the photographer had a photo of me going over it anyway.
I’ll never qual for Boston. No problem. But my last full I somehow missed a mat. But it was a straight course and there ain’t no getting off of it. (Big Sur) http://www.bigsurmarathon.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BSIM_Marathon_2018_W.pdf
My point is, I don’t know how I missed the mat (1 of 7 on the course not including start and finish) but I did. But I sure as hell ran the whole thing. So missing a mat probably shouldn’t be a disqualifier. Sometimes stuff happens.
NOTE: I’m betting I missed the 17 mile mat because part of the race I was on the yellow line. Big Sur is a two lane highway with lots of road camber and crown. Running on that line makes things much less painful.
Let me rephrase – if your running history is (say) 4 hr marathons, and you throw down a 3:25 which wd qualify you for Boston, missing mats, no photos, no gps….not good enough to qualify. it wd be hard if not impossible for Boston to have to research every questionable runner, but perhaps you have to BQ twice in the yearly time frame at two different races?
I’d say that the race directors in these cases should manage their own races better. If fast runners are missing mats, then list them with an unofficial finish, pending further review. If the runner cares, they can present evidence like their GPS or something. (Slower runners are there for their own reasons, and likely don’t care if a mat didn’t resister correctly.) If a large percentage of runners miss a particular mat, then assume it’s a timing issue and include them. If the runner misses out-and-back mats, there should be reasonable suspicion of course cutting. In other words, stand up for the integrity of your race. The BAA shouldn’t have to be concerned; they just need to simply validate an entry using solid data. That may impact Derrick’s fine work here, but he shouldn’t have to backfill their lack of quality results. For the record, I know a good handful of race directors and they all work hard to ensure a good race.
But Derek seems to be able to research – for free – every questionable runner days after each Boston race, you might suppose that the oldest marathon with the highest prestige (and likely best supported with $$$) could do it beforehand?
Yes, it’s harder without the results but my point is that tightening up the criteria for BQ marathons and their results might be helpful. I don’t believe in ‘daniele’s idea to open it to everyone. Some things just have to be earned. (And again, I know I’ll never earn it myself, oh well).
The BAA probably could do more, but it’s likely to hard to get it right. What I mean is the time between registration opening and closing is just several weeks. How can they efficiently police it all so quickly? Maybe Derrick has that answer! He’d certainly be the go-to guy to run the operation. What if qualification was only possible through BAA affiliate marathons? They could set timing standards, requiring all mats to be hit, no out and back courses, etc. Then it’d be on the races to determine if they want to be a BAA affiliate or not. Then when it comes time to register, you’re either in the eligible database or not. The flip side is that it would change the marathon landscape for sure. Some marathons would go out of business, others would fill to capacity. Cost increases would probably be felt by the runners to a large extent. Anyway, enough speculation. What do I know, other than missing 2019 by 4 seconds. 🙁 I’d better go run now!
I ran the Steamtown Marathon last fall. When I entered the woodsy part of the course, my GPS watch got really wonkey and started recording my pace is 10min/mi when I was running closer to 7:30. Steamtown is a point to point course so it would be more difficult to cheat, but I was worried and made sure to chat up some other runners and do my best to hit the middle of every timing mat. Each timing mat caught me except the finish line which they had photos/video of. My point, I was PARANOID that someone was going to see my GPS data and my 11 minute PR, which I trained my bum off for with more mileage and speed than ever before, and call BS.
I am always paranoid at these things as I’ve had bib issues before, though, weirdly, rarely in the middle of a course. Usually my bib issues occur at the finish line where luckily there are always photos.
Boston is gonna be remarkable for the process in acceptance of the qualified runners, it makes this journey a little more exciting… and yes we the people who ignite to make this marathon so famous… and under any circumstances they will not change the process.. I believe is a great process.. Enjoy your Journey wheter you think you are far or close to BQ, is only on your head.. we humans are capable to do anything… it just takes time
Thank you for posting names, this is important. This helps display to the community that they need to be held accountable. And the word of mouth gets out what these cheaters are doing to the running community. Soon to be you will be working for the BAA I bet!!! You have a thankless job but we all appreciate your hard work Derek including me.
Since she has been caught course cutting at Disney, us she banned from their races?
Here is a quick story of someone I saw cheating.
The race was two laps around a lake…simple..run twice! Hah. After the first lap I already had the lead. As I was starting the 2nd and final lap, I happened to glance up a slight hill where cars are parked. This guy jogs down the hill (10yds) to casually “join” me for 2nd lap. Well join is not the right word as he lasted maybe 10yards then I left him and won the race. Then they had the awards ceremony and you can guess who was standing in 2nd place….our parking lot jogger. When I pointed out he ran only one lap of the 2 lap course…you should have seen his face. He was incredulous that he was accused of cheating…right in front of the very guy who saw him jog down to “run” with me. See these people actually believe they are special..some actually become a real President living in their own mind.
@CB: It’s not missing a mat, it’s missing a mat AND running faster during that split then you’ve ever run before.
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