Second Place Finisher Removed from Fort Worth Marathon Results

Runner posted detailed report of her race. Evidence shows she cut the course before claiming 2nd place finish and Boston qualifying time

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Photo courtesy of: Movin' Pictures

There were moments I was cursing and wanted to stop but I just kept telling myself “strong thoughts only” Ended up placing 2nd female overall and 1st in my age group and can’t even believe it but BOSTON QUALIFIED!!! Like what?!?!?! I don’t have much of a buffer for cut off times but have one more marathon to help with that. Man oh man what a way to spend the Sunday!!!

The second place female finisher of The Fort Worth Marathon finished in a time of 3:28:42. This time is also a Boston Qualifying time, just under the standard of 3:30:00. A time of 3:28:42 would have missed the cut for the 2020 Boston Marathon by just 21 seconds. The finisher has clear Boston ambitions.

The Course

The Fort Worth Marathon course is USATF certified, and a Boston qualifying course. The course consists of two loops of the above course.

The Result

The Fort Worth Marathon publishes a single split at 13.1 miles – at the end of the first loop.

*Note – the split times for all competitors are now unpublished**

  • 1st Half: 1:52:52 – 08:37 per mile
  • 2nd Half: 1:35:50 – 07:19 per mile
  • 17 minutes and 2 seconds negative split

It is very unusual to run such a substantial negative split. I looked at her previous results on Athlinks to see what her typical race pace is.

DateDistanceTimePace Per Mile
1/26/201913.11:51:480:08:32
2/24/201913.11:49:270:08:21
5/25/20195k0:27:050:08:44
10/5/201913.11:57:130:08:57

She has not approached the 7:19 per mile pace that she registered for the 2nd half of The Fort Worth Marathon.

Additional Evidence

Photo courtesy of: Movin’ Pictures
Fort Worth Marathon – estimated mile 15

She made a detailed post on Instagram. Her post does not align with her results.

She said that she slowed down her pace at around mile 20 to “8:05 ish.”
If she ran an even 8:05 pace from miles 20 to 26.2, that would have meant that she ran a 6:38 minute per mile pace between miles 13.1 and 20. The photo of her walking while looking at her watch is estimated to be taken at approximately mile 15.

She says she turned her GPS off when she went into the restroom.

It would be highly unusual for a runner to stop their GPS during a restroom break DURING A RACE. Also, her statement is inconsistent with her GPS data.

Note: After putting together the above evidence, I was able to obtain her GPS data, which was synced on TrainingPeaks.

I uploaded her data to Strava and was able to confirm the conclusions made above.

The Flyby video shown above gives a representation of her track, compared to a few other runners who ran the entire course. You can see where she turns around prematurely.

She turned around on the second loop, at mile 18 approximately 2 miles before the turnaround point. Her GPS was never paused. She shortened the course by roughly 4 miles. From miles 14 through 22 (when she finished) she was averaging over 10 minutes per mile.

“I did end up slowing my pace down at this point to about 8:05 ish and at this point things got ugly…”

Had she ran the entire course, she would have finished in a little over four hours. The only statement that could be verified from her Instagram post was that her first mile pace was actually 7:54.

Fort Worth Marathon Response

I messaged The Fort Worth Marathon on Saturday November 16th, they reacted by quickly removing the runner from the marathon results. She is no longer listed in the results.

The Runner’s Response

I attempted to contact her through a direct message on Instagram. She did not reply. After I messaged her, she made her Instagram account private.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Man, she was trying to cover her tracks with the whole “pausing the Garmin” lie. That’s pretty sleazy and obviously premeditated.

    But why did the race unpublish their splits?

    • I’m a USATF course measurer and have measured a number of courses over the years. The USATF certification standards really don’t say anything about the design of a course so long as it is the advertised distance, or more precisely the distance plus 1/1000 of it’s length. I personally would welcome changes that would make courses harder to cut, and I actually think that doing away with out and backs etc., would improve the quality of course design and make for better courses for runners in general.

      Since reading the articles Derek writes I’ve actually changed my own methods, and have been working with the RD’s I measure for to avoid courses that can be cut easily. I’ve insisted that if there is an out and back that the course certification materials I write specify that there be a marshal at the turn around points if not a a mat (in the case of small races).

    • At the very least, it would seem a timing mat at the turnaround would be prudent. You see that at even small races that have a turnaround. That is good not only for people purposely cutting and also I guess a number of other possible scenarios where someone may accidentally miss a turnaround or head back towards the finish after an injury. Timing tech is pretty good these days, easy to catch it usually. It is not like the old days when we ran with the trackers tied to our shoes and you had to make sure you were right on the tracker and heard the beep and even then they often had issues.

  2. Awesome work, keep it up! I’m guessing the race director unpublished the data as they don’t want to deal with people questioning the results of their race. That’s probably the worst approach to take as it just makes cheating easier. Props to you for helping keep this sport clean.

  3. Hmmm, when I pause my Garmin and forget to restart it, it beeps at me roughly within .10 of a mile letting me know and starts going into auto save mode. It won’t sit there paused for that many miles or for that long. Clearly she’s lying.

    • I wish mine (Suunto) did that. (And maybe it does and I don’t have that feature activated. Lately, I’ve often turned mine off during a quick stop during a training run and forget to turn it back on until a while later. Doh.

    • My Polar M430 does that too. I think it’s a 5 minute cycle – if I pause a workout the watch vibrates every 5 minutes until I either start it back up or hold the button for 3 seconds to end the workout. I coach college runners, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve jogged the warmup with them to wherever they’re doing intervals, paused my workout to time their intervals, then started jogging back to campus with them and I’m a quarter mile from our interval spot and my watch vibrates at me because I for got to start it back up.

    • Why would anyone pause their watch during a race? A training run maybe, but the race clock never stops.

      “Oh, I’m sorry you missed your BQ time by two minutes. What, you stopped at a portajohn and paused your watch so your ‘real’ time was 3 minutes faster. I’m glad you did that, let me correct the official time since it’s wrong”

    • I have sounds turned off for my Garmin so would not notice if I had forgot to unpause, and I have forgot to do that a couple of times during training runs. But I would never pause during a race.

  4. I run far too slow for anyone to ever believe I’d qualify for Boston…. maybe if I had a scooter or something. And my instagram is actually real life (the good, the bad and the ugly), not some made up crap.

  5. Wow! This makes me so mad! I just ran Richmond Marathon and BQ’d. I worked my freaking tail off!!! It’s sad that someone would even consider doing this! Put in the ACTUAL WORK! Thank you Derek for exposing the truth.

  6. This is so sad. My dream is to run a marathon someday. I started doing a run streak but I’m not going to lie & put that I do 5+ miles a day. I started out easy with 1-1.5 miles. If I run a marathon someday, even if I go slow so I can finish it, I will be so proud & post it!

    There is an influencer here in Miami I would love for you to check out @stephiruns – I looked at the race results for the Miami Marathon one year. She said she did the full marathon but it listed on the marathon site that she did the half.

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