Honolulu Marathon – Over 300 Runners Flagged in Initial Review

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There is course cutting in every marathon. The problem of course cutting is not unique to Honolulu. If the course has sections that can be cut, some runners will do just that.

What is unique is that after I reported on the 2016 results and the course cutting, their solution for 2017 and 2018 was to try to bury the results.

On the official results page, in order to find a runner’s result, you need to enter their bib #, name, and city of residence. I’ve reported many instances where runners have been cheated out of age group awards because of bib swapping. By hiding the full results, and making it nearly impossible to look up another runner, The Honolulu Marathon is enabling cheating.

Fortunately, I was able to pull the complete results. I initially flagged 319 runners for likely course cutting. I was conservative in my approach. I did not flag the slowest of the runners that likely missed timing mats because they passed the checkpoints after they were pulled up.

I checked a couple obvious instances of cutting by runners finishing near the top of age group awards, and they were removed from the official results. Other questionable results remain.

https://www.honolulumarathon.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/96×48-honolulu-marathon-course-map.pdf

The most common place to cut the course is on the out and back stretch before the 21k checkpoint.

178 runners missed both the 21k and 25k timing mats.
Of those runners, 83 also missed the 35k timing mat.
74 of those runners also missed the 15k timing mat.
42 of those runners also missed the 10k timing mat.
33 of those runners also missed the 5k timing mat.

The most obvious of this group are still showing in the official results. Two runners covered the distance from 15k to 35k in just under 17 minutes. That is under 1-1/2 minutes per mile.

The 318 flagged runners is about 1-1/2 % of the total finishers. This percentage is in line with the number of course cutters that would be expected in any race of this size.

My issue with Honolulu is the apparent effort to protect those that do cut the course.

There is no way for the average person to look at their age group competitors. Most races welcome feedback from runners and want to do everything reasonable to make sure that race results are 100% accurate.

I will have more on specific results from Honolulu in the coming days.

Since Honolulu is not going to share the full results, I plan on posting a link to a full results file (including splits) later this week.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Most races welcome feedback from runners and want to do everything reasonable to make sure that race results are 100% accurate. Not Lehigh Valley Health Network VIA Marathon! Please shine the spotlight on them and how in the face of absolutely not one piece of evidence, they allowed one of the biggest frauds and cheaters to get away with cheating, and thus undermining the results and legitimate efforts of those who trained diligently and ran and competed with integrity and sportsmanship.

    • There are many runners that are not disqualified when they should be. While they should have disqualified Rossi, they didn’t. Doing so now really accomplishes nothing. I get that it’s personal to you. That whole situation had a negative impact on the race, and I am not putting any more pressure on them at this point. He was one of many that cheat every year. VIA added mats and did disqualify runners that I reported in ensuing years.

    • As many have noted, Rossi made things way worse for himself by fighting the DQ, if he had admitted it then the internet would not shame him in perpetuity. His subsequent behaviour is a testament to his lack of character. This is a constant theme with cheats who try to brazen it out.

  2. > This percentage is in line with the number of course cutters that would be expected in any race of this size.
    That’s depressing! I would have guessed closer to 0.1% I mean, I once cut a course accidentally but insisted on being disqualified the minute after I finished. The timing guy was nice about it, he said “think of it as a workout with a few hundred of you closest friends!”

    > My issue with Honolulu is the apparent effort to protect those that do cut the course.
    > I plan on posting a link to a full results file (including splits) later this week.
    Well done. Keep shining the light!

  3. Is there also a cultural aspect to this? Mexico City, China, etc? If you look at the cutters at the Disney World marathon (those that miss the mat in ESPN), there is a trend that emerges. I’d love to hear a sports psychologist talk about the whole cheating phenomenon on the podcast!

    • “Cultural” stereotyping of marathon cheaters is just as factually and reality-based as the “double-letter” cheater theory. The only difference is that it is offensive.

      • I don’t agree with Shtinkykat. When multiple thousands of people start the Mexico City Marathon near the end to collect the medal, it seems obvious that there is a different cultural understanding of athletic competitions and souvenir collection than what predominates in the US.

        • I think that there are circumstances surrounding the races that contribute to the more-than-usual cheating. For example, the Mexico City Marathon has a unique medal series where people will have to run 6 consecutive marathons to make out the full medal collection. In China, there are pressures to run on behalf of the employer regardless of the fitness level of the employee. If that is the “cultural” argument, I don’t disagree. However, if you are arguing that certain races are inherently prone to cheating because of their “culture,” that is offensive.

Comments are closed.