Suspicious Result at Boston Bound Marathon

Runner ran an hour and Half Personal Record to Qualify For Boston. His splits and actions cast doubt on the result

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The Boston Bound Marathon is a 26 loop course. The race starts with an extra .2 mile section and concludes with 26 1 mile loops. Tim is a 61 year old male, and entered the race with the goal of qualifying for Boston.

Boston Bound Marathon Course

Tim officially finished the race with a time of 3:23:29, safely under the 3:50:00 needed to qualify to run The 2023 Boston Marathon. Last week, Tim posted that his time was accepted by Boston.

All of Tim’s previous marathons were over 4 Hours and 50 Minutes. This result was nearly a 1-1/2 Hour Personal Record. He posted on August 22nd that his training had peaked. Looking at his Strava, it would appear he peaked at about 6 mile training runs. He posted daily workouts and runs, but none of these posted runs approached double digits in the time leading up to his supposed taper.

Reasons for Suspicion

Tim’s mile splits are uneven. The start of his race is in line with his 5k and 10k results. His Athlinks profile is now private, so I cannot reference all of his results. There are searchable results showing 5ks in the range of 22:30 and he ran a10k in 48:15 this past August.

His Boston Bound splits follow:

First .2 1:39.91
Lap 1 8:05.62
Lap 2 8:15:07
Lap 3 8:15:05
Lap 4 8:23:09
Lap 5 8:32.9

To meet his qualifying standard, Tim needed to average 8:47 miles for the entire race. At this point, he was on track, but given his apparent lack of training and looking at his historical times, a qualifying time would seem to be unlikely. Tim may have come to this realization.

Lap 6 5:46:17

There was nothing in his training or races that I found indicating that Tim is capable of a sub 6 minute mile.

Scanning through the results, I believe that the 5:46:17 was likely the 2nd fastest lap of ANY runner the entire race. Only the overall winner had a faster lap.

Following the unlikely lap 6 was a series of laps roughly between 8 and 9 minutes.

Lap 7 7:54.6
Lap 8 9:03.07
Lap 9 7:59.09
Lap 10 7:59.3
Lap 11 8:05.49
Lap 12 8:21:27
Lap 13 7:15.06
Lap 14 8:51.16
Lap 15 7:42.72
Lap 16 8:49.15

Beginning with lap 17, his paces again become even more suspicious. This is a runner that was gradually slowing down within the first 5 miles from 8 minutes to 8-1/2 minute miles, running a series of laps number of sub 7 minute miles.

Lap 17 6:41.13
Lap 18 7:54.05
Lap 19 6:59.1
Lap 20 7:42.62
Lap 21 7:27.64
Lap 22 6:47.23
Lap 23 7:37:02
Lap 24 7:59.56
Lap 25 6:44.78
Lap 26 6:47.15

He posted on Facebook that his training peaked on August 22nd. Leading up to this point, he had Strava entries daily showing his workouts and his runs. There was nothing leading up to his marathon that was over about 6 miles (At the time of this writing, he has made his Strava private – so there may be an exception – but the volume was not indicative of a serious Boston Qualifying attempt, especially for someone with a marathon PR of over 5 hours).

Marathon History

2022 Disney 4:51:05
2020 Charlotte 4:50:20
2020 Disney 6:30:26 (Participated in Dopey Challenge 5km, 10km, half and full marathon on consecutive days)
2019 Charlotte 6:01:56

Tim is clearly in better shape now than he was before and when he started running. I believe his other Marathons were legitimate, but again, nothing in his training or races indicated that he would qualify for Boston, much less, run a 3:23:29 race.

Additional Details

Tim had no photos tagged to him on the course. Every single runner ahead of Tim had photos. I also scanned through the entire photo album and did not spot Tim.

I messaged Tim on Facebook:

Hi Tim. I’m the owner of Marathon Investigation. I’ve received a few emails questioning your BQ result based on some anomalous split times? Do you have any GPS of your run? Please note that I am in no way affiliated with the Boston Bound Race or The Boston Marathon. I work independently to help maintain the integrity in race results. Thanks

Within a day or two of sending this message Tim scrubbed his social media clean. His Facebook is private, he removed a post bragging about his Boston Qualifying time from the Runnin’ Truckers group, he made his Strava private, he made his Athlinks private.

Prior to my message to Tim, all his social media was public. I am posting a sampling of his posts. I am comfortable in stating, without getting too political, that the evidence indicating that Tim did not legitimately qualify for Boston is stronger than any evidence supporting his beliefs below.

Summary

Tim clearly has improved his fitness over the years and is a capable runner with impressive age group times for 5ks and 10ks. By all available information, he was not prepared to run a Boston Qualifying time. While there was no visual evidence showing he cut the course, the data tells the story of a very unlikely finish. Adding to the questionable splits are the lack of photos, the lack of a Strava file (when he publishes his runs on a daily basis) and his reaction to my Facebook message.

I messaged the race over a week ago, and have not received a response, and Tim still has a finishing time which was accepted for entry to The 2023 Boston Marathon.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. While I’m really sure based on the data that he cheated, I’m not sure how you can say it’s not political when you post his political statements unrelated to running. I am also appalled by people who embrace elections denial, im not sure where it fits here.

    I have seen cheaters who I believe are lefties like me.

    I’m just not clear on why his wacko stuff is relevant here.

    • The “wacko stuff” helps establish, resoundingly, that Tim displays a general pattern of being an unreliable witness. And by “without getting too political,” Derek is implying that he is not insinuating his own political stance into the mix, merely posting someone else’s political statements.

      • It is clearly an unnecessary political point being made by Derek. Karen is correct. The left and right both deny the validitity of elections. Therefore, according to your logic, 90% of Americans are not credible.

        • No one is credible without evidence to back it up. His comments are indicative of the idea that the other side cheats. Therefore it is relevant.

          Personally I would have thought his religious opinions were less relevant.

    • I agree …I believe there was more than enough evidence to show he cheated .. there was no need whatsoever to show his political views or to establish his credibility based on his political posts .. it is completely irrelevant to his ability to run a marathon fast or slow ….. Facts are all that is needed .. opinions on his political craziness has nothing to do with his running abilities.. in fact I know a few runners that have his same political views that are elite runners that are completely legit .. I would recommend removing that part of the article..

      Otherwise great article thanks Marathon investigations for keeping the sport clean

    • I generally agree that politics are better omitted although it’s reasonable for the average person to be curious about the beliefs of one who has apparently received divine benevolence. After all, he was the one who brought “God” into the issue via his meme.

  2. I agree with Karen. His political views aren’t relevant to your findings. I think (as usual) that your analysis is spot on but now I question your motivation. Posting about his politics suggests a desire for clicks, an inherent bias, or both. Why do it? We are all biased in our own way, but it detracts from your data.

  3. Derek, it seems logical to say that you should notify the Boston Marathon Officials that monitor who gets accepted or not into the Boston marathon race. and flag his name? if he does get accepted, then they should be sure to follow his bib # and pictures during the race. Or the other alternative, is just not accepting his entry. I agree that cheaters should never be accepted and should be banned. it’s not fair to all the others who actually worked hard on their training to qualify.

  4. anyone else think that course was literally made for cutting? I almost wonder if it’s a *wink*wink*, here’s a race to shave off a few minutes to get your Boston time…

  5. I think adding his comments about the “stolen election” is just hilarious. This page would be nothing without Derek presenting endless evidence and proof, while some folks keep perpetuating a dangerous lie with no evidence whatsoever. So, yeah, when they get busted cheating, we should all have a laugh. Thanks for this Derek. (And for all you do in general).

  6. Since I’m the one who reported this guy to Derek, I can tell you all he 100% cheated. I know him well and was flabbergasted to see a guy who regularly runs in the 23s for a 5k suddenly run about that pace for a marathon. It was also highly unbelievable as I see his training everyday and the longest run he had this cycle was 6 miles. Once I saw the 5:45 mile I knew without a doubt he cheated.

    A couple of points, I honestly don’t think Derek is making a political point at all, some of you are jumping to conclusions, I think he was just showing the juxtaposition of Tim, who is a self described person of God, being a hypocrite when it comes to cheating and stealing a Boston entry. Second, on his election denying, I think the point Derek was making wasn’t the fact that his election denying was right or wrong, but the fact that he was so outraged by something he saw as unjust(the election) yet had no problem doing the exact same thing in a race. Derek was just highlighting the contrasting view points of Tim and showing him for the hypocrite he is.

    On a 3rd note, I and a bunch of the local charlotte running community have emailed, called, messaged the Race director for Boston Bound and have gotten zero response, it’s almost like they don’t give a crap about cheaters. I would ask you all to email them or bring attention to the fact that if a race like that can not guarantee the validity of their race, then all of their races are suspect and should be bared from being a Boston qualifier.

    • Ben, a mutual friend had forwarded this to me and I have since emailed Derek with the details I have but thought you might get a ‘kick’ out of this. I have seen the data file from the attempt. He ‘ran’ a total of just over 21 miles in a moving time of his chip time as posted in the results but also had a good bit of stoppage attached to the activity as well.

      Now for the best comedy of all really, he took the time to do a manual update on his Garmin connect so that it would show his marathon PR as the 3:23:xx and so he would get another badge/points for the success. He did not however take the time to update the shorter distances that would have also been PR’s so it was humorous to see a marathon time that was just over 1 hour longer than a half.

      At any rate I have tried to pull a cached version of the activity but my browser doesn’t seem to have anything beyond the link to the activity itself that now when clicked takes you to the strava main page since the activity technically does not exist for public view and only him.

      • Rob, have you tried pulling the data from the Garmin Connect website? Willing to bet that has not been modified.

  7. (1) I agree that the political stuff was unnecessary. The “unreliable witness” explanation seems insufficient to justify stirring that particular pot.

    (2) The fact that his times barely changed from Charlotte 2020 to Disney 2022 suggests very little actual improvement. A time just under 4:00 would be consistent with his August 5K and 10K times, and getting there in a mere seven months would be impressive but not impossible. OTOH, 3:23 is a whole different kettle of fish.

    (3) As it happens, his 5K and 10K PRs are very similar to my own, set when I was a decade younger. I totally respect that. Kudos to him. OTOH, it beggars belief that he’d set new 5K and 10K PRs at the end of a run 4x as long.

    (4) Kelli is absolutely right that this course looks designed for cutting. Without some *serious* monitoring to ensure that all runners actually make it all the way to each of the three corners per mile, it probably shouldn’t even be accepted as a BQ. Might be worth looking at other runners’ anomalous performances on that course as well.

  8. I Agree with others. Please leave the politics out. Not necessary, and it turns people off. You’re doing great work, try not to muddy the water.

    • There are plenty of times where Derek has pointed out that these cheaters are also horrible people in real life. Cheating in a race is insignificant; the problem is that the lying and cheating don’t end with racing for most of these people. Believing in a lie that is patently false because of some mass cult delusion, is NOT a political view.

  9. The point Derek is making is that if you go by the “Al Capone was innocent and wrongly accused” idea, you can transitively assume that Tim is capable of unethical judgement and, thereby, would not feel any shame in trying to cheat his way into Boston.

    While I get the intention behind posting the social media, I don’t think it’s relevant for a different reason. What I would object to is that it lacks context. I’m sure there are social media posts that I’ve made that could be clipped where I’m making inside jokes or “tongue in cheek” comments to people I regularly comment with. Not, in the least, saying that’s the case but it’s something to consider.

  10. In a way, those social media posts aren’t political, though they deal with a political subject. They could be about anything, but it’s easier to find such posts about the election than about aliens, for instance, or Sasquatch. They show Hepler’s state of mind: He’s willing to believe something is true when it’s false, and all evidence supports its falseness.

    Derek deals in evidence-based reality. Hepler’s posts demonstrate that he doesn’t care much about that.

  11. Great job, Derek! Keep it up. Keep the ideal of the Boston Marathon what it should be, a place where truly dedicated amateur runners can aspire to a bit of greatness, and not for cheaters.

  12. Where’s the politics everyone’s talking about? I see an unhinged nut job posting conspiracy theories. Nothing political about that.

  13. No idea how Boston could accept this as a qualifying race, like others have said it looks like a course made for cheats… has anyone any experience of running it, is it will marshalled to ensure people don’t cut the course?

  14. Anyone who believes in such conspiracies are more than likely to not believe in the integrity of marathon results. Thank you for showing what kind of person he is.

  15. Glad to know that you support child grooming, so I won’t repeat my donation to you. If you think criticizing Disney for Disney opposing a bill that blocks teaching a wide variety of deviant beliefs to VERY young elementary schoolers is whacko, then you’re the whacko who must be marked and avoided.

    Name is a fake. I don’t comment often, but I did donate $50 a while ago. Now I feel dirty.

    • I’m just kidding about what I said, I think what Derek wrote is fine and Disney is doing the right thing! I’m donating again!

  16. I think the social posts are entirely relevant. These reports are windows into the lives of actual people, and our impressions of them as people are therefore important. If they weren’t important as people, we could just be happy reading reports with data and the names and pics stripped. There have been cheaters exposed here that I have felt sorry for in the past, and ones I have not. The fact that this cheater also supports a violent insurrection against the government and the attempt to overturn a democratic election helps me by giving me an even bigger window into his life. Violent insurrection is not ‘politics’, supporting it doesn’t make someone a political opponent, it makes them an enemy of democracy. It also shows his flagrant disregard for standards of evidence and truth, and gives everyone more reason to distrust him.

  17. How a course like this can be certified by USATF? This is a cheaters’ paradise. You can literally cut anywhere unless there are 3 timing mats withing one mile, at each turnaround.

    • USATF only cares about the accuracy of the stated distance of the course. Whether or not the course is easily cuttable bears no weight on whether or not the course is 42.195km. It is the race director’s responsibility to ensure that the course is well marshaled and enough timing points are in place to catch any would be ne’er do wells.

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