A few weeks ago I received an email from Will Cockerell, author of 50 Greatest Marathons. Will spent sometime investigating the longstanding Jogle record, which is held by Andi Rivetts. ‘JOGLE’ is an acronym for John-O-Groats to Lands End. Andi’s record stands at 9 days, 2 hours and 26 minutes. To cover the 874 miles in that time, he would have needed to run 96 miles per day.
In addition to the information provided in the article on fastrunning, and on M.I., Cockerell sent a 37 page dossier to Guinness which was critical of the verification standards used by Guinness.
I have been long of the opinion, that the time has passed for Guinness to be recognized as the standard for record keeping for legitimate athletic events. Their unwillingness to re-visit records that have been shown to deserve closer scrutiny is troubling.
Cockerell’s investigation was recently highlighted on fastrunning.com
The below was authored, in it’s entirety by Will Cockerell
The Phantom Menace
A investigation into the Jogle World Record, by Will Cockerell, athletics writer and author of ‘The 50 Greatest marathon races of all time’
Between May 4-13, 2002 Andi Rivett ran seemingly one of the most outstanding World records in the history of running. He covered the iconic 874 miles, between John O’Groats to Lands End in 9 days and 2 hours, smashing the previous record by a day, and nestling alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, Paula Radcliffe and Roger Bannister on websites listing the great running feats of all time. But who was Rivett, how good a runner was he?
The answer is he is boat mender in Rye, 54 years old, and was a solid club runner, whose performances noticeably declined when the distance went above the half-marathon. One has to search far and wide on the internet for any race performances by him, and the ones that are found are anodyne at best. They suggest that maybe he could do the Jogle in around 11 and a half days.
One comparison of many, is that the world record for 1000 miles is 10 days and 10 hours by the legendary “Running god” Yiannis Kouros, at a rate of 95.7 miles a day. It triggered the book, The Six-Day Run of the Century. Rivett ran quicker than Kouros at 96.2 miles a day for only 126 miles less. There is simply no contest between the pedigree of the two men. For the 24 hour run for instance, Rivett’s best effort in four attempts was 135 miles. Kouros’s best was 189 miles. If he’s taking 54 miles out of Rivett per day, Rivett would still have 450 miles to travel by the time Kouros finished the Jogle distance. Rivett has just two athletic performances to his name on the internet, Kouros has 24 major Ultra WINS, including major races like the Sydney to Melbourne (544 miles, 5 days 2 hours) with a $60,000 prize to the winner, and the annual Spartathlon between Athens and Sparti which he won four times.
The evidence thus is overwhelming that the Jogle time is fraudulent, not helped by the appalling verification standards of the run itself, which involved taking photos of Rivett running, and getting cops to sign forms saying they’d seen him go by. The mark has stood for so long without a public challenge for a multidude of reasons: people haven’t forensically processed the stats like I have, and Ultra runners close to the case, will get charged with ‘sour grapes’ if they complain the record is too hard, as Dan Lawson showed in his failure in August, merely saying that the record is “too good for him” and that Rivett must have been an amazing runner.
If this is indeed a fraud it’s a major miscarriage of justice for many reasons, not least because the noble previous record holder, Richard Brown has had to stand by and watch for the last 16 years as a runner nobody had ever heard of in ultra running, took the record by exactly a day and was barely ever seen before or since. And it’s a miscarriage for all the people who have trained and raced the distance since, and failed.
What if someone really hurts themselves in the attempt of going for such a severe time, that isn’t actually real? Perhaps even dies late on with acute sodium or salt loss, dehydration, heart-attack or heatstroke, all the while, chasing a phantom. Or runs on a bad ankle, knee or achilles for days, in a futile chase, and wrecks their body forever?
The Real Driving Force
After meeting with Rivett, who confirmed my suspicions in all sorts of ways that the time is fake, I wondered: is Rivett smart enough to have carried out the ruse on his own, and was he hungry enough? He seemed like such a peaceful bloke without the fire in his belly for this sort of caper.
So my attention turned to someone who has made a great deal of noise about the Jogle WR, Rivett’s trainer, self-help guru, motivator and coach, Ivor Lloyd. Now Lloyd does have fire. He writes about that fire extensively in his book, which he sells on the back of taking an unknown runner and making him a world record holder. One sentence, about when coaches questioned whether Rivett was up to athletics at the sharp end, reads:
“Well, that was it for me! I was determined to prove the ‘college boys’ wrong. It isn’t academic qualifications that make you a winner; it is sheer guts, courage and the will to give 100% in your efforts to win that make you a champion. My blood was boiling and I was determined to prove them wrong.”
And, prove them wrong he did, with Rivett knocking such a vast swathe off the mark, that no-one can get close to. The following year, Rivett set another world record. In the very early days of attempts at 24 hours on a treadmill, Rivett sent his 135miles to Guinness who duly handed him another certificate, and then said, ‘here, have one more for 100 miles’. To illustrate how weak the mark is, the following year the women’s record went to Hungary’s Edit Berces for running 153 miles, a massive 18 miles up on Rivett. But it was all great propaganda for Lloyd who added the feat to his spiel. And the treadmill where the run took place? At the gym that Lloyd owned and ran.
Collusion search and a startling find
My problem though was working out how Lloyd got Rivett to agree to the false run. I suspected that the two may have known each other before Rivett first went to Lloyd for help with his flat-lined running in 1994. Maybe they had been school friends or neighbours, or had met at the pub? But I could find no link other than this professional one, between the two men at all.
I also tried to find Lloyd, but to no avail. He had a colourful adult life: success as a physical therapist with the elderly was interrupted in 1989 by incarceration at Durham prison for kidnap and blackmail. He was acquitted, but left the courtroom full of rage and did not return to his former career. Instead he bought and ran a gym which is where he started coaching Rivett. The self-help business failed, as seemingly did the gym, and after two divorces Lloyd was declared bankrupt in 2011. He then wrote his self-help book based on all his set-backs and reinvented himself as an escort (but withholding the sex). That failed too, and he now runs a small self-help bookshop in Wakefield, where he still advertises himself as the man whose athlete broke the world record.
But I couldn’t find where the bookshop was, or any contact details for Lloyd. He has a Twitter account, but only 3 followers. One though, was a name who popped up a lot on the comments sections in reports of the Jogle record, Lorraine Anderson. I recalled her as being Rivett’s sister, so I phoned her up to see if she knew how to find Lloyd.
“He’s my brother,” she said.
“Oh, I thought Andi was your brother,” I replied.
“He is too.”
So there it was. Rivett and Lloyd are brothers although nowhere in Lloyd’s biographical book does he mention this, although he does mention another brother, Phil Middlemiss, who starred on Coronation Street for nearly a decade. But that connection is negative as Middlemiss was given up for adoption at birth, and Lloyd was appalled when he learnt he had a brother as an adult and it sent him into a tailspin of depression and he stopped talking to his mother. Middlemiss was born in 1963, Rivett in ’64 and Lloyd in about ’65. It would appear he and Rivett are half-brothers too, but obviously extremely close to have concocted their deception, which at the very least is saying you have this amazing client you turned from an unknown to a world record breaker, but neglecting to mention anywhere he’s a sibling.
Hopefully, with the seams of this story now unraveling, the British Ultra running community can get a sensible time back for the Jogle that is based on fact, not fiction.
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