Fitness Pro Sets Dangerous Example While Claiming Questionable Finish at Honolulu Marathon

Runner Claims to Have set personal record despite throwing up multiple times beginning at mile 8 of The Honolulu Marathon

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Geri Berger was one of the over three hundred runners that I flagged for potential course cutting at the 2018 Honolulu Marathon.

She did not qualify for Boston. But I feel that her story is worth highlighting. She makes her living in the fitness industry as a coach. She claims to have set a P.R. at The Honolulu Marathon despite vomiting multiple times starting 8 miles into the race.

She has multiple sponsors, and has a large social media following. She is an IFBB (International Federation of  Body Building and Fitness) Pro.

 

2018 Honolulu Marathon

 

In the above video, she is shown with her medal, bragging of her PR. She is credited with an official finish time of 4:07:10.

Below are her splits:

km miles time overall pace split pace
5 3.11 0:29:00 0:09:20 0:09:20
10 6.21 1:05:58 0:10:37 0:11:54
15 9.32 missed missed missed
21 13.05 2:03:21 0:09:27 0:08:24
25 15.53 missed missed missed
30 18.64 2:39:17 0:08:33 0:06:26
35 21.75 3:11:50 0:08:49 0:10:29
40 24.85 missed missed missed
42.20 26.22 4:07:10 0:09:26 0:12:23

 

She missed 3 checkpoints: 15k, 25k and 40k. Those points are highlighted on the maps below.

Missed Checkpoints

15 Kilometer Mat

Geri first missed the 15k checkpoint. She was one of 228 runners to miss this timing point. I had flagged 156 of those runners as being suspicious.

From her Instagram post:

About 8 miles in, I started throwing up and I knew this was not good. I had to stay hydrated so I kept drinking to replace the water…each time I did, out it went again.

She had no 15k split (9.3 miles) but looking at her splits from 10k to 21k (6.2 miles to 13 miles), we see that she clocked the segment in an 8:24 minute per mile pace – during the time frame where she says she was throwing up. Her initial 5k was a 9:20 minute per mile pace, and her second 5k was run at 11:54 minutes per mile. Her increase in pace coincides with her missed 15k split (and her saying she was throwing up).

Geri finished the 10k in 4935th place. She finished the 20k in 2110th place. She passed 2825 runners over the stretch of the course where she claims to have been sick.

It would appear that instead of running along Diamond Head Road, that she took Monsarrat Avenue North of Diamond Head and rejoined the course north of the 15km point.

It also should be noted that this stretch of course (on both the out and back) represents the hilliest portions of the course.

25 Kilometer Mat

The live Honolulu results did not show the 30k split times. Fortunately the current results page did provide the information.  The out and back section of the course is the most obvious place to cut the course.

Geri missed the 25k mat. She covered the distance from 21k to 30k in approximately 36 minutes. Her pace for this stretch calculates to 6:26 minutes per mile. Apparently she recovered nicely from her stomach issues.

40 Kilometer Mat

Once again, it would appear that Geri took a route north of Diamond Head, avoiding the elevation changes that she would have to deal with by following the actual marathon route. Her pace was not particularly fast over this stretch (12:23 minutes per mile), but it is suspicious considering the previously missed mats and the fact that it appears clear that she took the route north of Diamond Head on the way out.

She has no race photos at Diamond Head.

Summary

Geri is using this result to her benefit. She claims that she fought through stomach issues and was throwing up beginning at mile 8 and pushed through to not only finish the marathon but to run a personal record. This is dangerous advise from a ‘Fitness Professional’.

I am not a fitness professional, but I know that if you are throwing up and can’t keep liquids down that you should not continue to run. By falsely propping herself up, she is setting a very dangerous example for her followers. Her fans deserve to know the truth.

Honolulu Results File

I am in the process of pulling the most up to date Marathon results. I will publish a link to the file by Tuesday December 18th. I feel that all runners should be able to have access to their competitor’s results.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article, Derek. I live in Honolulu and have run this marathon multiple times. I agree it seems likely she cut the course, especially skipping the loop around 25k, but the 40k missed timing mat seems weird. Following the course from 35k onwards would be the most direct route to the finish line instead of going the Monsarrat ave direction, but maybe that explains the 12 minute pace since she would of had to go so far out of the way?? The way the finish line is set up, she would have to go around the park and likely along Paki St towards Diamond Head, which in total would add on at least another 3/4 mile. From the map it appears simple, but it would involve more than just entering the finish area from near the zoo, unless she is suppppppeerrr sneaky. Maybe another local can correct me if I’m wrong, but it would be silly to try to deviate from the last section. Also, Monsarrat Ave is essentially steeper and longer hill than the Diamond Head Rd side, both coming from and going to Kapiolani Park, so it definitely doesn’t avoid the “elevation change” and she did herself a disservice if she went that way! In no way am I defending her, I don’t know this woman, think it’s crazy she cheated, but wanted to share my thoughts on the course. Thanks!

    • The missing split there was a bit of a head scratcher. As I said, wouldn’t have cut much distance. I’d be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt there, and it would not change my conclusion.

      • For the 40k missed split, she probably went behind (to the left) of the mat. There is a curb there that separates a sidewalk that the mat doesn’t cover. At that point on Diamond Head road the runners only have one lane to use and it gets quite crowded. It seems that quite a few people missed that mat and I would think that they just used the sidewalk.

    • Nevertheless, I think that Derek’s interpretation is correct. After hitting the 35 K mat, she ran back along Monsarrat Ave to the finish. It didn’t save her any distance, like she thought it would. I figure that she cut about 3.25 K off using the first detour and 4.15 K in the second detour. She didn’t save any distance in the third detour. Give her credit, she did run about 35 K of the course and would have finished in about 5 hours if she had not cut the course the first two times. Why do people do this? They only cheat themselves, and in this case, her posse of followers. She has also seriously damaged her reputation and credibility for very little to no gain.

    • The finish line is set up from Diamond Head to Kalakaua Ave along Kapiolani Park.
      The beginning of the race is from Ala Moana around Downtown back to where the starting line then to Waikiki, left turn to Monsarrat Ave. and right turn to Paki St then a left turn to Diamond head where chances are you could see Kenyans already passing and close to the finish line.

      I could think that instead of her going to the normal route at 15 km marked, she skipped that and cut through Kahala neighborhood and went all the way to Kalaniana’oele Highway (people wouldn’t notice as it still dark at that point). Perhaps she never went around Hawaii Kai Loop at 25 km marked instead she went porta potty and ran back to Kalaniana’ole highway.

      At 40 km marked is going up the hill of Diamond head where majority of people (including myself) walked the race up until the hill and ran down towards the finished line.

      …and yes i think she cheated!! I ran the race that day.

  2. Race ethics appears inversely proportional to number of instagram followers. I wish the “fitness pros” would find something else to do.

  3. The classic case. Makes money in the fitness arena. Has a huge following they need to impress. Overcomes insumountable odds and/or terrible luck to finish.

  4. If you’re throwing up early in a hot marathon, be like me and bang out a handful of 6:26 miles outta nowhere to make up enough time to still get a PR. Sounds like a fitness pro we all should emulate.

  5. Maybe she was running faster during the vomiting stretch to get from portapotty to portapotty. I read somewhere that that approach works and is a good way to earn a PR…

  6. Good work as usual. Your analysis is detailed and complete. All I needed to see is a stretch of the course where she supposedly recorded 6:26 splits. Not in this universe.

  7. Great work Derek. Nice comment anonymous. I’ve run Honolulu c. 20 times and know this course inside and out. I estimated that she did head up Monsarrat Ave to past the 15 km marker but didn’t run it…got a ride (motorbike) because that is a good run up that hill. She also did the old “tie the shoe” on the out and back, prob just before a water station where there is chaos, and then ran the 6:26 miles for awhile. Not. The 40 km mat is weird because we do take a direct way to the park, unless she got another lift, from near Kahala Ave, back around Diamond Head, and toward the DH Tennis courts on the mauka side, a mere .5 mile to the finish and not many spectators/watchers there ever. Her previous marathons were in the 5:45-6+ range. I’ve seen her when running around Ala Moana…no way she’s busting anything under 9 minutes per mile on a good day. Good work all, shame this fitness “pro” cheated. Funny enough, her FB posting yesterday said “this was her last marathon.” But, she’ll be running the Hapalua half in April, get ready hahaha

  8. “After all… a tiger can rest for awhile but can never change their stripes…” Ain’t that the truth, Geri! Same color as Alyx?

  9. I’m not surprised by her action & her social media is fake. Selfish people deserve to be expose. Good job Derek!

  10. Yes busted in the ACT lol thnx for the REAL DEAL on letting the World know Wassup with these fake scams.🤨lol..I ran the Marathon 2x’s and you need to train 2016, 2017. Last year I had a sore knee and foot injury but I still made it without faking it. Lol This year I didnt but next year I will be out there, due to lack of training.
    Aloha&Mahalo Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauoli Makahikihou 🙏🎄

  11. As a “Fitness Professional,” don’t you know your body is losing a massive amount of electrolytes from vomiting, so you attempt to replace them by… drinking more of a liquid you can’t keep down? Should I further note that you’re already losing electrolytes from sweating or is my point understood?

    I have my issues with Derek, but Geri trying to make herself a hero is laughable.

  12. I only checked the results in the Honolulu Marathon app. I ran with a group and we were all missing the 35k and 40K splits. The long stretch on Kalanianaole Hwy is easy to cheat since there are only orange cones dividing those coming and going. You can skip a few miles by avoiding the Hawaii Kai Drive/Keahole Street loop. I finished 2:45 (as in 2 hours+) slower than she did but at least I didn’t cheat. I had her 30K pace at 5:56…wow! Her splits were very erratic so something suspicious was going on. Also, body building and running don’t really mix. She would have lost a lot of muscle mass during the long training period for the marathon. I trained for 17 weeks with a 25K and 30K in between. To be fair, one of our group leaders ahead of us (at around 19 miles), vomited 3 times (one after the other) and felt much better afterwards. So…

  13. By the way, she claims to have finished the Honolulu marathon six times. Their website only records that Geri Berger has finished the race twice, in 2017 and 2018. The only other time she finished (2017) she ran it in 5:26:29. Geri Berger also ran the 8 mile (12K) race in 2012. So unless she was running under another name in other years, there is no record that she has finished it six times.

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