After The LA Marathon announced the disqualification of Frank Meza, the story has been picked up nationally. The New York Post, People Magazine and others have reported on the evidence and the disqualification of Frank.
Despite The LA Marathon’s findings, and the evidence presented here that Frank did not run the full 2019 LA Marathon, Frank still denies that he cheated. He claims publicly that he will run again. In the latest LA Times article, Frank says he will run The 2020 LA Marathon with an observer to prove that he can run a marathon in under 3 hours.
Frank Off The Course in LA
Frank seems to be a creature of habit. A letsrun poster by the name of ‘deadesq’ has been able to uncover photos of Frank just prior to the 10 kilometer timing mat at Echo Park during The 2015 and 2017 LA Marathons. It was previously reported that Frank was seen off the course in this same location during The 2019 LA Marathon.
2015 LA Marathon – 2:52:47
The 2015 LA Marathon was the result that initially brought Frank to my attention. On a very hot day, he ran some unbelievable splits.
A runner is seen running against the course flow along the path adjacent to the course at Echo Park just prior to the 10k checkpoint. Zooming in on the photo even further, we can determine that it is highly probable that this runner is Frank. He appears in course photos shortly after the above photo, but he now appears in his singlet. The distinctive white stripe on his shorts, shoes, black socks, watch on his right wrist, hat, and hair all appear consistent.
2017 LA Marathon – 2:57:30
Again, Frank was captured off course at Echo Park.
Frank was also captured off course, at another location, on Rodeo drive, at mile 17.
2019 LA Marathon – 2:53:10
As previously reported, Frank was also seen off the course in the usual Echo Park location.
Frank on A Bike? – 2014 SF Marathon – 2:59:40
As I was putting this article together, a bombshell was dropped by a letsrun.com poster who went by the username “frank on a bike?”
Just for the heck of it, I picked a race from Derek’s list of Frank’s finishes that I had not seen a lot of analysis on: the 2014 San Francisco Marathon where he had a chip time of 2:59:41. I looked at pictures of runners who had approximately the same clock time. I came across this picture of runner 185, who had a clock time of 3:05:52 compared to Frank’s clock time of 3:04:00. Take a look at the biker in the background.
The picture of the rider on the bike matches Frank’s appearance. The shoes, the hat, socks, etc. when looking at the original version blown up, there is no doubt it is Frank. On the bike he has a long sleeve shirt on. In the photos near the finish (the only photos of Frank running), he has a shirt wrapped around his waist.
In the next article I plan to analyze Frank’s Long Beach Marathon Results. The evidence is similar in nature to what has been presented regarding Los Angeles. As long as Frank continues to claim that he has been unjustly disqualified, and that he has never cut a course (or rode a bike along a course), I feel it is necessary to present all the evidence that is available.
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Nice article, Derek. The picture of Frank running the wrong way during a sub 3 hour marathon and the picture of Frank on a bike during a sub 3 are incredible.
The guy is 70. It’s too bad this is going to be what he will be remembered by. Anytime you google this guy’s name….this stuff is going to be the first thing anyone sees.
He should just come clean.
Its not “too bad.” Its deserved.
he means Too bad as in too bad this is what this man has chosen for his legacy
Yes and thank you Jewel.
Great work as always Derek.
Without you this guy might still be doing this at future marathons.
As mentioned in another context, the bike photo is the “Zapruder Footage”
Apologies in advance if this has been discussed elsewhere. But, what’s he doing? Is he exiting the course to ride in an automobile between timing mats? Does he have a series of bikes scattered around the course? The LA course doesn’t seem to be susceptible to mere shortcutting. Any theories?
Riding a bike near as near to the timing mats as he dares, parking it a few blocks away, jogging to the course, running a little bit, heading back to bike, rinse and repeat.
I think given the brazenness of the bike photo that he is leaving the bike much closer than that, I would guess no more than 100 metres past the mat if there are no photographers in the vicinity.
With the ubiquity of cameras in our culture, it is a wonder Bigfoot hasn’t been found yet.
Wow. Wow. Wow. That bike photo is incredible. I have a hard time following the thread on LetsRun (so many unhappy people going back and forth at each other) so thanks for picking out the gems.
When do you think his Oprah special will air? Will it get more viewers than Lance’s?
Great work Derek & lets run posters. Keep it coming!
This is fascinating as a Psychology study. The guy is an accomplished Doctor but still feels the need to cheat to win the marathon. This tells us a couple of things: 1) He really feels the need for glory or fame for some reason; 2) He may cheat regularly on other things in his life, like through medical school or even in his practice as a Doctor.
In the pics of him on the bike, I wonder why he draped his shorts on the handlebars instead of just pulling the sweats over them? It seams like a better quick-change to just cover up the racing clothes with sweats and a different shirt. I wonder if he’ll explain why.
I wondered the same thing.
His shorts are huge and baggy…sweats would not fit over them.
Amazing work here. Cheaters are strange. It would be a lot simpler just to run the race and collect the honest time. I was looking at his Pike’s times because I can’t for the life of me figure out how to cheat that one. He’s got 5 appearances there (one was just the ascent) going back to 1988. (https://pikespeakmarathon.org/results/find.asp?Last=Meza&Mi=%20&First=Frank)
The 1988 result is really strong (if it’s real, of course). A 3:03 ascent portion is great. My best was a 3:12 for the ascent alone at a time when I was a low 2:50s marathoner. His later efforts (again, if they’re real) are indicative of a pretty strong runner still, especially for that age. Only the 2013 result has a lot of splits. Before that they either didn’t have as many mats or they’re not in the results. (Pike’s is big on details, so I think the former.)
At Pike’s, they mark your bib at the top, but of course one could mark ones own bib after having seen anyone else’s along the trail. They also have a mat at the top at the turn, so you’d have to get your bib up there to trigger it. Driving’s a possibility, but Barr trail is on the opposite side of the mountain from the road, so this wouldn’t be easy to do. If you look at openstreetmaps, you see there are a few feeder trails/roads off Barr, but still. Longs Ranch Road, Bob’s road would get you up to mile marker 4.2 or so. (https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/358945053#map=14/38.8528/-104.9855&layers=C) After that, I can’t figure a shortcut. Bib mule? No one else’s splits seem to line up.
Theoretically, someone could jump into the wrong wave and effectively get a head start (for example, suppose I am slotted to start in wave 2 but I conceal my number and jump into wave 1). But I have no evidence that Meza did this.
Meza’s reported results as a 39-year old at Pikes Peak are extremely impressive. That was three decades ago. His more recent races include Ascent times in the 3:40s. I would expect a low 2:50s marathoner to get to the top under 3:20. Meza was nowhere near that fast.
I would point out, too, that stand-alone Ascent times are not usually much faster than Ascent splits that occur during the full marathon. Indeed, I believe the course record for the Ascent came at the mid-point of a full marathon.
All in all, Meza’s Pikes Peak results are more inculpatory than exculpatory.
They will DQ you at PP for starting in the wrong wave. They are really strict about that, which I actually think is a bit bizarre since most who get “caught” did it by accident. Plus, the waves are only 1 or 2 minutes apart, so you don’t gain much.
I commented about this in the other thread. I’m perplexed too. There is one run where he and his son have very different ascent times but finish within 1 second of each other. Wish I could find their finisher photo from that year to see if his son mules his bib down.
BTW, I think they may have stopped marking bibs at the top since they have multiple mats. At least I don’t remember them marking mine. (They do something at the finish though to make sure only finishers get to pick up the shirt/jacket at the expo.)
As I’ve said before, this could all be cleared up – in his favor – if he can run a proven sub-3. I’ll give 3 to 1 odds he’ll never actually start any bonified Marathon, 20 to 1 that he’ll never finish it and 100 to 1 that it’s not under 3 hours. Any takers?
Hell, I’d accept a sub-20:00 5k. That should be stupid simple for a sub-3 marathoner–only 0:10/mile faster than his supposed marathon pace. I doubt he can even come close to that.
If his Pikes Peak times are legit, he seems capable of running a marathon in 3:20 or so. I’m not buying the sub-3 hour times, but he actually could be a pretty good runner.
Who wants to lay odds that IF he runs LA 2020 and his time is in the 4 hour range, he’ll claim that the “stress” and “scrutinity” caused him such distress that it greatly affected his time? I put 5 on it…
He won’t run because “all the negativity has sucked the fun out of running and I’ve moved on to other things.”
I bet those adidas pants are snap off. This dude is deranged.
Beautiful work. What an arrogant ass. I’m usually slow to judge but the evidence is clear. The 99% of other runners training every day, killing themselves for a good time and this arrogant SOB cheater … ugh. Keep up the good work. Hope every legit runner who’s ever completed a marathon sends you a $5 contribution.
In addition this guy doesn’t look healthy and fit enough to run anywhere near a sub 3 hr marathon. Not even a sub 5 hour marathon. I hope he’s reading this. I’d smoke him running backwards.
Not sure if it’s been mentioned but I saw that he did Boston Marathon supposedly in 4:25:58 a whopping 11 years ago in 2008. Probably using an illegitimate qualifying time. Now, 11 years later he’s suddenly over 90+ minutes faster? Lol. Gimme a break. Boston’s course is downhill overall with a wind usually at your back. That’s the bets he could do? Investigate that. I feel horrible for everyone who’s tried to qualify for Boston. Just so so so so wrong…
I wouldn’t make too much out of a slow Boston time, or a slow time in any particular marathon. I have friends who put everything into their BQ, and just “enjoyed the experience” in Boston. Or who were injured, but wouldn’t miss it for anything, and walk/ran. Not a defense of Meza, just an observation.
This guy is a real loser. He will NEVER come clean. His ego won’t let him. His friend who supports him on television yesterday said that he is not yet convinced that this Loser cheated and he supports him. Even after all the evidence, the videos, the photos, the disqualifications and banned from CIM he still supports him. I mentioned before that Surf City, Carlsbad, and Santa Clarita Marathons all have numerous out and back portions which would make for easy cheating. All of his past Marathons are now under scrutiny and rightfully so. I completely agree that he will never run another marathon now that he has been given so much negative attention and had finally been caught. The bike photos and photos of him running in the wrong direction, and photos of his standing around on the sidewalk are all clear and overwhelming evidence of a serial marathon cheater. His splits, especially the world record split this year for his age group, is icing on the cake of evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that he cheated. After all the evidence no reasonable person can say that they are still not convinced of his cheating. I hope this stays in the limelight until Santa Clarita Marathon in November which he usually runs, and Carlsbad in January, and Surf City on Super Bowl Sunday and finally LA in March. He is betting we move on to other things but I will be at most all of these Marathons and I will not forget. I will be checking the registered runners and if he is registered I will notify the race directors of his past history if they don’t know about it already. I can’t wait for fall.
This post is reminding me of the “Unwanted Ivanka” memes. Here’s Frank, by the road! Here’s Frank, on a bike! I thought the evidence at the start of this story was circumstantial and weak, but it’s become irrefutable as it accumulated.
As mentioned above, he’s probably an OK runner, but not 3:00hr runner. He may be capable of 3:30-4:00, so he can run a few splits fast enough to fly under the radar. But then he cheats on the others. He’s a smart man, a doctor, so he knows to cheat effectively he needs to hit timing mats in particular times to show a consistent pace (unlike Brie). Also mid-pack runners generally have the anonymity of a crowd, so he’s counting on people not paying much attention to him.
Not that this is a court case, but I suspect if it were possible to look at his travel records he arrives a few days early and scouts the courses, or comes weeks or months earlier and then returns for the race.
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