Upon Further Review: Bib Muling at Surf City – Was it Really For The Shirt?


Last week I wrote about a Bib Mule at Surf City. I wrote that Jim was carrying his wife’s bib on the way to a 3:30:00 finish at The Surf City Marathon.


Jim admitted to carrying his wife’s bib for the full marathon. He said they did it for the shirt.

From The website: Once you achieve Legacy Club status, you must continue running Surf City to maintain legacy status. A minimum of 3 consecutive years is required to maintain membership.

Jim claimed that his wife was injured and that he ran with her bib in order to maintain The Legacy Club status. Otherwise, she would have to start over at year one the following year. One of the benefits of having Legacy Club status, is that you earn the longboard shirt.

Despite their admission, instead of removing the wife from the results, the race dropped her to the Half Marathon results, maintaining her legacy status. Now I know why.

The wife actually did run the half marathon. She had her bib on. It was pinned sideways on her leg. I also confirmed that she completed the Half Marathon through Strava.

If this was her original bib, that means that they pulled the chip off of her bib, and Jim muled the chip.

Was All About The Damn Shirt

Her half marathon finish would have allowed her to maintain her legacy status. There was seemingly no reason for her husband to carry the chip.

The Question of Motivation

I went back through my initial messages with Jim.

Hi , this is Derek of Marathon Investigation. Your result at Surf City has come to my attention. It appears that you carried your wife’s bib across the finish line, earning her first in her age group. There are no photos of her on course and she did not cross the finish line with you. Can you confirm what happened?

my wife pulled her hamstring and she wanted to get her legacy shirt next year, not place 4th.”

She doesn’t want acknowledgement or even BQ time. “

Two things that stick out to me with his initial explanation. I never mentioned anything about Boston. I think it is interesting that he mentioned Boston when I made no mention of a BQ time.

He also did not mention anything about her running the half. Why leave out this detail?

Once I found out that she ran the half, I messaged Jim again:

Remember, I told you that she had pulled her hamstring and didn’t think she was able to finish at all but she elected to go out with a couple of her slower friends to see if it would hold together and it did.

She did indeed run slower than in her past races. Regardless of the questionable explanation, they were cheating. The omission of key details adds to my skepticism.

We will never be able to fully prove the motivation since she does not have a time in which to submit to Boston.

She definitely should not be rewarded with a race result. They pulled the chip off of her bib, and the husband ran with the chip with the intent to give her an unearned marathon finish. It could be argued that Jim should be disqualified as well for his participation.

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  1. What webs these cheaters weave.

    Not meaning to “body-shame,” as I myself am a plus-size, but if that is a pic of her, I’m skeptical that she’s capable of a podium finish.

    So many of your subjects think themselves clever, but you deftly dissect their stories and their subsequent implausibility. Kind of like a high-profile case recently in the news.

  2. Perhaps he mentioned Boston because he looked your site up and picked up on the fact that you have a particular focus on people cheating to qualify for Boston and wanted to pre-empt the accusation?

  3. Very, very sketchy.

    For one, his wife ran the half marathon in 2018, so it doesn’t make sense to say that he carried her chip in order for her to maintain the legacy status as if that status was dependent on the distance. It isn’t.

    She ran the half marathon this year, so maintaining her legacy status had absolutely nothing do with carrying her chip in the marathon.

    She also ran Boston in 2017 (her 2016 Surf City Marathon time was a BQ time, although I’m not sure what race she used to apply for Boston).

    Her husband has run Boston every year since 2015. And he mentioned, unprompted, her BQ time in his initial email response.

    I’m not a trial lawyer, but this seems to be a pretty easy verdict that running Boston together in 2020 was the goal.

  4. First lines of emails you don’t want to receive:

    This is the IRS…
    You knew my mom about 18 years ago…
    Hi, this is Derek of Marathon Investigation…

  5. I don’t condone bib muling or cheating in any way. But it’s possible that the hubs knows about MI and how most of the articles focus on cheaters who are looking for a BQ (or at least they used to be the majority it seemed). It’s possible he brought up BQ b/c of that, no?

    • Eric: that’s definitely a possibility. But it’s odd for him to respond with a lie (carried her chip to continue her legacy status when she ran the half in ’18 and ’19, which maintains her legacy status) and then to throw in the BQ mention unprompted.

      Had the story checked out (i.e., the wife truly didn’t run the 26.2 or 13.1 and the husband’s actions truly did maintain her legacy status), then the BQ mention could easily be disregarded.

      But that fact that BQ-ing is mentioned, a lie is told, and the runners have a history of doing Boston…I don’t know. Just seems like there’s too much coincidence for this just to be a coincidence.

  6. Surf City should definitely DQ both of them. Nobody can prove their intent was to BQ her, but carrying a chip for someone else for any reason is inexcusable and should be an automatic DQ.

  7. I’m a Surf City legacy runner and I have to tell you: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SHIRT. The legacy shirts are cr@ppy gender-neutral (i.e. Men’s fit) long-sleeve Hanes-style crew neck tees. Very little thought goes into the screen-printing. They are definitely NOT an aspirational promo item. Every year in the post-race survey I BEG the race organizers to improve the legacy club shirt; so far they’ve ignored me. My shirts go straight into the charity donation pile or the only-worn-for-housework drawer.

    • Funny. Always wonder when a race gives away a crappy shirt. Customers are already paying for it anyway. My local (pricey) half marathon was giving truly junky cotton t-shirts a few years back. The outrage must have been heard because they are now decent tech shirts.

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