Frank Meza Speaks: Responds to Course Cutting Claims

32
31108

At the precise moment when even more evidence regarding Frank Meza’s 2019 LA Marathon Result was being uncovered, Canadian Running Magazine published an article regarding the “accusations”against Frank.

Meza is quoted as saying:

 “I took up running for fun. What I can tell you is that I did not cut. My last few marathons I have had to step off the course, looking for a place to pee. I didn’t know this was against the rules, I was not aware of that. I’ve done this several times. I’ve realized my problem is that I don’t hydrate properly. I have never cut the distance but I have stepped off of the course.”

Frank’s statement marginalizes the evidence and Canadian Running Magazine did little to counter his statement.

I am left feeling obligated to once again refute his statement, and to make clear that I am not simply throwing out “accusations”, but that I make every effort to present all available information. In this case the growing amount of evidence clearly indicates that Frank did not run the entire length of The 2019 LA Marathon.

“The next time I run a race I will use a Garmin. I’m pretty old school so I hadn’t used Garmin or Strava before, but I won’t ever run a race without it again. This is not my job. I don’t get paid for it. A lot of people don’t even know I’m a runner. I do this for fun, and right now this isn’t fun. Once I get over the shock and awe of all of this I would like to get back to my training.”

Frank also glossed over his CIM disqualification. He says he was DQ’d after a 36 minute 10k split. He did not fight the DQ. He also did not explain this split.

Summary of Frank Meza’s 2019 LA Marathon

At Los Angeles, Frank ran the fastest time ever recorded by a 70 year old in a Marathon. He has an official time of 2:53:10 (Gun Time 2:53:58).

10 Kilometer Timing Mat

Within view of the 10 kilometer timing mat, Frank spent at roughly 1 minute stretching. He did not mention this when he wrote me that he only went off course once for a few seconds.

Going to the side of the road to stretch, isn’t evidence in of itself of any wrongdoing. But this behavior does start to establish a pattern. On two more locations of the course, Frank is caught off of the course. In fact, I estimate that there are more photos of Frank off the course than there are of him running. Accounting for the time he stopped stretching, Frank would have needed to run to that point on the side of the road in just a little over 6 minute per mile pace.

Prior to 20 Kilometer Checkpoint

Frank was also captured off course at approximately mile 11.6 – less than a mile from the 20 kilometer timing mat. The key point here is that he is never seen further up the road. If he stepped off the course for a short period of time, he would have appeared in photos at some point before stepping off the course. The 0.8 miles from this point to the next timing mat is the only significant portion of the course that I can be reasonably confident that he actually ran. He ran this stretch at a pace of 8:23 minutes per mile – 1 minute and 48 seconds slower than his average pace.

25 Kilometer Timing Mat

Prior to the 25 kilometer checkpoint, Frank is shown for a period of time standing on the corner. He wasn’t stretching (or peeing). He appeared to be waiting for just the right time to enter the course. He was shown on the sidewalk for over 30 seconds.

I did pull off  to pee one time…a wall a few secs

Yesterday, I reached out to Frank in an attempt to allow him to explain these photos. He did not respond.

Hello Frank,

I read the Canadian Running article and your explanation. I have some follow up and at least wanted to allow you to offer up further clarification.

LA – 2019

You wrote to me that you stopped to pee one time ‘for a few seconds’.There is now photographic evidence of you off the course on three separate occasions. Prior to 10k, prior to 20k and prior to 25k.

You can review the evidence relating to the 20k and 25k on marathoninvestigation.com.

How do you explain this? None of these locations seem to be likely locations to stop and relieve yourself. The photos from 10k and 25k show you just standing off the course.

All of this is in contrast with your claim that you didn’t want to waste time off course.

If you stepped off course momentarily, you would have been captured leaving the course or on the portion of the course prior to where you re-emerged.

Additionally when you are seen in the course, you are calculated (and seen in video) at slower paces than you run for the entire marathon. With all the breaks, it would stand to reason that you would have a faster moving pace.

Mesa-PHX

I posted in my site regarding the race video. You did not appear on the section of the course that was captured by video at approximately mile 22. This shows definitively that you did not run this section of the course.

However, I am open to any explanation you may have for what I am seeing.

Thank You
Derek Murphy
MarathonInvestigation.com

The key points are not that Frank was on the side of the road. It’s how often that he is seen on the side of the road, and that he was not captured running the stretches of course prior to being seen on the side of the road prior to the 20k and 25k checkpoints.

The fact that he was not on The Mesa-PHX video also cannot be explained away by a “pee break”.

The excuse may seem reasonable without all the evidence. If someone only read The Canadian Running article they may be left with the impression that these were unfounded accusations. This is why I felt it necessary to address Frank’s explanations and present the evidence in a more consolidated format.

Gene Dykes

Gene was the runner whose time Frank bettered – although unofficially. Gene reached out to me and shared his perspective on the situation and his plans for his next record attempt.

I was truly hoping he was the real deal and that I would be able to race him head to head, but it wouldn’t appear that it’s going to happen.

Gene Dykes

“It pretty much doesn’t affect me in any official way.  His time was run on a certified, sanctioned race, but on a course that was not record eligible.  My Jacksonville time was run on a certified, record-eligible course, but the race was not sanctioned.  Neither performance will be considered as a national or world record.  Unofficially, I suppose it would be nice to be known as running the fastest marathon time not eligible for a record, but it’s not really a big deal to me.  I was truly hoping he was the real deal and that I would be able to race him head to head, but it wouldn’t appear that it’s going to happen.

If I stay uninjured and training goes well, I will be attempting to break the world record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20.  It’s certified, record eligible, properly sanctioned, and since I will be granted elite status, my gun time will be very close to chip time.  The gun time requirement is totally unfair to a runner who doesn’t have the name recognition I have and would have trouble starting anywhere other than in a corral behind the elites.

As Gene touches on, there are others affected by Frank’s results. I also felt it was likely only a matter of time before Frank ran a record time in an eligible race.

I will continue to investigate Frank’s previous results in an effort to find the truth and give any runners that may have been unfairly bumped their rightful placements.

Sometimes the process is slow. But I am optimistic that the races where evidence has been presented will perform their own diligence and follow their own processes (and their own timelines) and ultimately make the correct decisions regarding whether to disqualify Frank.

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.

 

One-Time Contribution


Don’t want to use PayPal? Click below to contribute without going through PayPal.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Contrary to his statement to the Canadian magazine, it appears as if he is wearing a Garmin 910 with a foot pod.

      • But only on the one shoe? Usually the adjustable part is the same color as the laces if it’s like the lock laces. I’m also of the thinking that it’s a footpod but I guess we’ll never know.

        • I can’t delete my above comment but yes, in another closer up photo, it does appear to be the adjustable part of the elastic laces and not a footpod.

  2. Derek, I have been following your site for quite a while and I think this has to be one of your best, most concise, and well written articles. I didn’t need any further convincing on this one to begin with, but I really appreciate this one.

    Also, super impressed by Gene’s response – talk about class. Everyone should take note of him and his efforts. If he does set the record at Toronto in October, perhaps a brief article acknowledging the accomplishment and showing how to do things the right way may be in order.

  3. “Accounting for the time he stopped stretching, Frank would have needed to run to that point on the side of the road in just a little over 6 minute per mile pace.” To put that into perspective, The 70-74 age group winner of the 2018 New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile ran 6:01, for ONE mile. Thank you again Derek for your persistence. You are doing the hard work that should either be done by or made unnecessary by race directors doing their job properly.

  4. He didn’t really say anything. I liked the “I would like to get back to my training” as if anything barring injury is stopping that.
    Keep digging into the older races of his. I bet there is a treasure trove of inconsistencies and surprises out there. Like it or not for him, he is cementing his place in the mount rushmore of running shame next to Litton and rossi and rosie ruiz.

  5. Great post. This one convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Also, I notice that Frank is wearing a green foot pod in one of these photos that I can’t see on the other runners. Doesn’t that seem to indicate that he’s wearing a watch that interacts with a foot pod, i.e. a GPS watch?

  6. This story is nuts. If Frank figures out how to stop peeing all over LA, he’s going to be running a 2:30 next year. Donated.

  7. Those who know Gene Dykes, please encourage him to do everything possible to document his Toronto performance: GPS, etc. to put it above question.

    • It’s not necessary. He’ll be in dozens of race photos, like all his competitors. He’ll appear in videos running alongside them at an appropriate pace. He’ll dress appropriately and sweat anyway. You don’t need to prove an honest race at a big city marathon. On a close examination of the evidence that’s generated automatically, it’s very clear who cheats and who doesn’t

      • Agreed, I noticed someone in the Slowtwitch thread pretending that anyone could be caught by Derek and would not be able to prove they are legit. If you are legit and don’t behave stupidly e.g. covering up bibs, wearing them in stupid places etc you have nothing to worry about.

      • Plus there will be a lot of witnesses who ran with him for long stretches. Notice that no one is chiming in to say they ran with Dr. Meza for any length of time.

  8. Derek: (saw on another page): you see the outline of a phone connected to that necklace? Can’t say I have ever seen a sub-3:00 marathoner run with a phone around their neck…much easier to coordinate things while running if you have a phone. Does that break any rules?

  9. Hi Derek,

    I have been a longtime reader of the RSS feed for marathon investigation. MI is in my “must read” tag in Feedly.

    Is there any chance full posts will be restored to the feed?

    If not I understand and in any case thank you for your work on MI.

    DJ

  10. I am sorry, but I cannot restore the RSS feed.

    Some scam sites were mining the feed and posting my articles in their entirety, adding advertisements, etc.

    This hurts my site when those articles show up in news feeds and Google search results. It is unfortunate, I agree.

  11. Derek: great work on the added photos from 10k, and thanks for including Gene’s classy response.

  12. Derek, I tried to donate to MI thru non PayPal. I couldn’t get thru it. PayPal is only way? Let me know.
    Frank was my son’s high school volunteer coach in early part of 1990. His son was also member of cross country team along with my son. I had met frank on many Saturday practices. The evidences are overwhelming! What a shame! IMHO, his behavior patterns are well thought out detailed plans. Recently I have read story of other races he did locally. Derek’s painstaking meticulous investigations is just incredible. Personally, I feel so sad for his idiotic behavior here!

  13. My race photos are always so hilariously bad that I hope I am never photographed running next to a serial cheater highlighted on MI.

  14. Good work. What will you do if he keeps running races? If he maintains that he runs for fun, then I’m sure he will continue to run marathons, so will you continue to shame and discredit all of them?

  15. I think the more interesting thing to try and research is how he cheats, not whether he does or does not.

    • The snag with this is that without someone covertly following him and filming in the past everything is going to be logical inference. People like to overcomplicate and talk about elaborate schemes with accomplices, drivers and bib handovers when the idea that makes the fewest assumptions beyond what we know is most likely to be correct.

Comments are closed.