Frank Meza has seemingly defied the clock. At age 70 he is running record marathon times.
His marathon results have been improving over the past 10 years. Frank recently has turned 70 years old and has run record times for his age group. The records have not been deemed official because they were run on non-record eligible courses. I have charted his fastest marathons over the past 10 years.
This improvement has not gone unnoticed. Frank was listed as a Runner’s World Masters Distance Runner of The Year in 2014 for his finish at The California International Marathon (CIM).
However, Frank was disqualified from the 2014 California International Marathon. Frank was flagged after his final 10k time was flagged as anomalous. He ran the final 10k in 36 minutes, nearly a minute per mile faster than he ran the previous 20 miles.
He also did not appear in any on course photos. He was disqualified by the USATF referee after he chose not to appeal the decision.
Frank was also disqualified from CIM 2016 and subsequently banned from participating in future events.
Frank completed 20 marathons from 2014 through 2016. 16 of these races resulted in sub 3 hour finishes.
2015 Los Angeles Marathon
The 2015 LA Marathon was run in record breaking heat. The temperature hit 88 degrees. Disregarding The 2014 CIM result, this is Frank’s fastest marathon. Frank ran the race in a time of 2:52:47.
The uneven splits and the sub 6 minute miles in record heat did nothing to ease the skepticism regarding Frank’s races.
There were other races with uneven pacing, and limited photos, but not enough direct evidence was found, in my opinion, to write about Frank until now.
2019 Los Angeles Marathon
Frank turned 70 this year and his times are now setting age group records. With the record setting performances, Frank is facing even more scrutiny.
A user posted about Frank’s LA Marathon result on letsrun.com. The initial post was congratulatory, but the letsrun readers were skeptical.
Someone uncovered a photo that appeared to show Frank jumping onto the course on Hollywood Boulevard across from Graumann’s Chinese Theatre.
I have posted the hi-resolution photo above, which confirms that the person in the photograph is Frank Meza. In the last photo, Frank is shown running just after the point where he jumped on the course.
There is evidence of Frank coming in from the sidewalk. But what does this prove? It looked suspicious, so I reached out to Frank. At the point that I reached out to Frank I only had the low resolution photos. I shared the photo to Frank to ask him if he’d confirm that it was him, and if he could explain the photo.
“I looked at the photos and I can assure you I did not cut. I cannot recall exactly where on the course but I did pull off to pee one time I was not able to find a portapotty so I found a building wall maybe 20 yds from street. In 2018 I had a similar problem so I waited and ran into a hotel I lost 2 min this time I was hell bent on not losing 2-3 min.“
I asked him to confirm how long he was off course.
“No the hotel was 2018. This year a wall a few secs”
After contacting Frank, I was able to obtain some additional information. The camera that captured Frank re-entering the course was set to automatically take pictures every second.
I combined over 3 minutes worth of the photographs into a video. If Frank only left the course for a few seconds, we would expect to see him on this video exiting the course before relieving himself and reentering the race. I looked at every individual photo contained in this video and I do not see Frank running on the course prior to running in from the sidewalk. The video below was sped up to 3 frames per second. Frank appears at the end of the video.
Also note that where Frank appears from is not a cross street. There is a change in the pavement, but he enters from the sidewalk. Below is an image from Google Street View showing the location where Frank entered the course from.
I contacted Frank again to let him know that I found no evidence that he ran the course approaching the spot that he re-entered. I asked him to reply if he had any additional information that may lead me to change my conclusion.
He denied cutting the course and closed the lines of communication after stating that I was clearly out to harm and discredit him. He informed me that he would be obtaining counsel.
I am not out to harm or discredit Dr. Meza. I would have preferred to be able to vindicate Frank. I have no agenda, I could have written about his results and the questions surrounding them two years ago. But I waited until there was more than odd splits and times that most believed unlikely.
In addition to not seeing him in the photo sequence above, it should be noted that there was a photographer taking photos near The El Capitan Theatre, less than half a block before the point that Frank jumped on the course. I went back through over a hundred photos taken at that point on the course, and Frank was not photographed. Remember he said that he stopped “to pee” for a few seconds. The photographs I reviewed went back over a minute. I also looked at a total of 6 minutes of photos from the automatic camera. Frank was not spotted on the course before he entered from the sidewalk.
The runner that Frank jumped behind put his run on Strava. Using that data, I was able to determine exactly what time Frank entered the course. I estimate that Frank entered the course at mile 11.62. I accounted for variance in GPS and consulted the course map. I am confident that this estimate is accurate.
Frank entered at this point at 8:11:29 AM. I was able to calculate the pace to the next timing mat which was .78 miles down the course.
|FRANK||net time||pace||split pace||time of day|
On the section of the course that we can prove Frank ran, his pace was much slower than any of his other recorded splits. His verified pace of 8:23 minutes per mile is nearly two minutes per mile slower than his overall pace.
There have been additional theories relating to Frank and The 2019 LA Marathon. One letsrun poster uncovered additional photos regarding “a shadowy figure” showing on a corner before Frank emerged just prior to the 25k point in the Marathon.
I want to present this information while making it clear that I do not find the photos 100% conclusive. I am putting it out there to acknowledge this information and to allow readers to make their own determinations.
The individual that was by the pole in a number of frames is no longer there when Frank appears on the course.
I felt that this article was already a bit too long, but I wanted to present everything as reasonably in depth as I could relating to The 2019 LA Marathon. I have additional information which I will present later this week regarding Frank’s performances at The 2019 Pasadena Half Marathon and The 2018 Long Beach Marathon.
He also has what would be a record breaking time at this year’s Phoenix Marathon. He does not have many photos in Phoenix and there are no gun times, chip time differential provided for the race, so detailed analysis is proving difficult.
Support Marathon Investigation
Thank you to all that have contributed to Marathon Investigation. Your contributions are what enables me to continue the work of Marathon Investigation. To support the site, please consider making a small contribution.
Don’t want to use PayPal? Click below to contribute without going through PayPal.
Good work, of course Frank could clear this up by sharing his GPS data, he could also clear up why he is not running with a visible running number, in all races I take part in where running numbers are issued, it is made clear than not displaying it clearly at all times results in an instant disqualification. I understand that he has it on a bib belt low to the right but from many angles this is not apparent. Now this may not be the case but if I wanted to avoid detection in races and pass myself off as a casual jogger veering off and on to a course this would be something I would do.
To demonstrate that I am even-handed, a photo above with a caption “Legitimate runner passing The El Capitan Theatre” has a runner in a red and black vest who also is not displaying a number in a very visible fashion, it may be that he is holding it in his left hand, but honestly it is not at all hard to position a number squarely on a vest.
Legit runner isn’t holding it from what I could tell. It looks like it’s pinned off to the side a bit but it’s still clearly visible
Well spoken !
Does he have GPS data? With the long sleeves I can’t tell if he is wearing a watch.
Fantastic work, Derek. Very even handed, as usual for your articles.
Just curious as to what the stats would be for the amount of innocent people who use the “obtaining counsel” threat. It seems to almost be an admission of guilt as an innocent person would clearly a) not have anything to hide and b) be able to vindicate themselves without consulting an attorney…especially when the issue is an article on a website and not a legal issue.
And I know you were hesitant to say anything conclusive about the final photos, but they look pretty damning. Put that together with someone who doesn’t necessarily look like he’s in sub-3 shape (check out the body composition of every other runner in those photos) and it’s as close to a smoking gun as you can probably get.
Agree 100%. The threat to obtain counsel alleviates any ambiguity in my mind. These articles are no where near actionable defamation even if Derek’s opinions and conclusions are not correct.
Not only “someone who doesn’t necessarily look like he’s in sub-3 shape”, but 70 YEARS OF AGE!!!
Brilliant work Derek, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he’s been course cutting shamelessly for years.
Surely with the time lapse info of over six minutes that you have when he jumped on the course, that would be enough for the L.A marathon to disqualify him with. If it somehow isn’t, couldn’t you put, say, a half hours worth together to make it impossible for them not to act.
He really does need to be disqualified as soon as possible, so the genuinely deserving runners he’s bumped off the podium etc can get their results correctly adjusted.
Again, brilliant work.
There’s no need to go back that far, when you start to approach a couple minutes, the pace becomes impossibly fast. The earlier he would appear, the more impossible the split to that point from the 10k May becomes.
I see. Do you think that’s enough evidence for his disqualification then? You would know the threshold for that better than most I would think.
A few fair points and good to investigate. However, the “shadowy figure” is most likely not him, as he is wearing mid-thigh shorts whereas the ‘shadow’ looks to have on mid-calf leggings
Those “mid calf leggings” is a shadow. If you look at the far away picture, they are cleary shorts.
agree. theyr’e clearly shorts.
I ran the 2015 L.A. Marathon. It was way hotter than 88. It might have been 88 at the start that day but it was well over 90 in Santa Monica at the finish before noon. Santa Monica is at least 10 degrees cooler than inland so L.A. was almost 100 degrees that day running through the city. It was oppresive with the sun beating down and the heat coming off the blacktop and buildings. It was miserable and no one, save for the elites vying for the Olympic tryouts the following year, were running fast times. Even then, the elites started an hour before the top corrals and starting times were moved up an hour earlier that year because of the heat and projected temps that day. The women’s elite runner carried her last water stop bottle the last 2 miles it was so bad. No way he ran that fast. I also believe 3 other elites dropped out at the halfway point due to the heat/temps that year.
Also, while there are places on the course that he could have pulled off to pee “on a wall”, that area, as you stated, is not one of them. Early on at the start there would have been been (near Dodger Stadium) but for the most part, L.A. is as it seems…all buildings and not many empty areas with walls along the course. There were other areas near a park like section that would have been more believable.
Another point, who is peeing during exercise in that kind of heat? unless they are drinking non-stop.
Well if he was hydrating often (as you should during that kind of heat) you’d probably need to pee often. I ran LA that year and it was brutal. I was taking water at every table and either drinking it or dumping it on my head. I took more bathroom breaks than ever that year too.
Good job. He clearly jumped into the marathon at mile 11. People should know by now that you can’t beat technology. Cameras are rolling at all times, anywhere and everywhere
Derek – I don’t see a smoking gun here. His improvements are within the realm of reason over the time span listed. I myself improved from a 4:30 in November to a 3:36 in January, but on the other hand, my records are supported by matching GPS data, no missed mats, and course photos. I very much appreciate what you do and enjoy reading your posts, and this is the first time I’ve been troubled by one of your exposes. My opinion is that I think you need more than this to discredit someone as you’ve done here.
If this runner had never been DQd previously, I would still be very suspicious simply on the grounds of appearance, attire on such a hot day and number out of sight. However his GPS data from the race in question would settle things with no need for threats wouldn’t it?
You improved from 4:30 in November to a 3:36 in January? Was there a surgery immediately prior to your November race?
No – just much improved training and in-race hydration fueling strategy. After all these years I figured out how not to tank in the last six miles. Feel free to look me up on Athlinks and Strava, everything I have done is documented and public.
I hear you, but a person generally does not run a 2:53 record marathon at age 70 if they were running 3:19 marathons at age 60. Hydration and fueling is one thing, Father Time from 60-70 is something else entirely.
I’m running much faster at age 60 than I did when I first began running at age 51.
I’m also finding this accusation hard to square. If he’s cheating, he sure has been successful over a long period of time on lots of courses, most of which seem to be point to point. He hits all the timing mats. What’s his method? Has anyone seen him leave a course and get in a car or on a bike? If he has a bib mule, is there one, or more than one, who is he or they? What’s Dr. Meza’s motivation? He doesn’t seem to have anything to promote except his practice, and how much more money is going to make, he’s 70! Maybe he’s so old school he doesn’t wear GPS. Maybe he also doesn’t know what LetsRun and MI are – I didn’t until about 3 years ago. That might explain why he’s not eager to discuss his race history with strangers. His 2015 LA results have one slow split, the rest are pretty even. One bathroom stop would explain it. The 2014 CIM disqualification is certainly suspicious, I doubt if he could sustain 10K at sub-6 pace, but there it is. The 2016 CIM DQ is unexplained here. The rest of the evidence is lack of photos (since he wears his # on the side or back) and a photo of him allegedly entering the course from a sidewalk. For all we know, he peed at the corner, ran a half block up the side of the street, and re-entered the street.
Hasn’t anyone run with him? Doesn’t he run with a club who could vouch or sink him? It just seems impossible that he could hop on and off a bike multiple times at multiple races unnoticed, or swap bibs unnoticed in the middle of a race.
One other thing – MI went the extra mile to prove a BQ time for a guy who wore his bib on his back. The point of wearing bibs is to identify the runner – to sell pictures, to prevent bandits, and to prove or disprove cheating. I wonder if any RD would have the courage to DQ people, including age group competitors, for failing to wear a bib visibly on the front.
“Maybe he’s so old school he doesn’t wear GPS”
So old school he wears two watches, one he keeps ticking over from start to finish, the other for his splits, start, stop, reset, rinse and repeat. In the 2015 LAM he only wore one watch and stuffed up his splits, ended up with a couple of 18 minute plus 5k splits lol. There’s some evidence he also carries a phone.
A lot of people seem to be ignoring that this fella is 70 years old and overweight and wearing heavy clothing on a scorching day and show no signs of fatigue and heat stress.
And then there’s all the other anomalies in other events going back years.
As to those 18 minute + 5k splits during a marathon, perhaps people don’t realize just how implausibly fast that is for a man his age. The world record for M70 at 5000 meters is 18:15 by Ron Robertson. So the doctor is apparently not that far off from breaking the world record DURING a marathon.
According to posts on another website, he has in fact regularly missed mats — with such frequency that the phenomena led to previous DQs, as I recall.
Also, again per another site, there seem to be photos of him in some races where he has taken off his number, then put it back on. Even the fact that he doesn’t pit it squarely to his shirt is a red-flag, no? Why put it on a belt, unless you’re expecting to take it off? I’m not a runner, so please correct me if I’m off base here, you real runners.
Just for the record, I always wear my bib on a belt. It’s a habit I picked up from doing triathlons. Plus I hate putting unnecessary pin holes in my running gear! But to echo your point, a belt does make it very easy to hide your bib.
No offense. But going from a 4:30 to a 3:36 in 90 days isn’t all that tough. A couple months of increased mileage & you can easily go from a 4:30 down to around 3:40.
This dude is 70. It’s A LOT harder to improve roughly 8-10 minutes every year when you are below 3:10 & especially when you are in your 60’s. I would have a hard time believing his times just by looking at the huge improvements every year, but the fact that you refuse to produce GPS data & you have very limited photographs during all these races? GUILTY!!
Just think how much effort must go into getting from place to place and jumping on and off the course at the right times to hit all the gates and make the split paces look sort of reasonable.
Eric, you obviously didn’t see the pic of him jumping onto the course and the video proving he did not leave the course prior.
Frank’s defense is baseless. A doctor familiar with the course ignored the port-a-potties just a few blocks before his Hollywood gotcha and chose to urinate on a wall with many spectators and photographers around! Those building are all connected on the front along that section. He brought up a hotel bathroom and LAM 2018 as to not wanting to lose time. There’s video evidence of Frank running to the side of the finishing straight to hand off items to a person, thus losing valuable time in LAM 2018.
There is a mountain of evidence that shows Frank Meza has not run or completed the full course for many competitions. There’s a huge difference between 3:36 and 2:53. A 2:53 for his age is a world record. Just google Frank Meza 2:53 and you will find countless photographic and data evidence regarding many races.
Just cue the video to 43:20 and watch the top left hand of the screen. Frank appears in a white winglet, runs off to the side, and loses valuable time.
My suspicion is he had just re-entered the race moments before the video captured him as it appears that he is taking off a black shirt and tucked it into the back of his shorts.
He even tossed the shirt into the crowd around the 43:42 mark
I’d be interested in to what his running history is going way back. I know of a guy who has run sub 3 as a 60 year old but could run 2hr 30 as a 30 year old. To run that quick at that age you need pedigree and a background in running.
Aside from that, those splits from the LA marathon look dodgy as hell. I’ve run a dozen plus marathons in the 2:50-3:00 area and any major pace variation occured in the final five or six miles and it was a decreasing trend, infinitely worse in hot conditions, where it becomes a struggle to keep it together.
Based on the evidence I can’t believe his times are legit, it doesn’t stack up at all.
If he keeps this up, he’s going to run the world’s first sub 2 hour marathon when he’s 85 !
I know that the focus of this article is on Los Angeles, but going back to previous history and the California International Marathon: how many of us have been disqualified from a race TWICE and then banned from it? Me neither.
his choice of running attire is odd – all the other runners have shorts and singlet or at most shorts and a T-shirt; he’s wearing 2 layers on top??
Yeah, having run LA this year-while it wasn’t nearly as warm as 2015, it was definitely too warm for 1)long sleeves at all but definitely 2)too warm for long sleeves AND a shirt on top.
You wouldn’t want to catch a chill waiting for your time to return to the course, would you?
in regard to motivation, I would think the recognition alone, and keeping that up, would be motivation to cheat. The attention, the glory, the awards, all of that. Being able to brag about it at cocktail parties. Just because you are 70, and a doctor, doesn’t absolve you from cheating at all. It looks like the evidence that Derek has presented is pretty clear. It’s strange (to non-cheaters) that people cheat for reasons other than money. But it happens.
LA 2019: How did he register time on all 5K increments if he jumped into the race at mile 11.6 as Derek suggests?
“pace between” wasn’t filled for 2019, here it is and it doesn’t show any anomalies for ANY 5K interval. If he’s cheating he must have an accomplice driver or something.
Time of day Time between Pace between (/km) Pace between (/miles)
5K 7:15:50 20:02 4:00 6:26
10K 7:36:07 20:17 4:03 6:31
15K 7:56:40 20:33 4:06 6:36
20K 8:18:01 21:21 4:16 6:52
25K 8:38:03 20:02 4:00 6:26
30K 8:59:26 21:23 4:16 6:52
35K 9:20:10 20:44 4:08 6:40
40K 9:39:57 19:47 3:57 6:21
F 9:48:58 9:01 4:06 6:36
Also, CIM 2016: Why was he DQd?
I suggest you read the Kip Litton thread on Letsrun and the New Yorker article.
I’m well aware of the Litton story. Some of his cheating is easy to understand due to missing splits, photos, etc. His sub-3 boston is still unexplained. How does this help with the Meza case?
NF, this article highlights one discrete segment of the course that cannot be reasonably explained. Meza crossed the 15K mat at 1:01:40 clock time. When he re-entered the course at mile 11.62, he re-entered right behind runner 22397, who crossed the 15K mat at 1:01:23, 17 seconds before Meza. From the 15K mat, Meza would have had to accelerate past Runner 22397, stop to urinate on some storefront on the south side of Hollywood Blvd between Highland and Orange, then re-enter the course at a 90 degree angle right behind Runner 22397. About .8 of a mile from the point where Meza re-entered the Course, Runner 22397 crossed the 20K mat at 1:21:21, Meza at 1:23:01…1:40 minutes behind, and for Meza a split pace of 8:23 from mile 11.62 to 20K according to Derek’s calculation.
Nothing makes sense: the accelerated pace from the 15K mat to mile 11.62, running past porta-potties and then peeing on a wall a half a block later, re-entering the course behind runner 22397 which Meza passed somewhere between 15K and mile 11.62 then promptly losing 1:40 minutes to that same runner by the 20K mat. The explanation is belied in any event by the absence of any photos of Meza less a half block east of mile 11.62…when reviewed sequentially, Meza does not appear in any photos taken in front of the El Capitan theater, but other runners whose bibs are not visible do.
In my view it is not in any way necessary to account for exactly how Meza may have arrived at mile 11.62 (or at each 5K timing mat for that matter). The evidence is sufficient in my view to establish that he did not arrive there via uninterrupted running on the authorized course.
Because in the races where he did hit all the mats in plausible times people acted like it was quantum mechanics when it is just planning and timing.
“Planning and timing” – this is still not explained for Boston. Was there a driver, a second co-conspirator?
And not explained for Meza (yet) either.
His Boston is easily explained. He most likely road a bike and waited till the correct time to cross the mat all the while looking like a spectator with sweat pants, a hat and sunglasses. He then went into the crowd and hopped on a bike to the next mat, easily beating the runners there and waiting again for right time to cross the mat. There is no other way as a car wouldn’t work with the traffic and logistics of Marathon Monday. Have you seen the picture of him walking during the race??? It’s almost certain that he used a bike as vehicle traffic is Hell that day. Hope that clears things up and I live in Michigan by the way;)
With the crowds at Boston and people watching the runners go by he EASILY went from mat to mat with an old bike that he could discard before or after the last mat and actual run, I mean jog, to the finish line. How anyone can’t figure that out is beyond me. I live within an hour of the guy and I wouldn’t waste my time asking him if I had the chance. More than one spectator had to have seen him, but…they’d have no reason to remember him…yet the picture found by LR posters says all that needs to be said. Cross the mat with your head down, hat on and walk back into the crowd. Anyone who even saw him would think he was a spectator going from point to point on a bike as he’s not the only person doing that. Please, don’t give the cheater too much credit as it wasn’t that hard to do.
So if you were offered a million dollars to cheat in a race by driving (or cycling) unaided to the approx position of each mat, trigger it with your chip and get over the finish line at an approx 3 hours you wouldn’t have the slightest inkling of how to do it? (even though I have basically outlined it). Once again this is not quantum mechanics.
Frank jumped in before each timing mat. To those of you who are honest runners it’s bewildering to understand how can someone cheat in a marathon. In LA it’s easy. Get a bike, scooter, or accomplice. Cross the timing mat at a certain point. Go back to your transportation and do it again. I’ve cheered friends on by bike and would leapfrog to the next timing mat. It’s not hard. He also obscured his bib at times to not draw suspicion. With a marathon of 30,000 people there are always bandits, walkers, quitters, and just random people on the course. If you want to scour his athlinks profile you will see very questionable triathlon results. 3/104 on the swim. Missing running photos on the course of Surf City Escape Triathlon when all the finishers around him did.
To the nonbelievers, just go to Letsrun and read the wealth of evidence on Frank.
Regarding the picture captioned, “Frank in the background on the left, the individual on the corner is gone.” … isn’t the guy now across the street in the background against the building?
Different person. There are pictures where you see both of those figures.
Got it. Tx. Just figured the guy in the lime green shirt is pretty far back in the pic of the white shirt runner so time for the “man on the corner” to move, but on closer inspection I see the background guy across in the street even in pics w/ Dr Frank.
“However, Frank was disqualified from the 2014 California International Marathon. Frank was flagged after his final 10k time was flagged as anomalous. He ran the final 10k in 36 minutes, nearly a minute per mile faster than he ran the previous 20 miles.
He also did not appear in any on course photos. He was disqualified by the USATF referee after he chose not to appeal the decision.
Frank was also disqualified from CIM 2016 and subsequently banned from participating in future events.”
I am nearly 58 years old and I’m not an age group runner looking for a podium spot. In fact I’m what you call a back of the pack runner. I started running marathons at 41 years old 2003 LA Marathon although I’ve been a runner my entire life. I’ve now completed 88 marathons including all the marathons on Mezas list. I’ve never been a talented runner and in fact it took me 41 marathons to just barely break 4 hours at 49 years old and I’ve only done it the one time. Since then I’ve gone through cancer and my times are much slower than I used to run (about an hour slower or more) The evidence appears overwhelming to me but I agree it would be difficult to hit all the mats at LA and still cheat. As far as the other marathons, many if not all the others have a half marathon and sections that are out and back. At Surf City you leave the road at about mile 18 and enter the bike path and turn around about 21 miles and run to the finish line. It would be simple to discredit these marathons if he does not have a mat time at that mile marker or simply entered the crowd or porta potty along the out and back portion on PCH. There is also a mat on PCH at the turn around. If these mat times are accurate then his Surf City times are fast but legit. I think there is enough evidence to suggest all his marathons be investigated to see if he is hitting the timing mats. Certainly good work by Derek. I can only think of a handful of my 88 marathons where I’ve run faster in the second half than the first half. It’s extremely difficult to do and it takes perfect conditions (weather for one) to be able to do it. You can cheat on any course, it’s just impossible to get away with doing it. I for one have never cheated on any course even though I’m so much slower now then I used to be. It just degrades the sport, and ultimately yourself. Someday they will have everyone wear an assigned gps instead of a bib to verify all marathon times and make it fair for the true hard working runners that legitimately run their races. I think this Meza guy is a complete fraud and that comes from my experience and what I have seen here today. I say let’s see when this guys next race is and assign a bicycle rider to follow his every move and make him prove once and for all his times are legit. I venture to say that he would not be able to complete a marathon in the times provided. Put up or shut up. Prove it and put an end to the speculations, period.
You don’t understand. He’s NEVER going to run a major race again (like Oscar Miranda). He may run a race in 4 hours and claim it was just for fun, but you’ll NEVER see him break 3 hours in a marathon. I’m 58 and broke 3 hours as a teenager. But now I’m trying to just get under by 1 second and it’s harder than people think as you age. His M.O. is so elementary I’m embarrassed for the guy. You took a pee at that point in the race but only for a few seconds????? Yeah, okay. Now the video proves otherwise, so what’s his next excuse???? I meant a several minutes. Oh, so he was really funning 2:48 pace, but the peeing threw that sub 2:50 out the window. Innocent people come back with solid proof, like run another race anywhere near that time, even 3 flat! But…the dog ate my homework, I’ve got a terrible injury, I don’t want to race anymore (think Oscar Miranda). Will Cloney offered to let Oscar Miranda’s time and place stand at Boston ’79 if he would race a 10k at the marathon pace that he claimed to have run…he refused. Predictable;)
Frank, I ran with Gene Dykes. Frank, you’re no Gene Dykes.
Replying to the comment from “collegiate runner” did you also look at the faster runners on the video link you offered before coming to your conclusion? It seems that even fast runners will slow down and say hello to people near the finish line. For example at about the 40:15 and 42:55 mark a runner will go way off course to the right of the screen even though they close to the finish line. It appears to me they are saying hello or making contact with people in the crowd, and as you described it losing valuable time.
Frank complained on the record about losing time for a “hotel bathroom stop” for LAM 2018. Those runners aren’t being investigated for bogus times. Frank ran across the street and back again to “hand something” off. Frank also loses considerable time to those runners on this downhill finishing stretch of LAM when he should be keeping pace.
It appears he was actually removing a black shirt and tossed it into the crowd at the 43:20 mark. I’m going out on a limb and say re-entered the course just outside of the video view.
We can easily clear this up. Let’s crowdfund a very large sum that Frank can keep or we’ll give to a charity of his choice if he’ll run a sub-3 marathon with a couple of independent witnesses.
In fact, if Frank does so, I’ll personally donate $25,000.
Replying to the comment from “collegiate runner” did you also look at the faster runners on the video link you offered before coming to your ludicrous conclusion? It seems that even fast runners will slow down and say hello to people near the finish line. For example at about the 40:15 and again at the 42:55 mark, runners go way off course to the right of the screen even though they are very close to the finish line. It doesn’t appear they are doing anything wrong and instead it appears they are just saying hello or making contact with people in the crowd, even though they are losing “valuable time” as you described it. You claim that because Meza goes to the right of the screen he somehow must be doing something wrong. Using your faulty logic, are you suggesting that all these other runners who finished even faster than Meza are doing something wrong? Should all these faster runners who go off course be investigated?
In the 1-sec/frame footage taken across from the Chinese Theater, it appears that he’s entering the race RIGHT IN FRONT of a photographer (or two). If he were cheating, wouldn’t he strategically want to enter right BEHIND the photographer, to avoid detection? Or was he hoping to be photographed — even at such an odd angle, because at least there would be evidence that he was there?
I think he works on the principle that if you act like you are just re-entering after a toilet break, nobody will think otherwise and certainly not spot this as odd, follow it up and question it.
The photographers he jumped in front weren’t shooting at the time. One is looking down at his camera and the other’s head is tilted down.
The discussion is slowly becoming absurd. You can, of course, find an excuse for everything and every behavior and ridicule the huge amount of hints. For example, a race in which there are no suspicious videos, photos or splits can be used to claim innocence. But we are talking about a world record here. It’s changing everything worldwide. In any case, I do not know any runner who, in case of doubt about his quality, would not want to prove himself to the public tomorrow by running a normal weekly workout in front of witnesses. I suggest the classic mile repeats at threshold pace, for example for a 2:53 marathon runner: 6 x mile at 6:14 per mile with 1-2 minutes easy jogging for recovery. Not too hard, should be possible all year round.
Aren’t we missing the obvious? Anyone who has run in a grey shirt knows how unfortunate the sweat marks are. Wearing a second layer underneath, both items should be soaked. He’s in oppressive heat, yet his shirt is dry. Along with his hat. And every other part of his body. And yet, though he must be so dehydrated that he is no longer sweating, he is not flush in the face, AND had to pee? If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Hes a known triathlon cheat in the socal area and has been called out at several races.
He’s not sweating or flush in the face during a sub-3 hour marathon attempt?!! Come on! In addition, he’s wearing layers. Nevertheless, derek may need to start classifying these cheats in order of “greatness”. Greatest, Great and Satisfactory cheat. We can say (till he was caught) possibly one of the best and and obviously shameless. Frank, prove us all wrong.
Three words could clear this up…G.P.S.
I’m just saying, as a former criminal defense attorney, in my opinion you have not established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in this case and the defendant would be found not guilty by modern evidentiary standards.
So you can see him in the video ?
The video you reference is not a video made by the race. It is a series of photos joined together to make a video. It is circumstantial evidence but, in my view, joined together with all of the other speculation in this article, does not constitute sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Look, I get that a world record is important and worth looking into, and that articulable suspicion exists in this case. But in my opinion, the best you can do is hang an asterisk on this one. This piece is entirely unlike most of Derek’s articles, where he usually conclusively proves based on the laws of physics and human physiology that a person could not possibly have run the race. In this case, you have interesting hypotheses and some credible speculation but no direct evidence that a crime was committed. Where is the bike? Where are the witnesses? Where is the photographic evidence beyond a guy leaving the course once and saying he took a quick leak? What I’m suggesting is that Derek stick with cases where he can show egregious and obvious behavior and prove that the person is busted, disgusted, and cannot be trusted. I just don’t think he has done that in this case. Why not focus on the more extreme and obvious cheaters, especially the ones where the alleged cheater comes back with lame and highly improbable or easily refuted excuses? Those cases are also more entertaining.
The video in the later article
Your opinion, your opinion, your opinion. You mention being a former criminal defence attorney to give weight to this opinon and then provide nothing that would make anyone in a jury acquit Frank.
He is charged with entering the course from a location different to the one from which he left it. Having a camera effectively provide one second interval footage for as long as one needs in order to ascertain that Frank did NOT leave the course from the same location as he enters it proves that charge.
Anyone in a jury would be hard pressed to come to the conclusion that Frank could possibly have left the course at this point as, to do so without being captured by the one second interval camera, he would have to be travelling at several hundred miles per hour.
Now the rules of the L.A. Marathon explicity state that:
“Any participant leaving the race course for any reason must re-enter the race course where he or she left it or be disqualified for course-cutting.”
He did NOT leave the course from this location and should therefore be disqualified. The runners who have been knocked down or off the podium by Frank, would have a very clear cause of action against L.A. Marathon for not enforcing their own rules if they chose to pursue it.
You mean we are supposed to follow all the rules in the rulebook? Dang, now you tell me!
P.S. and defense lawyers wonder why we don’t trust them. Go figure.
If he re-entered the course in a different location from where he left it, feel free to try and get him disqualified for that if you wish. Of course, then you have the issue of scope – exactly what does “where he or she left it” mean? Does he have to exit and reenter on the exact same inch mark? Or is it allowed to exit and reenter within a 25-50 foot spectrum? What exact distance of separation do you allege that he re-entered the course from where he left it, and what exact proof do you have?
Eric, the evidence is not so much that he re-entered the course from the sidewalk, it’s that he is not ever seen exiting the course. He was not running the course leading up to the sidewalk. I provided 3 minutes worth of footage even though he said he stepped off the course for a few seconds.
Also, if you haven’t I’d recommend looking at the follow up article regarding Sprouts-Phoenix. There is not explanation for him not appearing in that video.
I will have more evidence relating to LA soon.
If he knows where the mats are, he really only needs one bike. Step out onto the course, run 200-300m, run back to the bike, ride to the next mat. There are miles between the mats, he would have plenty of time to backtrack to where he left the bike to ride up to the next one, especially in a city where you can shortcut it.
As a former 2:30 marathoner, I can comfortably say that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
The evidence gathered would make any “normal” human being realize that he clearly cheated.
Yeah, he dressed up in all of that running attire when most others were wearing half the clothes, took the time to discard it…while on record pace mind you;), stopped to take a pee for “a few seconds”, has no visible signs of sweat or fatigue after 26.2 miles…while on record pace mind you;), missed mats, has one photograph (as if they purposely singled him out), accepted having results removed from another RD (without putting up fight mind you)…yeah, you’re right, he’s innocent (insert sarcastic laughing face here).
Congratulations on your running accomplishments, but that doesn’t make you Columbo (that’s an old-man reference to a detective TV show you may not be familiar with). I disagree with your assertion that all “normal” people would come to the same conclusions on the evidence alleged – I believe you have established probably cause and articulable suspicion but lack the evidence to convict.
If you look up my race photos, I am usually wearing poly shell jackets or long sleeve race shirts, even in the summer, to avoid sun on my skin as much as possible. It’s what a lot of us old guys do, given skin cancer issues – which I believe would be especially normal for a 70 y/o physician. Increased moisture from sweat in athletic fabrics can cool body temps in hot weather. It does not appear that he is wearing wool or heavy fabrics. Also, if you look up my race history on Athlinks or Strava, you will see that I usually tank in the last mile or so of most races and have slowed my pace by a minute or two or even three in the last 1-2 miles of many races. Regarding your claim that he didn’t look like he was sweating, when your clothes are uniformly soaked, you won’t have spots on your clothing.
Finally, can we have a polite and civil discussion without resorting to name calling or suggesting that I’m trying to shill for this guy. I have no clue who he is and never heard of him prior to this thread.
I guess we just found the “counsel” Dr. Meza hired.
Eric, do you have any special interest to declare here?
I have no special interest in this matter of any kind. I am a running enthusiast and a RRCA certified coach. Google my name and look up my website at ericandpeety.com. I’m a well-known public person and have no affiliation with, prior knowledge of, or involvement in anyway with the person being discussed in this thread. All I’m saying is, if you want to publicly destroy someone as you are doing in this thread, you really should also come up with a plausible theory about how he cheated. What you are suggesting would be extraordinarily complicated to pull off and would require either multiple bikes stashed on the course, a series of mules at different positions on the course, or an accomplice who picked the person up and drove him short distances at various spots along the course. It seems to me that it would be very difficult to accomplish all that and you should be able to produce proof of your accusations if those things are true, what with all of the photographers and video cameras on the course. Instead, all you have is speculation and conjecture.
Also, I appear to be one of the few people in this entire thread who is using my real name and providing proof of my identity. If you want to explore bias and special interest, please identify yourself also.
“Why not focus on the more extreme and obvious cheaters, especially the ones where the alleged cheater comes back with lame and highly improbable or easily refuted excuses? Those cases are also more entertaining.”
Frank claimed to have peed on the front of a HOLLYWOOD BLVD store facade with hundreds of spectators and numerous photographers around. He chose to do this after bypassing designated LAM portapotties a few blocks before. That is lame, improbable, and easily refuted.
Frank Meza has engaged in cheating for OVER A DECADE! He’s been DQed from CIM 2014 and 2016. Just go back and comb through his Athlink results. He even cheats at triathlons. In some competitions he comes in 3/104 in swimming or has an amazing cycle time in courses where it’s easy to cut or skip. In triathlon competitions that have point to point sections, he’s an average to below average performer. In the 2018 Surf City Race Triathlon, Frank Meza was the only participant who finished finished within a minute of 2:51 to not have ANY RUNNING PHOTOS on the beach.
https://www.athlinks.com/event/30562/results/Event/729716/Course/1204999/Results (Search for pics of the other finishers and compare them to Frank’s. You will find those who actually ran the 10K to have photos of them running on a beach course.)
I frequently pee on trees and in other opportune spots along courses rather than use porta-potties to save time. I have peed on the corner of buildings in city marathons. 30 second time savings here and there make a huge difference, especially for people 60 and over like myself who have to go much more often than you young whippersnappers 🙂
A failure to produce photos in a specific section of a race doesn’t prove much except perhaps that the photog put his camera down for a minute, perhaps had to use the facilities himself, or the runner was behind other runners and didn’t get into a photo. Are you telling me that EACH AND EVERY other person in the race is shown in a photo at the exact same spot on the course except for this one person? If you don’t have that uniformity, your evidence is insufficient to make the claim you are making.
Sorry Eric, I have seen too many “just an honest upstanding neutral observer” in threads about running cheats to take you seriously. The video in Derek’s later article leaves not a shred of doubt.
Seriously, you are an anonymous person on the Internet, I have posted my true identity which is easily confirmed, I am simply a running enthusiast employed as a fundraiser for a non-profit and have zero association or prior knowledge of the individual who is the subject of this thread, yet you choose to question the reason for my participation in this thread based on your personal beliefs and experience in past Internet disputes. What Universe am I in? I am done in this thread and on this site – enjoy your pitchforks and bonfires.
Pitchforks are sometimes an unfortunate aspect of the internet.
But you have pulled out every lame “reasonable doubt” excuse imaginable. I guess that’s what defense attorneys do naturally, but you don’t even realize it anymore.
Take a look at the new article Derek posted today. Perhaps that one will change your mind about Frank’s premeditated attempts to break the rules while setting a new age group record. He’s pathetic, and I hope all his past defenders take a good look at the man they thought they knew.
Still no comment from you on the videos in the two later articles on this site I note amongst the self-righteous flouncing
Comments are closed.