Meza Addresses Team, Coaches as Disqualification Looms

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2019

This weekend The LA Times reported on the controversy regarding Dr. Frank Meza. It was reported that The L.A. Marathon is in the process of disqualifying Frank from the 2019 race.

Meza Addresses The Loyola Track Team

On Saturday morning, Frank addressed the Loyola HS Track Team at practice. Frank denied that he cut any courses and told the team that he would prove himself at Chicago – reiterating a statement that he made to Canadian Running Magazine.

Shortly after telling his team that he would be running in Chicago he addressed the coaches separately, and contradicted what he told the team. He told coaches that he was diagnosed with a heart condition and that his running days may be over.

What More is Needed?

Lalo Diaz is a colleague of Meza’s, a coach at Loyola. He has been a supporter of Meza’s. And was quoted in the L.A. Times article.

“With them, he is guilty until proven innocent,” Diaz says. “The burden should be on them to say this is irrefutable, this is what you did and we caught you. Why is the burden on him?”

The proof has been presented. It is irrefutable. Below is just a sampling of what has been included in previous articles.

  • Frank was photographed off of the course prior to three different timing mats at The 2019 LA Marathon. He was never seen exiting the course, he was only photographed as he entered the course.
  • The pace over stretches where it can be proved that Frank was on the course is significantly slower than his full marathon pace.
  • He was disqualified from The California International Marathon in 2014 and 2016. He was banned after the 2016 race. He did not dispute the disqualifications. He admits he could not have run the pace that he recorded, but offers no explanation. He was disqualified by a USATF official, not by some internet trolls or an ‘amateur investigator’.
  • At the Phoenix Marathon in 2019, there was a video camera set up at mile 22. Frank never appears on the video. He never passed the camera. He never ran that section of the course.
  • After suspicions regarding his 2015 finish, LA stated that they would require Frank run with an observer for The 2016 race. Frank skipped the race, saying that he wanted to run with some former Loyola runners at The Oakland Marathon. The article referenced Robert Brandt as one of those runners. Brandt did not run the Oakland Marathon in 2016.

Lalo Diaz is the same coach that sent a voicemail to Amby Burfoot (former Runner’s World executive and 1968 Boston Marathon winner) stating that Frank had retained legal council. He requested that anyone with questions regarding Frank’s performances contact Lalo directly.

I previously reached out to Lalo since he asked that Amby direct anyone with questions to him.

“Please…Contact Dr. Meza’s attorneys. No comment. Thank You.

I asked him for contact information for the attorneys, he responded:

“You’re the cracker jack investigator”!!!

He never did provide me with any contact information for any attorney.

Last night, I reached back out to Lalo to get his reaction to Frank’s contradictory statements to the team and the coaches. He did not reply.

More to Come

I am digging through all available information from all of Frank’s past results. There are anomalies going back many years. I plan to present detailed analysis in the near future.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. “With them, he is guilty until proven innocent,” Diaz says. “The burden should be on them to say this is irrefutable, this is what you did and we caught you. Why is the burden on him?”
    And here we are – the fall back position from denials – “you can’t prove he did” whilst not accepting any conceivable evidence.
    On the Letsrun forum the poster “Too much time on my hands” has produced very interesting sequences of photos from many marathons where Frank should appear e.g. https://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=9307635&page=199

    • I just went down a rabbit hole on LR. Lol! Stopped reading when it was at 89 pages because I got busy and just clicked on that and now backing up where I left off and playing catch up. See you in a few hours. Lol

  2. I have seen several comments claiming that a GPS file would provide evidence that a run was performed. This is false. It is easy to create fake GPS files, all of the information on the file format is publicly available. (For the tech savvy readers its an XML document) A competent programmer could quickly create a program to generate world record performances, complete with valid looking mat crossing times, slowdowns on uphills and other suitable pace variances. It would probably take less time to write the program than run the course.

    The easy way to do it is to run the event slowly the previous year, under a pseudonym. This provides locations along the course and relative paces. This pre-run also provides useful information to a potential course cutter. Cycling the course the previous day would be sufficient for the impatient, but you might miss some detail. Extract the file from the watch change just the timestamps, with a starts time offset and speed scale. Finally send the file back to the watch. Done correctly the file is indistinguishable from an authentic one. Once loaded to strava enough metadata are lost that even small mistakes in the file will not appear.

    • But you still have to fudge the GPS data in a way that it correlates with the timing mat data and any photos taken along the course. Possible, but more challenging.

    • Many people have made this exact claim on Letsrun but when I challenged one particularly belligerent individual who was claiming he could to this to create for me a London marathon GPS track for the following year with a time of 2:30 with cadence and heart rate he wriggled out of it by demanding I paid him up front. Are you willing to prove it?

      • Yes. Please provide me a file from a recent run of yours that you would like modified (strava’s export capability is the most convenient way to get these). I’ll let you choose a file sharing app to make the file public. Choose a target time and start date for the event. I will create a file you can import into strava, and put it on the same file share facility from where I obtained the original. you can then import this file into your strava, I do not know if strava allows imports with future timestamps so you might want to choose yesterday as the target.

        The file will not be perfect. I’m going to leave deliberate markers that it was the result of edits. I am not in the business of developing fraud tools.

        • No, you say this is easy to do so please create one for the London Marathon 2020 with a finish time of 2:30:09 with consistent looking cadence and heart rate.

          • It’s not really that hard, the easiest way to do that is to find someone who ran the London Marathon with that target time in the past. Download their GPX file, then use a text editor such as Notepad++ to change the timestamp (2019-06-26T22:32:34Z) and you’re good to do. Of course, that assumes that the course doesn’t change year to year.

            Once you’ve done that, figure out when you have to be at the mats and there you go.

          • Bryan, I’m a software developer, I know the theory, but not once have I seen someone do what they claim, yes I could edit a GPX file too, that is not the hard bit.

          • I agree, the hard part is getting someone’s GPX. I’m used to swapping GPX files for trail races to create route files. I’m not sure how hard it is to get a valid race file for a road race.

            As for doing it, I’ll leave this here for a day, then it will get deleted. I’ll admit to being lazy, I didn’t change the creator to match the watch I wear. I promise you, I didn’t run this course yesterday. Will you accept this as a proof of concept?

            https://www.strava.com/activities/2484878155

          • Not really, the splits are all over the place and the HR is at odds with the pace taking into account the elevation change. Let me reiterate, I do not doubt anyone can edit a GPX file, what I doubt is you could cover convincingly for Meza’s run at LA 2019, just think of all the known times he is photographed off the course, no editing gets you this, you have to hand craft every entry and adjust cadence, HR etc and this is before you account for the satellite settings for the day.

      • ExpertKipWatcher. That was a duplicate of a race that I ran earlier in the year, during a downpour where I rolled my ankle, and then ran with a runner that was slower than I normally run(which is why the numbers are “odd:). The original looks the same. I was not trying to find a perfect race, just prove how easy it can be done.

        If I was trying to cheat a mat system, I would create the file in advance based on someone else’s run close to my goal time. I would also adjust the run start time to be near the back. From that I would know when I needed to hit the mats, figure out when I had to enter the course to be “close” enough. Also, I’d spike my HR early, then record 0 HR for most of the race. This would let me explain that my strap was reading funky so I took it off. To me, the hard part would be hitting the mats, but if I messed up my timing I’d claim my GPS didn’t work right (assuming I admitted to having a watch).

        • I understand what you did, the best analogy I can give is to quote Wolfgang Pauli, Nobel Prize winning physicist commenting on a wildly optimistic claim:

          “This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian.” [accompanied by a big drawing of an empty rectangle] “Only technical details are missing.”

          Re-create Meza’s 2019 LA Marathon, including all the pauses for when he was photographed entering or standing at the side of the course and I will accept you are on to something if it passes as genuine on the Letsrun forum.

          • I can’t do that, unless you can get the GPX file from a runner who was close to him (or at least when he was supposed to be there).

            I still think you have it backwards though, it’s not a case of creating the GPX post run, but pre-run and then use that as a guide as to when you need to be on the course. That would also explain why he was stretching so much, he didn’t want to hit a mat too soon.

          • You are correct, the pauses would make it tougher, if I was doing it I’d plan to stay out of camera view as much as possible. Wear generic clothing and obscure my bib as well. I don’t think he planned for the level of scrutiny that he got.

            Of course, this point is moot, since he doesn’t wear a GPS anyway. It is a good thought exercise though. I know I can do it for the Boston Marathon (although I don’t know the locations I’d need to hit, haven’t run there since I was a lot younger), it’s easy to find a good GPX file for it.

          • Right, so when people say “GPS proves nothing, I could create a convincing GPS track for X race” they are talking utter bollocks. Nobody is asking for a completely unrelated GPS track that has been edited. To explain it another way – “I can absolutely guarantee winning a lottery jackpot – if only I had the correct numbers”

        • To get the mat times correct use a gps on the day and collect way-points for each mat, some for the start and finish. Then use those data as end points for sequential interpolation, using the location data from the original. Need just a little logic to find the data point closest to the mat waypoint but not hard.

          If heart rate matters you could run the event anonymously the previous year. Run reasonably hard. This will produce convincing heart rate for you.

          I do have all the information for Boston. Did it in the 2018 storm, my slowest, but most, race ever. I honour that race too much to mess with it.

  3. This clown might be the most detailed and meticulous cheater in the history of races.

    Great work Derek…as always

  4. “On Saturday morning, Frank addressed the Loyola HS Track Team at practice. Frank denied that he cut any courses and told the team that he would prove himself at Chicago – reiterating a statement that he made to Canadian Running Magazine.

    Shortly after telling his team that he would be running in Chicago he addressed the coaches separately, and contradicted what he told the team. He told coaches that he was diagnosed with a heart condition and that his running days may be over.”

    Where did this information come from? It seems like more evidence but there should be some idea of who this info came from.

  5. “On Saturday morning, Frank addressed the Loyola HS Track Team at practice. Frank denied that he cut any courses and told the team that he would prove himself at Chicago – reiterating a statement that he made to Canadian Running Magazine.

    Shortly after telling his team that he would be running in Chicago he addressed the coaches separately, and contradicted what he told the team. He told coaches that he was diagnosed with a heart condition and that his running days may be over.”

    Where did this information come from? It seems like more evidence but there should be some idea of who this info came from.

  6. Now he has a heart condition? What a strange coincidence! I guess we will never see him run another race, which proves everything. Sad.

  7. I think a lot of people predicted that he would “develop” a medical condition that keeps him from running any more world record paces.

  8. If someone asks where’s the smoking gun for this crime, I would say you didn’t find one.
    You found about ten.

  9. https://bit.ly/2Xw29td

    This is a Google map of the LA Marathon course. You can interact with the map, and on the left hand side, there are check boxes where Dr. Meza IS present in race photos, and where he IS NOT. Green for present, red for absent. If you click on the individual pins on the map, there will be a link to a contact sheet of consecutive photos from that location around the time Dr. Meza passed the location, or should have passed the location based on the other runners in the photos. There are nine separate cameras that Dr. Meza missed on the course, including one fixed time-lapse camera near Echo Park just after the 10K mark.

    • Great graphic of all the work you’ve been doing, along with trying to convince trolls on LRC. This really shows the long stretches between his appearances on course and gives a better feeling of how easy it would be to get transported between those spots. I’m still amazed there aren’t more timing mats on the course, since that really helps people keep track of their favorite runners (and helps catch cheaters.)

  10. At least he has been DQ from LA Marathon 2019. They should probably DQ him from LA Marathon 2015, 2017 and 2018 too.

    • With Meza out, the new age group champion (M70-74) has a time over 4 hours. Quite a difference.

      • And that’s the thing — a completed Marathon by anyone in the 70-74 AG is impressive as hell, regardless of time. Why the good doctor had to do what he did is hard to understand.

Comments are closed.