Grandma’s Marathon Issues Disqualification and Lifetime Bans For Bib Muling for Boston


Additional information surfaced after I wrote about Steve Jewell using a ‘bib mule’ in order to qualify for Boston. A young female runner ran 2018 Grandma’s Marathon using Jewell’s bib. Her time of 3:28:25 was fast enough to gain Jewell entry into The 2019 Boston Marathon.

Selling Bib Due to Injury?

While there was some interest on Facebook, he didn’t sell the bib to any of those that expressed interest there. He sold it to a runner that saw an ad that Steve placed on Craigslist. The runner that bought the bib reached out to me:

Hi. I ran as Steve Jewell’s race number in the Grandma’s marathon, but I was unaware he would use my time to gain entry into Boston. I’m sorry for all the confusion and trouble. But if there is anything I need to do to remedy this, please let me know.

I was working in Minnesota for the summer and realized that grandmas was only a few hours from where I would be. So I decided to spontaneously do the race, but I literally missed the registration by a few hours. I wouldn’t bandit the race, so I found Steve on Craigslist. He sold me his bib for $55, which is half of what he paid for the race. He knew that this was my first marathon and I hadn’t trained. We talked about goal times, but he never specifically said anything that I should run a certain time or not.
He knew it was my first race and since I hadn’t trained we had no indication of how it would go. After the race he told me good job and that was the end of it.


Indeed, Steve did seem to have a vested interest in her time:

In my opinion, Steve didn’t sell his bib to the highest bidder, he sold it to the runner he thought would qualify him for Boston. Surely he could have sold the bib for more than half the original cost.

Grandma’s Marathon – Zero Tolerance

I received an email from Grandma’s Marathon last evening informing me (and the BAA) of the following:

Just a quick note to let you all know that I finished tracking all the details in this manner and have verified cheating by both parties……Steve Jewell and ************ have been informed that they are banned from all future Grandma’s Marathon events.

This zero tolerance policy is what is needed to take a real bite out of cheating. When races ban runners caught cheating, they deter future cheating. Too many races come up with excuses (fear of lawsuits, etc) to avoid disqualifying or banning runners. I commend Grandma’s for acting swiftly and appropriately. If you are caught selling your bib at Grandma’s you will be banned.

There is no doubt that Steve’s entry to Boston will be revoked.

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  1. It’s an unfortunate but necessary lesson for the young lady to learn, who obviously wasn’t aware of the ramifications of bib buying on the secondary market. At least she has her medal, and can hopefully move on to other races. No such feelings for Steve: shame on you for blatantly and knowingly using a bogus time for Boston entry. How can you even look at yourself in the mirror?

    • Do we know that her story checks out? She claims it’s her first marathon and she has t not trained… and then runs a BQ time _for men_.

      It’s at least noteworthy.

    • An earlier comment alleged that she is or was a Div 1 college cross country runner, so no, that doesn’t seem odd.

      • I was just going to say, she was a cross country college runner so no, this wouldn’t be odd. From what I gather, she’s also done triathlons so pretty athletic. Marathon wouldn’t be a huge stretch.

  2. If you check Steve’s facebook posts, he blatantly states that the person will need to run as a bandit to avoid the $30.00 transfer fee. I’d be curious to see the craigslist ad since he mentioned it a couple times on facebook that the person taking the bib would need to be a bandit. His post that the bib was sold, was up well after the transfer deadline, so I have doubts that the gal had any idea what she was doing was wrong. Especially if you check her running history, she has competed in many racing events including half marathons. Stating that she “hadn’t trained” for it sound like she’s trying to cover her butt.

  3. I’m wondering at the decision to name and shame Steve but not the young woman. In the earlier post, a comment stated that she was a Division 1 cross country runner. If she had impersonated another runner at an NCAA competition for some reason, no doubt the consequences would have gone far beyond shaming. She certainly should have known better, even if she is being honest and did not collude for a BQ for Steve, which might be the truth of things. In any case, runners have to understand that participating in an athletic competition is not the same as buying a scalped ticket to an athletic competition. Kudos to Derek and Grandmas for saving a Boston spot for a deserving runner.

    • dox? No. the reason he is named, andshe is not is that his intent is clear HE is the one that submitted his name for Boston.

  4. I do believe that she didn’t know his motivation– but notice that doesn’t matter to the race director.
    Yet another example of why buying/selling bibs is wrong, and to the race directors, it’s the same, or worse, than banditting outright.
    I’m glad they both got banned.

  5. Looks like they both deserved to get banned, but maybe she doesn’t deserve a lifetime ban. His motivations were much more culpable than hers, and give her credit for coming forward with the truth. I’ll also give her a little bit of grace for youthful naivete.

    • I agree, her punishment should be less than Steve’s, say a two year ban. She has been open about what happened and hasn’t tried to shift the blame or come up with some dog ate my homework excuse. I would put it down to youthful naivete. Steve, on the other hand, deserves every punishment he gets.

      • Also, she appears significantly younger than Steve, so a lifetime ban would be a bigger penalty for her than for him.

  6. So what happens at the BAA now? Do they contact runners previously bumped and tell them they’re in now? Personally I could use about 4 seconds worth of bans if that’s the case.

    BTW, I put in 60 mile weeks and finished about several minutes ahead of the young lady at Grandma’s. She definitely had some training in prior to it for that time.

  7. Regardless of whether Steve intended to use her as a mule and/or BQ purposes, the fact that the race allowed transfers and he went around that process should get him banned. Races that allow transfers are not that common, and folks who still illegally transfer bibs outside of that process will only make it less likely for those races to continue to allow that and more likely for other races not to…

    I’ve been lucky to run MCM twice on (officially) transferred bibs, and think that’s a great perk. Particularly this year when I got to run it with a friend even though only one of us got into the lottery… so abusing that rubs me the wrong way for that reason as well.

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