Irish Minister of Housing and Urban Development Vindicated by Race Photos

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Damien English is The Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal- Meath West Fine Gael T.D.

After completing The Dublin Marathon, English posted on twitter.

Followers quickly questioned English’s splits, noting his fast time from 30k to the finish.

 

English responded, blaming a timing malfunction after the 30k point. He says that his time according to his tracker is 3hr 48 mins.

The questions continued: I was sent this screenshot which was also posted on Damien’s twitter feed.

 

Despite his assertion of a timing malfunction, the evidence that would be irrefutable would be the finishing line photographs. If the photographs prove that he crossed the finish line at 12:21:55, then he cut the course.

Finisher Photos Provide The Final Evidence

Steve is seen above crossing with 4:02:54 on the clock.

Steve’s official finishing time shows that he crossed the finish line at 12:21:55. I compared his time of day with others visible at the same time. (Some were identified using additional photos).

The evidence is clear. Damien’s finishing time is incorrect. His actual finish time should have been 1:02:55 PM, which would give him a total race time of 03:47:30. This is consistent with Damien’s twitter assertion that he ran the Marathon in a time of 3:48:00.

Conclusion

It is important to look at all information prior to calling someone out as a cheat. Initially, the data looked very suspicious.

I had the first part of this article written before the photos were available. I knew the photos would provide the definitive evidence, one way or another.

The evidence showed was simply a timing glitch – one that appears to be isolated. Every runner I checked that finished near Damien received the correct finishing times.

Initially this result looked very suspicious. This is a prime example of why critical to look at all information prior to calling someone out as a cheat.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting. It is hard to come up with a plausible explanation for how the timing equipment could malfunction that way.

  2. Did you also check the finish line photos around 12:21:55? The photos you show might conceivably not be his first time across the line.

    The article switches from “Damien” to “Steve” at some point. Is there any significance to that?

  3. Did you also check the finish line photos around 12:21:55? The photos you show might conceivably not be his first time across the line.

    The article switches from “Damien” to “Steve” at some point. Is there any significance to that?

    The results indicate a Paul Walsh finished at 4:02:55, although there is not a third body nearby in the photo. Are you sure that is English and not Walsh you are seeing? I can’t make out the bib# at this resolution.

  4. So I had the same thing happen to me at a local half marathon a few years back – they showed me crossing the halfway mat at the right time, but then crossing the finish something like 20 minutes later. I was hoping to use my *actual* time to qualify for another race, so I contacted the timer. It turns out “my” chip registered at the finish line both at the bogus time and at the correct time, and both times were in the data set but the first one was used by default. They speculated that somebody may have had an old timing chip from another race, and that registered at the finish line, but we don’t really know. Anyway, they were able to remove the bogus chip record, and the system then automatically showed the correct time.

    In this case, it may be worth checking with the timing company to see if his actual crossing of the finish line was also recorded, and is just being superseded by the bogus record.

  5. This is very peculiar!
    The only runner who experienced a ‘glitch’ in timing?

    I agree with others who cannot make out the bib number.
    Let’s have a little look on t’internet for 12:22 ish….
    Steve….Damien.
    No double letters, that is something to remember.

  6. Looking at the official video – ON A LARGE SCREEN TV.
    Damien /Steve finishes at 4:02:54 as Derek suggests.
    Slightly blurred but definitely 88 and a 3 for first number and 1 for last number are definate possibilities! On a green shirt bar well.
    Good running!

    I looked at the earlier finish time – he is nowhere to be seen with my 61 year old eyes on the big screen TV.

  7. So, his bib crossed the finish line at the stated time, but who is to say that his timing chip was still on the back of the bib? Maybe someone in which he ran the first 30k of the race with had his chip on his bib and did take the shortcut shown.

  8. Why is everyone so hard set on proving this guy cheated? He isn’t trying to pretend that 3:06 is his real time, he was immediately open/honest about his 3:48. He isn’t trying to use the 3:06 to qualify for another race. Do we really believe that he cheated, crossed the finish line at 12:21, waited 40min, and then went and crossed the finish line again so that he would appear in photos at the “proper time” in case someone checked the photos?

    I think Derek did a great job proving someone didn’t cheat, why do we need to assume he did?

    • I don’t want to “prove” he cheated, I just want to see that all the ‘i’s are crossed and the ‘t’s dotted. I want to get as much as we can out of the available evidence. For example, I am still curious about how “Paul Walsh” might fit into the picture. Does that tell us anything about how the results might have been misreported by the chip-reading hardware?

      Besides, no double letters in Damien English.

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