Sean “Run Bum” Blanton Under Fire for Altering Results and for Alleged Inappropriate Behavior

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Sean “Run Bum” Blanton is the owner and Race Director of Run Bum Tours. The Run Bum website lists eleven events, including The Georgia Death Race (GDR). On Friday, May 1, Ashley Heclo noticed that her 2016 GDR result was changed to a DNF. She finished the race in a time of 24:05:32. This discovery set off a chain of events over the past week that led to more runners discovering that their results were altered, and brought attention to other claims regarding the behavior of Sean “Run Bum” Blanton.

Criticism of Blanton

Changing the result of a runner for personal issues the race director has with said runner is unconscionable and childish

Craig Thornley, Race Director, Western States

Ashley Heclo was critical of Sean Blanton’s marketing of his races. After prior disagreements with Sean, he banned Ashley from his races. Ashley is also a race director, and when Sean attempted to enter one of her races, she removed him from the race. “If I am not allowed to run his race, trust me it’s mutual”, she wrote.

From Patrick Gallagher:

He brought a race to Florida recently. In the process he made denigrating comments about Florida race directors and how his race was going to be the only truly epic race in Florida. I confronted him about his tone and comments. He blocked me on all social media and banned me from his races.
No worries. I wasn’t interested in running any more of his races.

Brooke McClanahan was critical of Sean’s use of a trail that she says was decommissioned.

On Friday, May 1, Ashley was the first to notice that her result was changed to DNF, by Saturday, the three runners were listed as disqualified.

Ultrasignup.com – Saturday May 9th, 2020

Patrick shared this latest development on Facebook, and the post went viral. Sean’s response was to remove the runners’ results altogether.

Sean posted on The Run Bum Facebook page, initially stating that he would work with the runners to add back in the results if they call him and speak to him.

Facebook – RunBum Tours

Some commentary regarding the above statement:

  • He admits to removing the runners for personal reasons
  • He is justifying DQ’s based on his ‘Don’t Be a Dick’ Rule – basically this means that anyone that is critical of Run Bum risks a disqualification.
  • He used the DQ as a weapon to try to force these runners to speak to him.
  • Brooke initially DNF’d at The 2016 GDR. He changed her from a DNF to a DQ. This only can be described as vindictive and petty.

Eventually UltraSignup stepped in and worked towards reinstating the results. Sean deleted his initial post, and issued a new apology.

By Sunday evening, in addition to the initial three runners, there were two more runners who discovered they were missing results (a total of 5 runners, not 4).

Tom Moseley was removed from the results of the 2016,2019, and 2020 Cloudland Canyon races after he had spoken to Shawn and posted online about a shuttle issue in the 2020 Chattanooga race.

Facebook – March 7

Another runner, whom Sean apparently confused with Tom, found that 2 of his results were changed as well.

Mark, the owner of Ultrasignup, posted that due to this situation they had to change coding on their site to prevent this from happening in the future.

Pikes Peak – Claim of Harassment

You Slapped My Ass So Hard While I was Running That Marathon I Lost My Breath…After Calling Me a 6

Kim Bessler – in a message to Sean Blanton

Sean was a runner at The 2017 Pike’s Peak Marathon. He does not have an official finish time. He was disqualified for starting too early. He started out front, but was not qualified to start in that wave. Even worse, is the exchange below and the story that Kim Bessler tells.

Kim sent Marathon Investigation this statement:

In the mid-summer of 2017, Sean Blanton the owner and race director of Run Bum Tours contacted me via direct message on Instagram. We briefly talked back and forth and followed each other on social media throughout the summer. As August approached, I posted an Instagram story that I would be running the Pikes Peak Marathon in my home state of Colorado (I currently live in Canada). Sean messaged me and asked for my phone number, mentioning he was also running the Pikes Peak Marathon. At this time, I did not know who he was, and I love the ultra-running community, so I thought why not get to know someone with a stoke for running through the mountains. I gave him my phone number. Over the next week or so, I was really taken aback by the amount of texts I received. I was put off by his aggression and incessant bragging about how “epic” he is, so I decided I did not want to meet up in person for dinner the night before the race.

You see, this was a very personal decision. The Pikes Peak Marathon was more than a race for me. It marked six years of sobriety and it was the mountain I would finish the Colorado 14ers on. Colorado has 58 mountains over 14,000 feet and in just under 4 years I climbed them all, leaving only one, Pikes Peak. My intention was to combine my love of running with my love of mountain climbing and run through the turnaround point to the actual summit of Pikes Peak, return to the turnaround point and then finish the race and the 14ers. To understand just how complicated this was to plan: The Pikes Peak Marathon requires running a qualifying marathon within the year, which I did AND I needed to summit Mount Culebra, the only Colorado 14er on private property that requires special privilege and $150 to attempt to summit. I was given permission to climb Culebra the same day as the Pikes Peak marathon registration (which sells out almost immediately). This was a hilarious coincidence and left me on top of a 14,000 foot mountain in the bitter cold winter wind with my credit card shaking between my hands as I pulled just enough cell service from a Verizon tower to complete the registration and assure my spot. So, going into the Pikes Peak marathon was more than a race. It was years of careful planning, a celebration of my strength, independence, and commitment to my health and sobriety.

I did not want to share this with Sean Blanton. I knew exactly what dinner would be like with him. I wanted to sit at Chipotle, alone, and enjoy the silence of my own journey.

When I told Sean that I would pass on dinner he said, “that’s fine, I didn’t want to have dinner with a six anyway.” Meaning – my physical appearance is a 6 out of 10.

This really stung but running and climbing mountains has taught me that my self-worth is not wrapped up in what a man thinks about my outward appearance, so I quickly moved on.

The next morning at the starting line I spotted Sean from a far. I did not want to interact with him, so I ducked into a porta potty and hid until the race started. I was in a wave behind his wave, so I thought I was in the clear. The race started and I felt great. Excitement filled the air as I chugged up, up, up. Once above tree line there is a series of switchbacks until the turnaround point. As I was rounding one of the final switchbacks I heard, “heyyyyyyyy” and I saw Sean coming down the mountain. Before I could say or do anything, he smacked my butt so hard I lost my breath. I was absolutely mortified. How could my special day have escalated to this? Tears filled my eyes as I hit the turnaround point and ran through to summit Pikes Peak and complete the Colorado 14ers.

My friends greeted me at the summit and cheered for me and hugged me as I cried. I knew I had to finish the race and I knew I had to let this go. I knew I was strong enough to remember this day for all the reasons I should. I could not give him the power. I finished the race and Mike Wardian was at the finish line cheering everyone on. He had just run the Leadville 100 the day before. He was all hugs, smiles and support. It was so refreshing and what Sean did began to blend into the background. I placed 4th in my age division and was asked to attend the awards ceremony. At the awards ceremony Sean popped back up and began loudly bragging about the pornography magazines he had in a see-through plastic bag. There were children around. Again, I was mortified and instead of enjoying the party and awards ceremony, I said I was going to the restroom and I left. The texts continued with him insisting he come over to my house. I stopped responding and chose to focus on my accomplishments.

Sadly, this story does not end here. This led to me being blocked on all social media outlets and banned from all his races (which is ironic because I would never feel safe running one of his races). Sadly, this story does not end there. On March 9th of this year, he unblocked me on Instagram in order to aggressively demand I call him so we could talk about what happened. I refused to call or argue with him and he then “apologized” to me through Instagram direct messaging. Several weeks later I was contacted by multiple people explaining to me the severity of the situation and asking if I would speak out. Sean was telling everyone him and I were “good friends.” It was obvious he had manipulated me through a fake apology in order to get me on his side because his actions were catching up and he did not want me talking about this. Sean called me unattractive and put his hands on me in the middle of a race, and why? Because I turned down his advances. I do not want to relive this. But I absolutely will if it prevents one more woman from having to go through something similar.

Sean Blanton uses his position of power and stature as a race director to prey on women in this community. I am not the only one who has gone through this with Sean. This is not a mistake he made. This is a dangerous pattern of behavior which he does not recognize as wrong and should not be tolerated in this community or anywhere else.  

In an earlier phone conversation, Sean told me that he and Kim were friends, and that this situation was resolved.

Kim shared messages between her and Sean. It was clear that nothing was resolved.

In a message to me, Sean denied touching Kim. He messaged me, “She is lying, I never once touched her”.

However in a recent communication with Kim, he acknowledged that maybe it did happen, blaming any actions on the high altitude.

More Questionable Behavior

Tanya Twerdowsky shared her experience with Sean. She says she was banned from any Run Bum races after she repeatedly refused to meet up with Sean. After a mutual friend introduced them online, Tanya described Sean as ‘pushy’ in his attempts to meet her. The more she objected the more aggressive she says Sean was. When she finally said “enough is enough”, she says that Sean banned her from his races, and blocked her on social media.

Facebook – March 7, 2020

I asked Sean about this, and he denied ever banning her or blocking her. A few minutes later, I asked Tanya to confirm that she was blocked and she shared her search results which confirmed that his profile was not visible. Moments later, she was unblocked. However, she says that much of their instant messages were deleted.

Sean refutes Tanya’s account of their communications. He says that their communications are 100% about running and hanging out for a drink. I offered him the opportunity to share the messages he sent her to back up his assertion, but he refused.

It would be easy to dismiss Tanya’s story, but her story is just one of many that have resurfaced over the past week. There are too many complaints to ignore. It should not have taken the altering of results for these stories to be heard and taken seriously. I promised Tanya, and others that if they were brave enough and committed enough to share their stories publicly, that I would do my part by sharing.

2021 GDR Lottery

The below is an excerpt from an email Sean sent regarding the lottery for The 2021 Georgia Death Race (GDR).

RD reserves the right to change this however he pleases and let in folks he likes or has slept with.

Sean messaged me regarding the policy, stating that it was a joke.

That is a joke. Do you know what the Georgia death race is? We literally tell people they are gonna die. We call them pieces of shit. We have signs along the course that day one mile til aid ststion then it’s 3 more miles. The lottery we have to have is a big deal. One year someone bitched becusee I let a long time volunteer in. So I had to make rules for it. You should see the live lottery we do. We sit and drink while I call names and tell each person man and women how they won’t finish or they suck.

It would be easier to dismiss this as an (inappropriate) joke if it did not so closely mirror the stories of those like Tanya and the runners that have posted about being banned from Run Bum events over disagreements or criticisms of Sean Blanton.

He posted this photo across his social media, and he sent it to me in a direct message. He has not righted any wrongs, and any ‘apologies’ have since been deleted.

Backlash

Western States

The top two (2) female and top two (2) male finishers in each individual race in the HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket Races will automatically qualify for entry into the 2020 Western States 100 event. In the case that the first, or second place participant is already in Western States (or decides to opt out), the automatic bid will slide to third place, fourth place, and subsequently down to fifth place as needed (no places below fifth will be accepted). Winners will receive their invitation via email and have two weeks from the qualifying race to complete the registration, including paying the entry fee.

GDR was listed as a Western States Golden Ticket Race. Before the COVID-19 crisis, there were only 5 races that serve as HOKA ONE ONE Western States Golden Ticket Races:

We just announced our 2021 HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket Races and it does not include GDR, and won’t in the future.

Craig Thornley, Race Director, Western States in email to Brooke McClanahan

I followed up with Craig and he confirmed that while GDR is no longer a HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket race, it still will serve as a Western States qualifier.

East Coast Ultra Podcast

Sean was co-host on The East Coast Ultra Podcast. Late last week, the website for the Podcast went dark. Previous episodes are unavailable on most of the platforms.

Summary

In reading through hundreds of comments, there are some asking what the big deal is about changing results from 4 year old races? “Who checks their Ultrasignup results from that far back?” I went back and forth on whether this article was necessary. Ultimately, as more stories came out, I felt it was important to put this story together. It was important to do my part to make sure the runners and those that feel they were wronged to be heard as loudly as possible.

  • Integrity – The issues surrounding Run Bum Tours and Sean Blanton are numerous. Integrity – If a race director shows that they will disqualify or remove runners based on issues unrelated to the race itself, it shows a distinct lack of concern over result integrity. What other reasons might he use to justify the altering of results? I also have confirmed that Sean bandited a charity race.
  • Response to complaints or concerns – Sean’s standard response to complaints is to attack the person complaining and delete the criticisms. He says he is removing the negativity. There are many examples I just could not fit into the article. He has shared private criticisms publicly relating to at least two of the runners that were affected by the altering of results.
  • Claims of Inappropriate Behavior – I only provided two examples of inappropriate behavior that were voiced against Sean. There were other specific allegations brought forward through social media

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155 COMMENTS

  1. It is really hard to put into words just how difficult this entire situation is. Without serious repercussion the cycle of bullying and misconduct towards men and women in this sport will continue. Thank you for putting this article together. I hope many people see it and hold Sean responsible for his actions. At the least, I hope this puts him under a microscope and forces him to look at his behavior up close. Tampering with race results, taking away someone’s hard earned finish 4 years later – that would be like someone paying a University to earn a college degree and then 4 years later the University taking it back because they had a scuffle with one of the professors. Runners pay the race director and ultra signup to preserve race results. How anyone could not see this for what it is, is beyond me.

  2. After so many years this has finally been brought to light!

    There are so many actions beyond this article that need more attention. Sexual Harrassment and Assault, these must be Prosecuted. The IRS has got to look in to this individual as well reguarding tax evasion.

    More concerns will surface as a result of this article.

  3. I agree that this was a valuable article to write. You presented it fairly. These races are so expensive and require big commitments. People deserve to know about unprofessional and/or predatory behavior from the RD. Hopefully Sean continues to try to make amends and grow from this. He should feel very lucky he was never charged with assault.

  4. This seems very tawdry, from start to finish. I was saddened to learn about this bickery mess.
    I’ve never run an ultra-marathon, but I’d be really upset if my legitimate achievement was DQed.

    1) On another note, Derek, I’d love for you to do some more podcasts.

    2) Also, I’d love for you to do some interviews with Race Directors about the current state of road racing going forward. I must say, I think it’s very reckless for directors to keep 2020 races on the books, urging runners to train, with there clearly being no possible way they can happen. This goes for all sports (where competitors and fans gather in close proximity).

    3) Virtual Racing, maybe there’s some interesting stuff there to report on? I’m sure there are some people out there taking advantage of Virtual Racing entry fees that need some investigating.

    My 2 cents.
    Thanks Derek,

    To all: Don’t just ‘be safe’ everyone, be careful not to spread this virus any further.

    • I can assure you that the subject of the article is a rare exception in the ultra-running community. Throughout my life, I have competed from 100m dash to ultras and every distance in between. I ran my first ultra in 2007, and I fell in love with the ultra running community for the right reasons. The majority of ultra runners, even the elite ultra runners, are down to earth and unselfish. The ultrarunning community is like an unofficial fraternity. It’s not uncommon for ultrarunners to open their houses to another fellow ultrarunner, even if they never met before. A couple of times, a local ultra runner or volunteer let me and other fellow ultra runners stay at their house overnight. Once, I was trusted with house keys by a race volunteer, while I was traveling to ultra in Boston. She told me where to leave the key once I leave for good since she was not going to be home. The majority of ultra RDs organize ultras not for the money but the love of the sport and community.

      However, like with any other large-size communities, you will run into bad apples here and there.

    • There’s a counterpoint to this. It’s that all races and race directors are different and situated differently. Make sure the race cannot happen before you criticize these RD’s. As an RD I am in constant contact with my regulating agencies and repeatedly asking them to tell me if they determine my event cannot proceed. Until they can do that I am acting as if they can. Keep in mine, we also have a generous deferral policy – one year for any race we put on, for any reason or no reason, Which means if you as a racer need to know you can always defer. I agree he should do more podcasts!!! 😉

  5. Thank you for your investigation! I have made a donation in honor of all women that were assaulted physically and mentally by this RD.

  6. Thank you for putting this out there even more than it already has. I have been following this. As a woman, I’m especially grateful you included the sexual harassment in this article. I donated for the first time to your site for this reason.

  7. Really appreciate you sharing the comments from women. I know this website isn’t about that, but it’s become a trusted source for commentary. I (and I think a lot of others) feel like the harassment comments weren’t taken seriously, and I am grateful they were not ignored here. Donated.

  8. Thanks for this article, I have run quite a few of Sean’s races and I really love them, and used to enjoy Sean. When this first came out I thought it was beef between two prideful RDs, as I saw Seans original posts about wild florida, and the flood of negativity he received from a number of people, who just took every opportunity to drag and antagonize him, because they didn’t like him. As much as I didn’t like the initial behavior by the originators, I now see that it allowed others to come forward with serious accusations that I believe. I had high hopes that Sean would take a minute and really read and take to heart the harassment posts, and have a come to jesus moment and give a heartfelt apology, without any caveats, but that didn’t happen and those complaints were ignored and disregarded. That broke my heart for those who were subject to harassment and assault, and it broke my heart for Sean because I knew this was probably the beginning of the end, due to ego standing in the way of growth.

    This is a sad situation all together.

  9. People have been complaining about him for a long time. Thanks to those who told their stories and to you for publishing them. Until he makes sincere amends, there should be no place for him in the ultra community. As long as he is the RD, I won’t run GDR (or any of his races), Western States qualifier or not. Western States really should sever ties all together with him. I also donated to your site for the first time because of this article, particularly because you included the (very credible) sexual harassment allegations. Well done.

  10. It’s great that there are enough people out there finally coming forward. I’m so thankful to Brook for taking a stand and helping to hopefully get Sean on track or OUT of the sport completely.

    Sean made (inappropriate) advances at me before the first GA Death Race as well. He invited me to his house and made it sound like he was sick and was lonely/wasn’t taken care of. It turns out he lives with his mom and was just fine. I have since tried to mostly avoid him and his races because of his behavior. He publicly retaliates online by blocking people and changing results. I also have some race results that are very wrong as a result of him.

    • Whoever you are, I am truly sorry this happened to you. It is a violation of your trust in paying a RD to preserve your results and a violation to your kindness as a woman. You did nothing wrong and you are heard and believed.

  11. Yes to all of this! I know him and he was on my social media. He tried to chat me up a couple of times. Asking me to run one of his races and being flirty (never mind that I’m married)My husband and I had a good laugh about it. I never ran any of his races. Half the guys posts were so dramatic and attempting seeking I unfriended him. I didn’t want to read his stuff nor did I want him to know anything about me!

    One day I was running the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon with my sister. We turned on to a city street and there he was standing on the side of the road as a spectator. (I doubt he knew who I was so I don’t think his performance for for me but likely for all of us to enjoy). He really dramatically pulled his shirt off (Thanksgiving. It was cold) and scream. IT’S SO ****ING HOT. We passed him and I told my sister who he was so she could put a face with the name and avoid his races. She agreed he seemed like a loser.

  12. Hey may be an asshole, and he might have changed results, but easy there on ruining a man’s reputation based solely on accusations alone of sexual misconduct. There are two sides to every story. I think those screenshots may have been edited. And one of your sources has written outlandish posts about hating men. The key word here in this entire story is “alleged”. One cannot easily recover from these types of allegations, so I would implore you to do more diligent digging next time into the character and integrity of your sources before so confidently ruining someone’s life.

    • You should read through these comments – and comments in other various posts – is everyone lying? Are all these women accounting their experiences of sexual misconduct lying? Every single one of them? Really?

    • Hi Anonymous!

      #1 – It’s not illegal to sue for slander, and I bet I would if I wrongfully accused, and my livelihood and name were on the line. And when you do, you can subpoena cellphone records to prove or disprove that the screenshots were doctored, and clear his name. By coming forward, women in this article have little to gain monetary, but a lot more to lose if the allegations were doctored.
      #2 – he can clear his name and prove that the screenshots were doctored by offering screenshots from his phone, even if he does not pursue legal action. Again, if I was in his shoes, that’s the first thing I would do, if I noticed that screenshots were doctored, and clear his name
      #3 – I read the Facebook post that Derek used as one of the sources to start his investigation. As Derek even mentioned in this article, there are a lot more examples he could have picked from for his article, and those are the women who are willing to come forward.

    • I just wanr to make a statement. He has caused enough division in our Sport so I do not want to argue.

      He was given multiple opportunities to give his side of the story to MI. He did not use this opportunity and instead sent childish Tiger King memes to the writer.

      For years he has been given the chance to explain and correct his bizzare and illegal actions. I would like for this to happen. Instead anyobe that ever said something to him was punished. Banned, blocked, comments deleted. The coice of so many silenced.

      I assure you the stories here (and many others) are factual. There are many individuals that do not want their name associated to him.

    • Two sides to every story… But belittle the written accounts of these women, suggest the photos taken of his comments are doctored without anything to back that up, and you’re ready to hurt one of these women’s reputations by suggesting she’s just a man-hater without giving anything of evidence to show that. You’d rather imply that what she says is worthless, but the reputation of Sean is worth preserving because, why? And by implying that one of these women are untrustworthy without saying who or what they said, you leave it open that any one of them could be untrustworthy, implicating all of these women are untrustworthy.

      Sean “ruined” his own reputation by his own actions that hurt other people. Your broad accusations are weak, lack any foundation. You doubt his actions of sexual harassment and assault based on what? That women just don’t understand how things work?

  13. Don’t doubt that this story was important to bring to the fore — people who abuse power like to hide in the recesses of being “irrelevant” or “small time” abusers. It’s not really about the race or the results; this is about abuse of power, and the type of world in which we live. Personally, I don’t want to stand for a world, or running community, where women feel compelled to kowtow to abuse and harassment simply to participate, and follow their passion.

    Thank you, so much, for putting this in the spotlight. Sean Blanton, you’re a scumbag.

  14. Thanks for your work here. I donated for the first time in honor of the Kims out there looking for an outlet for their stories. I hope this guy faces some real consequences soon.

  15. Thanks for all the investigation you do for the sport. I first read about your investigation into cheating to get into Boston.
    Now this. A picture is worth a thousand words. Anyone who would bandit a charity race is a piece of….
    I’m 66 years old and I have seen and heard so many men say “oh it’s just a joke, I was trying to be funny”. And then it happens again as if he is saying look at what I can get away with as he insults or assault another person
    Keep up the good work
    Help keep our sport clean

  16. I think it’s shocking his behavior towards women has taken this long to be called out. I ran part of a race around him at Gorge Waterfalls a few years back. I was running with another gal and talking about goals. I mentioned that I wanted to build up to qualifying for Western and Cascade Crest and RunBum interjected that he would put me and my friend in the results of his races in exchange for sexual favors. He continued to make comments veiling them as “jokes” until I complained to my then boyfriend at the next aid station and he was confronted. He made a comment about us not taking a joke. I was not happy. I let him get up the trail and waited several minutes for another friend so I didn’t have to run into him again. He “apologized” when I got to the finish line, still blaming my not understanding his humor. I emailed the race director for Gorge about his behavior and never got a response. I won’t run Gorge anymore or any RunBum Tour. Any event that condones this behavior is off my list.

    • This is AWFUL. A female racer is sexually harassed mid race by a male racer and openly voices it is making her uncomfortable, and then waits at an aid station in order to not have to run into the male racer again, and then at the finish line is gaslighted into thinking it’s her fault for not taking a joke, reports it to the RD and is ignored! Shouldn’t there be a governing body that intervened. He should have been DQd for doing this to this poor woman!

      • You’re right; Blanton *should* have been DQ’d and banned, or at very least confronted by the RD of the Gorge race (James Varner), but Varner has long been buddy-buddy with Sean, letting him run races for free and/or flat out bandit races without a bib. Sean has a long history of shady behavior at Rainshadow events that Varner always downplayed and never wanted to address. Beyond unacceptable that someone sent an email about straight-up harrassment during a trail race and the RD ignored it.

        • G

          You are correct I have been friends with Sean for a long time(ever since meeting him while we were both running in a 50k race). And you are right that I have either downplayed or ignored some of his actions. I, like many people that have known Sean for a long time, know him to be pretty rough around the edges in general and at times he’s gone too far with things he’s said or done. But those of us that have known him for a long time also know he’s capable of being a good person and has done many good things for our sport, for his community and for some individuals. How to reconcile that with the new information is tough.

          I did not know about this particular occurrence from our Gorge Waterfalls race and the following complaint from Cascadetrailrungirl. And that is my fault as the owner of this company. It’s definitely something I would have done something about. And I also did not know what he did to Kim or any of these other serious allegations.

          Sean needs help. It seems obvious now with all of these stories coming out that he’s been totally out of line and it goes way beyond the “jokes” and the “F*** ’em if they don’t like it but I’m not gonna be PC” attitude that he’s been known for. I admit I tried to see the best in him and I didn’t think that what we saw on the surface was hiding something worse underneath. I still believe as I told one of our mutual friends recently, that I think he has “a good heart” he just needs to own up to his mistakes, he needs to change is his behavior and he needs to be more self-aware and sensitive to others. And I know that I’m partly at fault for not seeing more clearly what was going on and for not acting on it.

          • James, I think this is one of the most honest and real responses and I feel your confusion and vulnerability in all of this. You have a friend, who you have seen the good in, but a friend who has also hurt a lot of people. Personally, I appreciate this honest post and I teared up reading it. And despite being hurt by Sean, time and time again – I only want good to come from all of this. Some sort of policy change and my deepest hope that he can dig a little deeper and see clearly that there is a big difference between, rough around the edges and crossing the line into bullying and abuse.

    • This is sad. I wonder if he’s ever had a relationship with a woman. In my experience a lot of men that act this way haven’t. He’s not even remotely attractive. What a gross human being.

    • Cascadestrailrungirl,

      Really sorry you never got a response from us and really sorry you and other runners had to endure this kind of treatment from him. I don’t recall ever seeing an email or hearing anything about this, not saying though that that is your fault, it must have gotten lost in our inbox. We definitely would not have ignored you. Sean’s behavior is unacceptable. I just went to remove his result from the race but it looks as though all of his results have been removed from UltraSignup.

      Please reach out to me directly at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss this further

      James Varner
      Rainshadow Running

    • I’m so sorry!

      Where’s the joke in offering to do something for a sexual favor? There’s no word play, no pun, not even a movie reference. It’s literally the definition of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.

  17. I was banned for life, blocked, and DQed from a Blanton race because I criticized his decision to not tell us he was reversing the start and end points of a point-to-point race until 3 days before the race. He stole my entry fee, too…and ultrasignup has no facility for getting a refund except thru word of (a wholely and completely unethical) RD.

    Thanks for getting (part of) the word out about this predator.

  18. Thank you for your article. This is serious and this man needs to be held accountable. I will never participate in any race that he is the RD for and he should lose all business as an RD. I will donate to this site. Keep up the honest reports. At some point, it would be wonderful to report on the numbers of people who experienced sexual assault or predatory behavior and the number of people whose race times were changed. I know it is not possible to share every event that occurred but I think the quantity of inappropriate behavior is very valuable for readers and for action to be taken to remove this person from the role of Race Director.

  19. Thanks for getting this publicized. Hopefully the stories being told will protect other women from him in the future.

  20. Sean Blanton is a bad man. He is a narcissist and sexual predator with no regard for the rights or feelings of anyone in his small little world-he shows no remorse for any of his wrongdoings. He preys on young women and those who are vulnerable. He is a liar, a cheater, and a thief and his time is up.

  21. I miss George Carlin… but he would never survive in today’s climate.
    Remember the 70-year old guy who offed himself after mob-mentality and shaming? Yeah… I’ll leave it at that.

    • The climate is “don’t harass people”. If you disagree with that, happy to see you take the bench in our sport.

    • Today’s climate – you mean where women ask not to be harassed while they are running a race they trained hard for. The audacity.

    • I miss George Carlin, too — his name doesn’t belong anywhere near “Run Bum” just because he used crude words (at the time) but wasn’t targeting or solicitous.
      Run Bum is more of a manipulative creep like Louis CK.

      Run Bums pattern of ‘negging’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negging) is part the manipulative behaviour. So, too, is bouncing between ‘shirtless tattooed badass’ or ‘sensitive rainbows/cares about trails’ depending on the situation.

      I would not like to see a terrible fate for him. Just listen, man, and own it. Don’t push it aside as a ‘joke.’
      Don’t offer hollow apologies with conditions that people retract allegations or comments about you. Don’t delete criticism. You’ve been a jerk, but life is long and people can change. So do it. Honestly. This stuff isn’t going to be funny or cool in your 40s/50s/60s anyway, so why not shape up/grow up now?

      • This. Yes this. All of this. I’m actually a pretty fun girl who also has a potty mouth. I know how to take a joke – the problem is, nothing sean did to me was funny.

  22. Thank you so much for shedding light on this situation. I just donated for the first time and because I just love Kim so much and her vulnerability to share her story.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this. It will help people who haven’t understood the enormity of Sean’s wrongdoing. Prior to this, I had already made the decision to boycott his races, after he fully revealed his sexism and misogyny to me.
    A few months ago, he allowed a post on his East Coast Trail and Ultra Facebook group with a “joke” about stalking a female runner. I wrote in the comments that violence against women is not funny, and that by allowing this post, he was promoting rape culture. Another woman backed me up. Sean then deleted both of our comments, defended the post and allowed comments from men saying they found this atrocious meme funny.
    We as a running community cannot keep allowing sexist behavior under the guise of “harmless” bro culture. We have to listen to the many women who have come forward with complaints about Sean.

  24. I’ve had many women as running partners over the years – their trail banter is usually earthier and without the ego of most male runners. Sadly, almost everyone has had some experience of harassment while running and named other men with whom they would not run. Anecdotally, more of that seemed to occur on the roads than on the trails, but not exclusively. Weeding out the narcissistic misogynists is an important endeavor. The women need to tell their stories. The men need to back them up. The men need to speak up when they observe offensive behavior.
    While I’m glad Sean is seeing repercussions for his terrible behavior, it’s sad that it took a male RD calling out another male RD on unethical behavior over results for the pattern of mistreatment of women to come to light and be taken seriously.
    Thank you for telling this story. I’m sure it’s still evolving and hope there are periodic updates. I’ve donated for the first time today in honor of all the Kims out there.

    • Thanks Marty! Serisouly. Thank you. I have been in sobbing tears today. I think it all really hit me. I can’t thank you enough for donating to Derek – he really did an amazing thing putting his own ass out there to give women a voice. So thank you. It means more than you know to have the support of men in this community.

  25. I read the article this morning. After letting it swirl around in my head all day some thoughts kept me awake as I tried to fall asleep tonight.

    As a middle school teacher, I get to witness and observe human behavior.
    Some people are quirky and odd. Some people pick up social cues and some don’t as easily. Some people will do whatever it takes to fit in. I see the vicious behavior towards those who choose not to fit in. I see the bullying and mob like mentality directed at individuals. Members of the mob are just happy it is not they who are the target.

    When did public shaming become acceptable and encouraged in our culture? The thirst and desire for such content is akin to the blood lust created by ancient Gladiatorial events. What is the real intent?

    We are all human, we all make mistakes. I’m sure if all of our lives were probed in some way there would be grounds for some sort of public criticism. What does publicly raking someone over the coals and encouraging hateful comments accomplish or prove? For me, reading such negativity and subjectiveness makes me self reflect. What are things I can do to be a better person, and how can I not contribute to cycles of negative energy.

    I have had pleasant exchanges with Sean over the years. I view him as someone who chooses not to fit in and do not fault him for it. In no way can sexual harassment be condoned, the allegations made should be taken seriously. I’m commenting on the patterns of behavior I see. The same behaviors exhibited from middle schoolers with developing brains, I see being exhibited from adults behind a keyboard. When confronted with articles that intend to shame and humiliate we should ask ourselves if we are joining the mob or choosing to think as an individual?

    • Can’t say that I get the point of your message or is it merely a question to ponder? This guy isn’t being publicly shamed or bullied (although comments about his appearance may tend in that direction). He is merely being held accountable for his actions now that have (finally) been brought to light. I also see a group that is supporting those who have been harmed by him. How do you propose he should be accountable for his actions?

      • If someone commits a crime or inappropriate behavior, I believe in due process. No one should get to be judge, jury and executioner. Especially this for profit website run by someone with a business background. He is making a profit off of slamming people online, this fact should be highlighted and condemned. Also the mob behavior it encourages by way of attacks on every aspect of individuals lives. In no way do I support harassment or inappropriate behavior in our society and think violators should be held accountable. Slandering people on this for profit site is not a democratic or moral way to hold someone accountable for their actions. I appreciate investigative journalism but view this site as more equivalent with a tabloid. We should all think about our news sources and how we choose to digest information. I am interested in human patterns of behavior and see the way people react and how nasty they can become. The way people react to articles on this site is humanity at its worst.

        • Which parts of the article amount to slander? In order to be slander, the allegations need to be false. And tabloid? I’m comfortable in saying that this site is more fair and accurate than most mainstream media outlets. And you still haven’t answered the question: How should he be held accountable? If you’re talking about due process through some court or administrative proceeding, I think we can all agree that that isn’t realistic in cases such as this. And if you’re interested in human patterns of behavior, why not focus that energy on how Sean has reacted and how nasty he behaves? It’s his behavior that seems to be humanity at its worst. And the “mob behavior” that you mention is simply a natural consequence. I’ll go one step further and say that the “mob mentality”, fortunately or not, is necessary in cases like this to address and eliminate behavior such as Sean’s.

        • Hi Billy. I will attempt to address some of what you said in your comments – here and elsewhere.

          1. You have repeatedly mentioned that this is a for profit website in attempting to discredit. I do not feel that is a reasonable criticism. What website or news source do you follow that is not for profit? Are you getting all your news from PBS, or NPR. Even then, the writers are paid.

          2. You used the term ‘slander’. Who have I slandered? You stated that you believe the women and that you aren’t defending Sean’s actions and that such behavior should not be tolerated. I too wish that the complaints of such behavior was addressed earlier. I agree, I shouldn’t have had to be the one to force the issue. But the complaints fell on deaf ears and these women were not heard.

          3. Elsewhere you wrote about me not working full time after you listened to my podcast with Scott. As I recall, I was laid off days Before that interview from the company I was with for 12 years. In currently employed (on furlough) and have been for all but 6 months total since that conversation.

          It seems that your issue isn’t with the information I posted, but with the fact that I am the one that posted it. Am I misinterpreting?

          • Derek,

            In an ideal world, people are getting news from a variety of different outlets that have a trustworthy fact checking system in place. When one person has the power to ignite others anger and encourage hate, this seems unethical to me. I think the question should be raised. My comments were not addressing any particular allegations, my concern is in the format of and outcomes caused by your website. I am very happy that you have a job. If stopping cheating in running events is a big passion of yours, why not think of a more positive way to prevent? Maybe use your skills to develop a timing system with fewer loopholes. There are lots of positive options to think about. It was in your mind back in the interview with Scott that someone could possibly be driven to suicide from the backlash from one of your articles. Then it happened. The way you conduct your website did not change, still getting paid to stoke up anger in others. I want people to think twice before supporting such behavior.

          • Think about what you are saying. You are putting Frank’s death squarely at my feet. That’s a much weightier accusation than anything I have ever levied against anyone.

            Frank’s death has affected me deeply, and much has changed in my approach. I take my time as stories are developing. Notice I didn’t rush to throw up an article a week ago to ‘break’ the story.

            https://www.marathoninvestigation.com/2019/08/a-look-back-and-moving-forward-the-future-of-marathon-investigation.html

          • Derek, You are not responsible for the feelings/thoughts/ actions of others. To write articles in a sensational manner and then put your head in the sand, knowing what you write will get big emotional reactions from people seems reckless. There has to be better ways to hold people accountable, I don’t have the answer, but we should all be thinking of solutions. It seems like you have become the governing body for matters which you choose to cover. I think it is important to debate this topic in a rational and non emotional way. I can see your point of view that you are just writing articles about topics you are passionate about. But to disregard and not take accountability for all of the ugliness that comes out those articles is irresponsible.

          • I imagine that Billy is no longer monitoring this comment section, but Derek, I just want to reiterate (as plenty of others have) that the running community does not blame you *at all* for Frank’s death. It’s awful that it’s affected you and your blog this much. There was nothing bullying, malicious, or gratuitous about your report — plus, you’ve always given runners a chance to explain themselves before posting publicly.

            I’ve been in races in which people have cheated and not been held accountable. I’ve been bumped from second to third. It doesn’t feel great. If wanting to hold people responsible for cheating is bullying, then call me a bully.

    • I too am a middle school teacher. Sean’s documented responses in social media and his unwillingness to truthfully respond to Derek’s investigative probe warrant the appropriate responses. It takes people getting mad to have the fortitude to stand up for themselves and speak their truth against those in power. What’s far more insidious and vile are those that make the conscious decision to stay quiet at best and at worst continue to support the abuser. I see brave middle school girls that stand up to abuse daily, when they stand together they are unstoppable. Quite frankly, we need more of that energy, all the time.

    • No one objects in this manner to positive news. If Blanton was the salt of the Earth, volunteered on weekends, donated most of his RD fee… and a story was written about him that drove runners to his races, other RDs wouldn’t complain he got free positive publicity. People usually like it when good works are recognized and rewarded.

      But he acted badly, professionally and personally (within the realm and community of his chosen profession). We may lament the fact that bad works draw more attention than good works, but there are still consequences to those actions.

      So is he being driven out of the ultra community? Time will tell. Is that just? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Ultimately, the one with the power isn’t the mob, but Blanton himself. People’s capacity for forgiveness is immense. Their tolerance for BS, on the other hand, is tiny. We shall see if this man is an overgrown middle schooler, or an adult, soon enough.

    • the dude from Born to Run? nice to meet you.

      your thoughts are kind of interesting and I find that my mind goes to similar abstract reflections. and I agree that your musings are interesting! but I do think you should get some perspective. blanton is not being raked over the coals. this story is JUST breaking (though it was simmering for a while). we are far from beating a dead horse and far from treating this man unfairly.

      we need to hold men accountable, protect women, and quash sexual violence from our culture (to the best that we possibly can!). I don’t see how we can do that other than have people call others out on their shit. I know this means that hypocrites will get on their high horse and pile it on. I know that men with toxic behaviors can change and all humans deserve forgiveness and grace. but if we’re going to forgive someone, first it needs to be established that they did something wrong to begin with. right? otherwise there would be no acknowledgment of wrongdoing and people who just keep on doing their shit. so I say call them out. the pros will outweight the cons in the end. “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”

      • Hi Tim, I appreciate your thoughts and agree with you. I highly agree with “we need to hold men accountable, protect women, and quash sexual violence from our culture.” My reason for commenting to begin with was to raise the question of what is the appropriate way to hold someone accountable? Eye for an eye? I think there are better ways to hold someone accountable in a first world country with a well established justice system. After hearing about Frank Meza’s suicide, I cannot help to think something is horribly wrong with a website that profits off of the public humiliation of people, who may or may not have made mistakes.

        • hey there,

          you do bring up some interesting questions. is it unethical for this site to accept donations? it does cost money to have a domain, not to mention the many hours of work the author puts in. so how much does he make and what qualifies as actual ‘profit’ vs just revenue? is it ever fair to blame someone for another person’s suicide?
          maybe the biggest question i have when reading your responses – what should the justice process look like if not like this? i don’t buy the whole ‘go through the courts of law’ answer because we all know that bullies and assholes can run rampant in our society without flagrantly breaking laws and it costs a lot of money to take someone to court. i think you probably don’t have a clear answer, and I get that because it’s a tough question, but I think right now it sounds like you’re telling us that this site / process should be shut down and that doesn’t give victims of abuse any real options.

    • Hi Billy, I am the women who had interactions with Sean during the Pikes Peak Marathon. I cannot speak for others who have chimed in on this, I can only speak for myself. There is no room in this sport for bullying, race tampering, and sexual misconduct against women. I care nothing about “sides” or “ruining someone’s life.” I only care that no future woman is subjected to what I was. Running long distances saved my life, it is my safe haven and Sean took that from me. I’m happy that some have had great interactions with him but some have not. I encourage you to dig a little deeper. Maybe talk to some people who have been victims of his behavior. Maybe see what his actions did to their lives. I am a strong believer that people can improve themselves but in order to do so – you have to be self aware. Sean has every right to say, “I just speak my mind – it’s all just a joke,” and the ultra running community has every right to stand up and say, “no it’s not.”

    • The negativity Billy Barnett should be referring to is the harm run bum has inflicted on numerous people’s lives with the way he has chosen to treat them.

      Understandably people make mistakes. People also need to learn from those mistakes. With the number of stories coming out, it’s evident run bum thought there were no repercussions for his actions. Billy Barnett chooses to sweep this under the rug with his comments because he’s met run bum and he’s a nice guy. In this way he dismisses all the stories and inappropriate behavior to say essentially “boys will be boys”. Our sport isn’t putting up with this attitude any longer.

      And one more thing, the dragging of a “mob” by Billy is code for “let us keep our secrets secret”. The message you portray lets people in all walks of life get away with misdeeds and hopefully you recognize this to truly be a benefit to our community.

      • Hello, it doesn’t appear that you read any of my comments. I have never met Sean in person and I am in no way trying to defend him. I believe all accusations should be taken seriously and there is no room in society for such behaviors. What I am asking people to think about is what is an appropriate and ethical way to hold someone accountable? Do more people have to commit suicide over trial by online publication, without due process for us to realize this isn’t a positive reflection of ourselves as a community?

        • Billy Barnett: “I have had pleasant exchanges with Sean over the years.”

          Not sure why you’ve chosen to now say that you didn’t say that in your very first comment.

          You don’t realize this but you are allowing people to get away with repeated misdeeds in society by claiming women and men shouldn’t be allowed the online forum to report what has happened to them. The “trial” you are talking about is women’s reports of harassment.

          • Exchanges don’t have to be in person? Perhaps he knows him thru social media like some many of you also only know him thru social media?

  26. I never met the guy nor have ran any of his races but if more people woman keep saying he sexually harassed them or what ever you want to call it it often time the person did it. It sounds like he has an Ego problem just let things go dude. It would be sad to see the GDR not be a thing anymore if it comes to that. He should step away and let someone else RD IMO so he can work on himself. That what should happen IMO. However some has to hit bottom and want to change there ways.

  27. This RD lacks integrity professionally and personally. Thank you for bringing this to light, so we are equipped to make better decisions on the races we choose to enter.

  28. All of this whining about Sean deleted negative comments…. He can delete whatever comments he wants from his FB page.

    All of this whining about his blocking you from signing up for his races.. as a business owner, Sean can deny service to anyone he wants. Just so long as he’s not doing so as a discriminatory action based on race, religion, gender, etc.

    People need to harden up and realize that life isn’t fair. Sean doesn’t like you either and it’s his right to deny his services to you.

    Now… I’m not defending him. The guy definitely went way too far, harassing BOTH women AND MEN. < anyone see this? In Patrick’s post, other men are also coming forward with stories of sexual harassment. Do the men’s stories count too? Or just the women’s? Or does the men’s stories not count because there was an axe to grind there too?

    Some comments in this thread talk about the “community” of ultrarunning. That community is on full display.. as one that is vindictive, and trial by public opinion. No doubt that what Sean has done is wrong, unprofessional, bullying, misogynistic, and whatever other catch word of the day you all like to use… at the end of the day, are you going to press charges or no? If it’s no, then MOVE ON.

    • Obviously Joan is aware that Run Bum can do whatever he wants with his business, just like people he has abused can speak to whoever they like about what he has done.

      Our country is free, but not free from repercussions. Harassing women constantly is not tolerated in our community. Joan calls this vindictive, but the rest of us call it keeping our sport clean and open for all.

    • yeah, it’s well within Blanton’s rights to deny entry to races, delete FB comments, etc. etc. but when he does so he’s being a petty child, a bully, a misogynist, and an all-around douche. people are free to broadcast his behaviors so that others are aware. do you disagree?

  29. All of this whining about being blocked on his FB page, and deleted comments. Sean is free to block anyone from his FB page that he wants, and he is also free to delete any comments that he wants, from his company’s Facebook Page. Get over it.

    All of this whining about him blocking you from signing up for his races. Are you really that butt hurt? Sean, as a business owner, can accept or deny service to anyone he wants. Just so long as his denial of service is not for discriminatory reasons based on gender, age, religion, disability, etc. Did he block you from signing up for his races? Quit whining about it and move on.

    Anyone else notice that MEN have also come forward with stories of sexual harassment, and sexual abuse? Or does only the women’s stories matter? Go back to Patrick’s Facebook post and read some of the other accounts. Do those accounts from men also matter? Or do they not matter because they’re men and you also have an axe to grind against them?

    It’s really sad that this is what it’s come to. All of this talk about the “ultra community” and all I see.. is a community of people content on lynching anyone who hurts their feelings. I thought ultrarunning was for the gritty? Looks like it’s become a sport for entitled babies. Who stomp their feet and make a spectacle out of anyone who tells them they’re no longer welcome to run somewhere. I’m not defending Sean, but he’s not the only one who needs to grow up.

    Now, having read this investigation, and the posts on Patrick’s page, Sean is indeed an asshole. He has work to do. He has amends to make. But is ruining someone else’s livelihood the way to get your message across? Is it really the most effective? Or did you just bully the bully?

    • The posts of Joan and Joe S are eerily similar and misguided. Really makes you wonder where they’re coming from . . .

    • Do you think with out real consequence, Sean will examine his behavior? Because he hasn’t in the past and it appears he still isn’t. So many people have come forward with statements about there experiences with him. Is everyone lying? Is everyone an untough baby? Or is there a real and dangerous pattern of behavior on Seans end that should be examined and brought to light?

      • Philosophically, epistemologically speaking, what is consequence? And what determines real consequence vs not real consequence? How are truth and lies validated? If everyone says the same thing, is that a true determination of validity? Historically, many claims of truth were supported by the premise “everyone is saying the same thing.”

        If a person’s behavior isn’t observably changing, can it truly be determined that there is no change? Philosophically, ethically speaking, whose authority is it to change someone? And is this authority an equal opportunity position, arbitrarily assigned, or pre-determined based on existing circumstances?

        If a person has a history of repeated behaviors that are real and dangerous patterns, should not the lens of inquiry be on not only the subject, as it appears they already have been and are, but also on the methods of behavioral change?

        Sociologically, embarrassment can be a societal sanction but the efficacy should be in question. Does not a child learn from being taught what to do? This is not to stay that actions are void of consequences, but the consequences must be full in scope and encompass true social behavioral changes. This raison d’être involves education, emotional intelligence, societal norms, patience, and many other variables.

        If historically, embarrassment has produced little to no observable change, then it should be reasonably concluded that this may not be the best approach. A core of individual change, involves the individual wanting to change. If the motives of others are to embarrass, they highly risk permanently damaging any means of influence to motivate as they disenfranchise themselves from being able to produce means of positive change in the attacker.

        The situation of harassment is troubling and difficult among many levels; especially, from the viewpoint of the victim. There is a limited means of right, just, and validity concerning how to handle the well being of the victim, the society, and the attacker. Yet, if emotional intelligence is regarded highly and there is a well founded telos, there is a good start.

  30. Helco, Gallagher, McClanahan, Moseley all banned from Blanton’s events due to dispute with Blanton. Blanton issues a public statement asking for resolve. IF conversation, Then results reinstated.

    Maybe not the best execution, but there is at least a dialogue between the parties. Confrontation can be a rough sea to sail because of the emotional egoism of the parties involved and their reluctance to compromise. Preliminary discussion is usually debate not dialectical. But let’s also make aware that Blanton nor the other parties did anything wrong. They were both exercising their opinions. Blanton didn’t hack the Ultrasign Up system; he utilized a feature that Ultrasign Up allowed.

    After Ultrasign Up made the decision to disallow the feature, results were reinstated. The issue that the four individuals had with the removal of their results is solved. However, the bad blood between Blanton and the individuals doesn’t seem to be resolved, but the only person publicly asking for resolve is Blanton.

    In all four of the cases, the individuals attack Blanton because they disagree with how he’s doing things. They use their disapproval to publicly shame Blanton by posting their opinions on their social media accounts. Blanton defense is to block them from access to his social media accounts.

    It’s one thing to be critical of someone and make an effort to work things out with the individual. But if the opening statement is public shaming, it’s not a good way to start. I give credit to Blanton for not fueling the fire in a public open forum; however, removing their results was still throwing a punch. Albeit, Blanton’s punch was in retaliation for their initial attack. Quid pro quo, I suppose.

    There are a million better ways to resolve these things, but honestly, what advice do parents give to children when someone isn’t being nice to them? Just walk away. To this point, Blanton revoking their access to his social media accounts did just that. Are the removed results from Helco, Gallagher, McClanahan, Moseley so important that it’s causing emotional distress and undue hardships in their lives? I believe the common phrase for these types of hardships is, “first world problems.” That’s not to stay they may not be experiencing discomfort about this situation, but does it need to lead to social media ridicule and an article on Marathon Investigation? This isn’t newsworthy and only attempts to sensationalize nothing more than childish behavior in an adult arena.

    Calling out Blanton for arbitrary rules, “Be nice to volunteers and don’t be dick” is calling the kettle black. Marathon Investigation’s Blog Comments Policy is equally as arbitrary. Just one example: “3. Comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive”

    A more impacting issue of this sensationalism is that Derek Murphy uses this rhetoric to build a distasteful image of Blanton before writing about an allegation of misconduct against Blanton.

    Misconduct allegations, sadly, is newsworthy. I say sadly because news should revolve around facts, not hearsay. And without formal and legal facts, alleged misconduct toes a fickle line. That’s not a defense of wrongdoers, just a nod to the belief of innocent until proven guilty. Which is a legal matter, not a blog matter.

    Perhaps there is financial gain for Murphy? Investigate and increase traffic to Marathon Investigation at the expense of Blanton. If the right conditions are met, this has libel written all over it. But that’s something that would need a true investigation.

    It’s clear that there is an unresolved issue between Blanton and Bessler. Hurt feelings, choice words, and an ass slap. These aren’t jokes. They shouldn’t be jokes. And actions have consequences, but it’s important that the justices are formerly and properly brought forth. If Bessler is making a serious allegation, there are appropriate avenues for this and they should be utilized.

    We have to dig into Colorado law, however: “Unlawful Sexual Contact” Laws
    (18-3-404 C.R.S.) Bessler’s claim of sexual harassment is going to need a lot more to qualify and even then the statute of limitations is 18 months. Especially with Blanton’s defense that there was nothing sexual about it and that he is uncertain if the events actually occurred. Good luck.

    Bessler would have had more success with Colorado Harassment Misdemeanor Harassment / Stalking (18-9-111 C.R.S.) however, once again, the statute of limitations is 18 months.

    However, the prosecutorial “clock” only ticks if the person alleged of the crime is seen and in the state where the crime occurred. It would take a lot of time and money for a lawyer to ‘win’ this on Bessler’s behalf, yet it’s still inductively weak. That being said, if Bessler feels a truly harassed she should legally tell her story.

    In all, a disservice is being done to everyone involved. Marathon Investigations is fueling a fire that hasn’t been legally proven or even legally alleged but they are participating as if they have judicial privileges. If Bessler attempts to bring formal charges, this can elevate the validity. Otherwise, it’s a lot of finger pointing. Blanton certainly has a libel case, however. It would still take quite a bit of evidence, but the line here is less blurred.

    Speaking to a blog, on social media, or just to friends can be a start to resolving a wrongdoing, but with allegations of harassment the victim must act within legal avenues and pursue true justice. There are many, many organizations to help victims do this. If Bessler needs help doing this, the blog, her social media contacts, and friends that she has spoken to about this need to help her. Otherwise, it’s just talk at the expense of an innocent person. Proof is in the pudding, and the law is the only validated ingredient.

      • Where in the comment does it asks, or even inference, for the blog to be taken down? And please point to legal threats.

    • It is amazing what isn’t against the law.
      For example, there is no law against being an unethical human being.
      But, there is also no law against calling out unethical behavior.
      There is no law against making a public post with corroborating evidence regarding unethical behavior and sharing the conclusions that have been made about those unethical behaviors.
      There is no law against any person reading that article and the accompanying posts and coming to their own conclusions.
      There is no law against a public figure and business owner being held accountable by the public for unethical actions.
      There is no law against sharing opinions, just like you did.
      There is no law against you claiming everyone should have done things differently (except Sean, of course. What he did was legal, right?).
      You characterize people as having “attacked” Blanton.
      Did you find the posts that prove that claim?
      For example, have you found a post where I attacked Blanton?
      In a private email I shared my opinion of him. That’s not libel or slander. Sean was the one who made that private email public, not me. And that was long after he had banned and blocked me.
      I support any race director deciding someone is not welcome at a paid event.
      I support private citizens being able to block people on social media.
      No issues whatsoever.
      My post pointing out my experiences and encouraging everyone to come to their own decisions about his actions certainly cannot be considered an attack.
      It was perfectly legal, right?
      I did not attack Blanton by saying publicly that he changed my results. I reported facts. I call them facts because there is evidence, including Blanton’s public (and profanity laced) admissions.
      Was it illegal for him to change my results? Nope.
      But legality is not the only definition of “just.”
      As a matter of fact, his actions were deemed unjust by the owner of the service and many other race directors, including the race director for Western States. Sean’s changing of our results four years after the race were deemed unjust enough that new rules had to be enacted to stop others from doing the same thing.
      Speaking of legality, it could be argued that Sean committed a breach of contract in changing my results. By accepting money for the race it created a contractual agreement between parties, part of which was the accurate recording and reporting of results. To go and make said changes after the fact would be operating outside of the agreement and therefore a violation of the contract.
      If not illegal, as a breach of contract, it can certainly be considered unethical and future customers have a right to know about the past actions of a race director when choosing what events to spend their money on.
      As far as you implying that women have to press charges to be taken seriously:
      NO.
      Just NO.
      If you feel the need to provide “legal counsel,” I am sure Sean would love to hear it.
      Please make sure he understands the process of discovery and just how much information is out there to be discovered if he were to claim slander or libel.

      • “As far as you implying that women have to press charges to be taken seriously:”

        Where does it say that people shouldn’t be taken seriously? In fact, where in the comment is gender mentioned?

        The comment is stating that if real change is to happen, legal avenues should be used; otherwise, where is the change? Running someone out of a group, aside from getting rid of a member, doesn’t produce lasting change.

    • Not sure why you think “legally charged with a crime” is the bar here. He slapped her on the ass during a race and made comments about her appearance. He harassed another woman during a race, according to comments higher up in this post. Or are you suggesting that these women are lying? For…some reason?

      Being a sexist dick isn’t illegal, but it also isn’t consequence free. Those consequences were becoming public before this blog (which I mostly don’t like, but that’s another story) got involved. I heard about Blanton’s behavior in multiple Facebook groups, for example.

      • “Or are you suggesting that these women are lying? For…some reason?”

        Where do you inference that women are accused of lying?

        “Hurt feelings, choice words, and an ass slap. These aren’t jokes. They shouldn’t be jokes. And actions have consequences, but it’s important that the justices are formerly and properly brought forth.”

    • A study by Johns Hopkins in 2018 showed 81% of women have been victims of sexual harassment.
      Example: If a woman gets catcalled as she walks down the street she is experiencing sexual harassment and yet has no legal recourse.
      Hiding behind “innocent until proven guilty in a court“ shows just how out of touch you are with the reality women face every day. Just because it’s not a crime doesn’t make it right. And even when it meets the arbitrary timeline and minimum severity of a crime you acknowledge it’s almost impossible to prove.
      That’s why in a civilized society people have the right and the responsibility to call out bad behaviour when it happens. And Derek is certainly allowed to capitalize on the story. He risks both libel suits and discredit what he prints is wrong or inaccurate; therefor, he must do and has clearly done his due diligence when writing this article.
      A huge shout out to all the women that have come forward with allegations of Seans misconduct. Good for you and so sorry it’s taken so long and so many for anyone to do anything.

      • “Example: If a woman gets catcalled as she walks down the street she is experiencing sexual harassment and yet has no legal recourse.”

        There are legal actions that can be taken; however, it wouldn’t be sexual harassment.

        “call out bad behaviour when it happens.” The comment address that these things are a start, but suggests that for true change to happen, legal actions need to be taken:

        “Speaking to a blog, on social media, or just to friends can be a start to resolving a wrongdoing, but with allegations of harassment the victim must act within legal avenues and pursue true justice.”

    • Matisyahu,

      I could make soap for the entirety of Atlanta with the extra fat I could cut off of your comment.

      What you say boils down to:

      Unless Bessler decides to sue Blanton/Run Bum, she should keep her comments to herself.

      Everyone else should move on.

      Sean’s pattern of behavior is acceptable to continue as is without community intervention. Only a legal statement matters.

      Blanton is the victim of libel. The women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault should be worried about what they say. In fact, what they say is baseless without a lawyer and judge saying it is substantial.

      Man. I can lean really hard to see that you want people to be careful about what they say and who gets blamed. But Sean’s behavior has been dismissed and not taken seriously for too long. It time people shared their experiences with support. Not be told to simmer down, be quiet. What if we hurt Sean’s feelings?

      • “I could make soap for the entirety of Atlanta with the extra fat I could cut off of your comment.” If words produced product, we’d all be rich.

        “What you say boils down to:

        Unless Bessler decides to sue Blanton/Run Bum, she should keep her comments to herself.”

        No, not all. In fact, the comment states, “If Bessler needs help doing this, the blog, her social media contacts, and friends that she has spoken to about this need to help her.”

        True change needs more than words. Words can be a start, but it shouldn’t be a finish.

    • Oh hey, Bessler has something to say. Bessler states that she was present, she knows EXACTLY what happened and it has followed her around for 3 years. In fact, she was so traumatized by the whole experience she did not race again until 2 years later in August of 2019. Check Bessler’s ultra signup. Bessler has been embarassed and unsure where to turn for three years and honestly just wanted to forget this ever happened but Bessler understands now – after receiving dozens of messages and comments from other women who have gone through the same thing with Blanton (just go through the comments here) that she will stand up and state – I DONT CARE WHAT SIDE YOUR ON, his behavior in this sport goes beyond “childish” it is dangerous and uses his power as an RD and it needs to be called out and stopped.

        • 1) Is this the only thing you could find on me to “question my character,” a blog that I did not write, about a mishap that happened in the mountains years ago. A mishap that was aimed at teaching the lesson that technology alone should not be used to navigate the mountains. A blog that states, “kim always comes fully prepared”. I am unsure how this has anything to do with the incident between Sean and I?

          2) what is athlinks? I have no idea what you are talking about?

        • I looked at Kim’s Athlinks. There were two results in
          2017 PRIOR to Pike’s Peak, and then nothing until 2019. That is consistent with everything she has said. She didn’t race for two years after Pike’s Peak.

          • Exactly – I did not run a race from 2017 – 2019. I shifted towards rock climbing and mountain climbing and moved away from the running community. Did I still have running friends? Of course. Did I still run? Of course. But my safe haven took me 2 years to get back to. It also took me moving to Canada. And further more – if you look at my first race back – I chose a FEMALE race director (Candice Burt). Is this all a coincidence. Nope.

        • awomansscourned (cute name by the way) – why don’t you come forward with your real name – like I’ve used my real name openly and honestly through all the comments in this thread. Tell us who ya are? And feel free to message me on Instagram or elsewhere. I’m 39 years old and open to any and all adult conversations.

        • awomanscourned – furthermore I would like to say, now that I understand what athlinks is – I don’t run races for ultra signup scores. I run races that look interesting to me, I don’t care where my results are stored. Does that make me less of an accomplished runner? Are you bullying me because I don’t have enough ultrasign up results? This is laughable to me. You can openly google my name and see my ambassadorships, my experience as an engineer, my volunteer work with women in science and my ultra sign up results which includes 16 races. You have also helped prove my statement that I did not in fact run a race from August of 2017 – August of 2019. The incident with sean was a big part of that for me. So what were you trying to prove here? I am unsure – this only makes you look bad.

        • @Kim, you’ve made it very clear that you’re a victim and that’s nothing to be taken lightly, or away from. At no point is the comment attempting to silence or invalidate. Being a victim is a status no one, regardless of gender, should experience. It’s important to make true change, to prevent this from happening to others. Your experience as a victim shouldn’t stop with just standing and stating.

          @awomanscorned, your comment is an ad hominem fallacy and has no bearing on the situation.

          To Kim’s point, “So what were you trying to prove here? I am unsure – this only makes you look bad.” Yeah, an ad hominem doesn’t boost validity.

          Another is example is people using Sean’s use of profanity is also an ad hominem fallacy, albeit, the weight of the examples is vastly different.

      • Kim, Sean abused me too, and for a long time. I was young and didn’t know better and the time I spent with him fucked me up bad for a long time. I am not a runner or part of this community, just someone from his past who he manipulated and hurt. Thank you for speaking up, we aren’t all as brave to come out as you are. But we stand firm here behind you sis. <3

    • Matisyahu – just no. It seems clear you are only trying to silence the victim (and more troubling, sex assault victims in general). “The law” is certainly not the only “valid” avenue (or even the correct one) to deal with allegations of misconduct by a race director. It is telling that you assert this after taking the position that the statute of limitations for the sexual offence has expired. By your “logic”, as long as the last time a race director committed a sexual assault is past the statue of limitations, then there is nothing to talk about. Ridiculous. A RD’s reputation is important and one he creates through his or her actions. People are certainly equally free to say positive or negative things based upon their experience with the RD. That’s how developing a reputation works, in any industry. More specifically however, women need to be empowered and feel free to come forward and speak about sexual assault. That most certainly does not mean they can only speak about it to a police officer (the law) – that is silencing their story to a forum that has historically been proven to be anything but helpful. I could go on about this, but the point is, again, you are just wrong. But, lets just go ahead and use your reliance on the law – if Sean feels that the reviews he is receiving are defamatory, that’s what the law is for and he can certainly seek to be compensated. It should be noted, however, that truth is an absolute defence to any claim of defamation.

  31. If this is truly not a witch hunt to take down Blanton because of another agenda, then let’s see the same standard held to all the other pervert race directors. Nobody is talking about Sherpa, Badwater, Yeti, or the old man in VA. Oh and there are a couple Florida directors including the one who got arrested trying to hurt a woman. There are countless stories out there. Seems to me this is more a hit piece and not an actual call for change and respect towards women.

    • I don’t know about the other ones (except Sherpa). I would love to know though, so that I can choose where to spend my money on races and also to protect myself. I’m a female ultrarunner and I don’t have a community group that I run with where I can hear this stuff word of mouth. There also aren’t tons of women in ultrarunning in general so the news spreads slowly. I commend Kim and the other women who have spoken out about Sean. It really does help other women. So please share if you feel comfortable – or point us in the right direction!

      • Runsfar – there’s a group of women putting together some really great resources and creating a code of conduct that will hopefully be adopted by all RDs. This is not a witch hunt. The only thing myself and so many other women care about is – moving forward – this doesn’t happen again, at this point Sean who?

        • Just posted asking more questions about the other sources in the Trail and Ultra Running Ladies Only group on facebook, and the moderators removed it. Kind of surprised. Hope the group you’re talking about is not the same group that was posting in there because it looks like the discussion might be getting shut down. Thank you again for speaking up!

          • It’s not – these are women from different groups and influence. That’s a Facebook page known for deleting content.

    • It’s a witch-hunt though, that’s how you get more clicks. Derek doesn’t care about women’s well beings or he wouldn’t slander them on his website. He cares about clicks, donations, and ad money. If this was truly about change for women and manipulation of power from race directors Badwater and So many other races would be shut down.

      • MI is one of the least slanderous, most fair websites in the running world. He only ever provides facts and doesn’t drag anyone through the mud. He always attempts to contact the person in question and gives them plenty of opportunity to respond to any claims, whether it’s about cheating or other issues.

        As a matter of fact, I was surprised MI posted this, simply because it is far removed from what he normally investigates, which is race cheaters, male and female. I’m glad Derek chose to do so, to bring light to this situation, and give others a respected platform (not FB) to address and discuss these issues.

        Sean did bad things and got called out for it in a very public way, finally. He could no longer brush it aside. Yet, the victims are to be blamed for a “witch-hunt” where their stories are finally coming out in full force. And Derek is to be blamed for being a money hungry journalist.

        Sean spent years abusing people and using social media to silence them. Sorry if he, and his people, feel attacked because he’s finally being called out on the same medium he used.

        I’m a male, but continually surprised at how many females defend guys like Sean and attack other women for coming forward and those that support the victims. That only fuels this behavior even more.

        Derek keep up the great work addressing cheaters in our sport and calling out this kind of behavior!

    • SErunner,
      Funny, I thought about Sherpa and some others as well (you can add ‘the guy who invented 100 mile trail racing” (in his mind) as well, and in fact I’m perplexed at the parallels with the lies, abusing the ‘power’ of being a RD but cultlike worship. It’s a fascinating psychology, to me, that people will support someone’s terrible actions because they’re so wrapped up in identity as an “ultrarunner” (substitute religion or politics as well).
      “Fine people on both sides,” indeed.

      So, which old man in VA? I have a negative impression of a certain one that seems to have lots of worship but my impression is only second-hand (and in part because I will judge people with how seriously they appear to take fatherhood/family, which is why I’m incredibly critical of Sherpa), but I’ve never heard actual serious allegations.
      So I for one am not looking for a witch-hunt, so much as for people to stop acting like asses and for so many others to worship them and shrug off their harmful behaviour. You can like a person overall, like some of their actions, and then call them out and not put up with their BS on others. People want to worship personality, though.

      • The Sherpa John stuff was very public. But I can’t have others called out in this format. If there is something you think you’d like me to address or look into, send me a message.

      • Runner dad, it is impossible
        to undo the past, but the universe has obviously brought this to a head so we can create a better future. I think some real changes need to and will be made. Especially as ultra running grows and develops into a mature sport. I know some people don’t want to see this happen but more and more people know what it is and are doing it. So it’s probably time for some official code of conduct amongst other things. All the victims of Sean (and many others) behaviors can’t have their traumas undone but how many new laws have come to pass because of some really bad stuff happening and then being exposed. My hopes is moving forward – we will see real tangible change.

    • Hi…

      This is “Sherpa” John Lacroix. I am NOT Sean Blanton. I am NOT a pervert. Unlike Sean.. I stood up in front of everyone and acknowledged that they were heard, their feelings were valid, and I offered apologies were I could offer them. I also offered to pay for a conflict resolution specialist to come in and help mediate conversation with folks.. but was ignored for two months. I am traveling my own journey, and have worked incredibly hard to not only be more professional, but to right many character flaws I (and many others) possess. It is incredibly wrong of you to lump me in with Sean Blanton.. I am NOT Sean.. Sean also sexually harassed me. Sean also treated me poorly. Sean also bullied me. I do understand what is going on. I am empathetic. I am sorry and remorseful for some of my own poor past behaviors, but I assure you.. I am not a pervert and it is immoral for you to lump me in with others when you also are going off of what you HEARD instead of what you KNOW.

      • You said: “I stood up in front of everyone and acknowledged that they were heard, their feelings were valid, and I offered apologies were I could offer them. I also offered to pay for a conflict resolution specialist to come in and help mediate conversation with folks.. but was ignored for two months.”

        You made a video with a blanket apology, but did you reach out to anyone individually? Not that I know of, and you certainly didn’t reach out to me. Yes, you offered to pay for conflict resolution, but when it was set up by leaders in the CO ultrarunning community (who were going to pay for it out of their pocket), you refused to come to the table. I know this because I was one of the people going to be sitting at that table.

        https://www.change.org/p/members-of-the-ultrarunning-community-stop-john-paul-lacroix-from-bullying/u/24809179

        https://www.change.org/p/members-of-the-ultrarunning-community-stop-john-paul-lacroix-from-bullying?use_react=false

        No, you are not Sean, but you are part of the problem.

        • That’s right.. I made a video that included an apology.. further proof that NO apology will ever be good enough for some of you. I stood up, I apologized. I did reach out to a few people individually, you obviously weren’t one of them. Ever stop to ask yourself why? Ever think it’s because I view YOU as a bully.. someone who is incapable of owning their OWN behaviors that caused me to lash out at you? Some of you have yet to admit your own contributions to what occurred, only highlighting what fits the narrative you want the world to see. And that’s a huge problem.. it’s also a form of gas lighting.

          One of the folks who helped start the above petition admitted that I had never done anything negative directly to her.. that she only is going off of what she heard from her friends. Yet.. she has the capacity to see the hard work I’ve put in, and acknowledged it in an email.. just the other day! This is the same person who demanded people sign the petition or they are “no better than a rapist”.. and I didn’t rape ANYBODY. “Sign the petition or we can’t be friends anymore.” <THIS HAPPENED.

          One of the folks involved with your petition spoke to me incredibly offensively, demanding I stop advocating for mental health awareness or she would refuse to help me with my series, and then going on to comparing me to her ex-husband when I refused to allow her to tell me how to run my business. Classy

          One of the folks involved in your petition… consistently got drunk at my races and it nearly cost me my permits. She also lacks the complete and total comprehension of how her negligence in not-watching dogs almost got me sued due to two dog fights AT ONE RACE at the same aid station.

          One of the folks involved in your petition who said she "feared for her life" has domestic violence on her record, and was so black out drunk one night that she can't even recall that HER abusive behavior put me in the emergency room. I feared for MY life.

          Yet.. through it all.. I offered to go to mediated conversation, by your own admission I offered to pay for the conflict resolution specialist. I waited for TWO MONTHS.. and no one told me a thing about you guys willing to talk. I heard the same thing over and over.. "We're working on it.." None of you reached out to me directly, it was all being handled by intermediaries of ours. Please quite with this false narrative that I didn't want to talk because I DID, I TRIED, I OFFERED TO PAY. No one even told me that someone else offered to pay… those "leaders" in our community told me that the conflict resolution specialist was going to be $700 and I should get ready to pay… NOT that you guys had offered to help, or anyone else offered to help. At no point did anyone even tell me that you were even READY to talk.. NOT. ONE. PERSON. I know this because, I'm also one of the people who was willing to sit at the table.

          I'm not Sean and I'm not part of the problem. You see what you want, ignore what you don't.

          • John, you never fail to disappoint with how well you can spin a narrative in your mind. And sadly, you never surprise either. You’ll never change, and your lies about the mediation are incredibly disrespectful to the people who took it upon themselves to try and help you. Karma always wins in the end.

          • That is a whole lotta assigning the blame for bad behavior, on other people who pushed you to it. People like you and Sean, who use other’s “bad behavior” to justify as bad or worse behavior, kill me. You do realize that we ALL experience crap behavior directed at us, by others, very frequently, and if we all acted out as described here, the entire world would be a complete cesspool worse than it is. Being an adult means walking away from the table more times than we would prefer to, so we don’t contribute to these situations.

  32. Just curious, Matisyahu, if you’re suggesting that because the sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct allegations fall outside of any statute of limitations they don’t matter? Let’s consider victims of rape or molestation who are terrified to come forward and sometimes wait decades to come forward. Sometimes out of fear, others out of shame. Shame on you. Regardless of whether legal and criminal justice is ever served for these victims, what they’ve been through is real and heartbreaking and needs to be known. They finally found the platform for their voice to be heard and shame on anyone who tries to quiet them because it happened too long ago to be legally addressed.
    And since you clearly missed the full story on Facebook, the ‘invitation’ to discuss the issue made by him was done on a page where he had every person involved blocked, so they couldn’t even see it. Then he deleted it. Do you have anything to say about that? (It’s paragraphs #1 and #4 of your comment – also, it wasn’t on a public forum. It was done on a page you have to request to join, which everyone affected had been blocked from).

  33. Matisyahu,
    The scope of the altered or deleted results is limited to those individuals that have found them on their own. The actual value has not been determined /released by UltraSignup. Also 4 is not the known total, Mark at Ultra Signup has that figure. I had all my results deleted at some point over the last year, I was never told why. I reached out to RB repeatedly and got no reply. Mark at Ultra signup was able to correct them.

    We did not get here overnight. Over the years countless paying runners have expressed concern to RB. Many were blocked, banned etc by RB to preserve his image. In the end nothing changed. He makes sure he always wins.  During Derek’s investigation instead of producing evidense to support his recolection of events RB chose to send Tiger King memes bragging about deleting results. We also know by his own words that he is more likely to assault women at high altitude. He has yet to exhibit true accountability for his actions.

    No apology from him is genuine and the pattern of behavior has continued far too long. The community has been very patient up to this point.

    Reguarding the repeated Harrasment and Sexual Assault(s). Many are not in this article. You are correct legal venues are where this needs to go. Prosecution to the fullest extent of the law is where “justice” will be served. Hopefully prosecutors and victims will pursue this. I use quotes for justice because the victims are often impacted for life regardless of a conviction and sentencing.

  34. Matisyahu,

    As a woman who is the victim of sexual abuse and assault. Frankly, rape. Your comment is deeply hurtful not just to the women directly affected by Sean, but to all women and to all men who have also been the victims. 

Comments like this are the reason women have felt for decades…centuries…all of history? That their voice doesn’t matter. What they feel pales in comparison to the feelings and the experience of the abuser. It’s why domestic abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse…all go dramatically under reported, under prosecuted, and most predators walk free. It’s why the man who did this to me walks completely free to this day.

    How dare you ever tell anyone or imply that what happened to them isn’t worth speaking up about. How dare you ever discount anyone else’s experience because you don’t get it. Because you side with the predator. How dare you ever tell a woman that her voice doesn’t matter unless she speaks out in a specific way, to meet your ridiculous ‘standard’ of the ‘right’ way to do so (lawyers, etc.)

    What people like Sean do is disgusting and wrong at every level. Your defense of that is equally as disgusting and is the reason fear of speaking up exists in our society. Your comments are the epitome of misogyny. Period. Full stop.

    WE WILL NOT BE SILENT. OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD.

    • Making a comment that Bessler continue her story legally is by no means an attempt to silence anyone, discount their story, or tell anyone that their story doesn’t matter.

  35. This would make good podcast! Just saying, we all need more good podcasts in our lives and I really enjoyed the episodes you released before.

  36. Change – correction – improvement – has to have a beginning. Speaking up is that beginning. To those who have defended what is being reported here by both men and women, what would your opinions and responses be if those affected were your beloved family members?
    For me, ignoring and condoning this behavior is the same as ignoring that Ahmed Aubrey was shot while simply jogging. Thanks to everyone involved who has had the courage to speak up.

  37. I’m very happy to see that some people are not buying into classic Red Herring arguments that take away from the big picture here.

    Bringing up any past issues with Marathon Investigations is a Red Herring; bringing up issues with it being a “profit” website (really? low bar for profit) is a Red Herring; sociological ideas and concepts is a Red Herring; legal arguments are a Red Herring.

    All that matters is this has all been building for several years. Almost on a yearly basis some kind of controversy surrounding the RD comes out, and on a yearly basis the way it is handled by that RD is embarrassing, with the excuse given by him and others that “He’s not everyone’s flavor”, “It was blown out of proportion”, “It’s bitter people”, and so on.

    The thing is, this time something concrete and real was caught (evidence, via the childish BS deletion of race results as a “Do I have your attention now”), and all the other issues now are daylighted in a larger format, instead of previous social media comments that are deleted and private messages. Being a big shot major Race Director and ultra running personality, means be prepared for what comes along with that – exposure and needing to meet a higher bar.

    Just stop with the Red Herring arguments that obscure this for what it is.

    • Hank, I agree. Distracting from Sean’s behavior will get us no where. Derek’s moral compass as an RD, is not under investigation here. Whether or not Derek reported on this – it STILL HAPPENED and it still needs to be addressed. Derek did not know Sean before this. I am unsure why Derek’s “agenda” is coming in to question. He saw a story and reported on it. I don’t see any bias. I see him putting something out there – and letting it be heard.

  38. Ya know what is pretty incredible, Derek has the ability to censor comments and he is not, he is letting everyone say their piece. I think that speaks volumes about not spinning a narrative and letting a REAL conversation happen. Derek allowed the attempt to minimize my character go through, even though he and I have had nothing but pleasant exchanges. He did not try to protect me in an attempt to spin a narrative. Think about that for a minute. He is even letting comments that attack him personally, go through. Really hurtful comments. Sean is known for deleting anything that goes against his narrative. Questioning this websites moral compass is fine. I have gone back and read many of Derek’s articles and about the suicide and everything. I feel Derek is reporting on things that have already happened and people get very hurt and angry and take them as personal attacks. I get it – I do. There are two sides to every story. And “ruining” someone seems unnecessary. But think about media outlets. You read a story and then hopefully you do your own digging and research and draw your own conclusions. I actually agree, coming into a comment section and flaming someone is so damaging to that person. But that comes down on the commenter – not the outlet. If someone cheats, lies, abuses, bullies etc etc in a sport that claims community, integrity, etc etc and a story with factual evidence is put out there – does that person who might have a large following and influence deserve to be put on blast? Do they deserve to lose their career and influence? This is more of a philosophical question. What behaviors are wrong or right? Acceptable or unacceptable? I think we are all mostly in our 30’s and above and we know the answers.

  39. This all reminds me of the sorts of things that happened in several (at the time) high-profile martial arts organizations, a generation ago. Numerous authoritarian abusers in those organizations were exposed and made powerless by the nascent internet martial arts community members who were brought together by blogs, websites, usenet, and other early forms of social media.

  40. I made a donation for the first time in honor of all the women. Thank you for taking the time to write this extremely important article.

  41. That’s a whole lot of comments right there! For all the men who suddenly are afraid they may have caused harm (or for RunBum but that seems like a long shot) there is a way back. In philadelphia we have at least one therapy center for people who have caused harm it’s name is a little misleading since they serve abusers of all genders. They are changing thier name to courdera. If you’re not in Philly perhaps they can refer you somewhere. https://www.menergy.org/

  42. Same here Dani on donations. Thank goodness a man like Derek is willing to deal with this!! You can’t put a price on what he has done for the women in this community. Spring cleaning like a gallon of boiling bleach!

  43. The ultrarunning scene isn’t as great as everyone makes it out to be. I discovered ultrarunning as a solo venture to push my limits. Once I heard how great the community was I joined a few local running groups to which I was extremely disappointed. Many of the people I’ve encountered constantly downplay the accomplishments of others because it may not have a lot of “Vert” or they used trekking poles aka “cheat sticks”. They have hidden behind computers
    to bully, harass, and torment each other. They make fun of how slow some runners are, how other RD’s races suck because it’s not as “technical” as they claim it to be, and just seem to have an elitist/full of themselves attitude. It was really disappointing to discover all of this and has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
    That being said, there are some very serious allegations against this guy and I think I get what Billy Barnet was saying above. These allegations should be brought to court and charges should be pressed. I have read through so much hate for Sean Blanton and it seems like now is the time to bully the bully. You even have the host of Ultra Runner Podcast mocking him on reddit because he lives with his mom.
    I hope he faces consequences whatever they may be, but also hope that the bash session doesn’t lead to anything drastic like him committing suicide.
    I’m honestly fearful to put my name on this post for the backlash and accusations I may get for “supporting” Sean just by saying I hope he doesn’t off himself because of all the backlash. I think it’s a shame that anything like this happens anywhere and we need to create a safe space for reporting this kind of thing. I am a victim of harassment myself and as a male, have never felt comfortable talking about it because the very few people I have told have said, “cool, nice, your a dude, get over it, it means she/he thought you were hot.”
    My heart goes out to the victims and I pray that you can find peace through this. I know our situations may not be identical but I can certainly relate to having a joyous moment ruined and feeling haunted by the actions of others.

    • I think I get what seems to be your ambivalence about this situation. It’s difficult sometimes to balance compassion with consequences. I truly believe that the two can go hand in hand if the offending party is remorseful. I don’t know if that’s the case here. I also think it’s pretty clear that bringing charges and a courtroom are not realistic options. Whether that’s a flaw in our judicial system can be debated, but it’s just not realistic at this point. The only realistic recourse in situations like this is the court of public opinion. And quite honestly, this forum is quite fair and supportive of those harmed as well as those doing the offending unless they are clearly guilty and unremorseful. Even then, the comments are fair, although it’s tough to be supportive of unremorseful offenders. Sure, there are comments that lean towards bullying, but those are the exception rather than the norm. Everyone here would also agree that suicide would be a tragedy, but there is no way that this forum would be the cause of that suicide. Those causes would be deeply rooted in something that I bet none of us can understand.

  44. I met this guy years back, he was staying with a buddy of mine. I got a really bad vibe from him. Bragging about chicks, showing pics they had sent him. It kind of stayed with me. He was nothing but nice to me, but I still couldn’t shake a bad feeling about the guy.
    Usually, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Women don’t just line up to sewer people’s reputations for no reason. The retort Sean made doesn’t stand up for me. He is now vehemently denying slapping that girl’s butt, when his text response was like “maybe I did, can’t remember.” Guilty guilty…. He’s lucky that girl was not a family member of mine, because I would be looking for him.

    • That was the part that infuriated me the most. It would almost be less insulting if he denied it! It’s the old abuser’s standby: “I may have done it, but it wasn’t that bad, but if it *was* that bad, then I may not have done it.”

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