Runner Caught Using Bib Mule in NYC To Qualify for Boston Marathon

Review of race photographs provides clear evidence that another individual used this participant's bib during the 2021 New York City Marathon

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Last week, I wrote an article detailing the process used to prioritize my review of Boston Marathon results. Not long after I started the review of 2022 results, I identified a runner that used a Bib Mule to qualify for both the 2021 and 2022 Boston Marathons.

Reason for Review

John ran a qualifying time of 3:14:42 at The 2021 NYC Marathon. He finished The Boston Marathon with a time of 6:24:55. This variance in of itself isn’t necessarily a reason to be suspicious. My next step is typically to look at the runner’s historical results. Generally I am looking to see what time is more typical for a runner. Was the 6:24:55 an anomaly, or was the 3:14:42 the outlier?

2020 Walt Disney Marathon – 7:05:03
2020 Georgia Marathon – 5:47:20
2021 Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon – 6:32:07
2021 Boston Marathon – 6:00:09 (Non-qualifying Entry – presumed charity entry)
2021 New York City Marathon – 3:14:42
2021 Dallas Marathon – 5:35:24
2022 Boston Marathon – 6:24:55
2022 Mayor’s Marathon – 5:45:36
2022 Detroit International Marathon – 5:35:20
2022 New York City Marathon – 6:08:19

The outlier is clearly his 3:14:42 NYC Marathon result. I first looked at his NYC splits, and they appeared fine. Next I looked at photos of the two races.


It was clear to me that these were two different runners. To be sure I looked at photos of John’s other races. They were all comparable to his 2022 Boston Marathon photo. Same knee braces, watch on the left hand, same overall appearance.

Summary

It is clear that someone else ran with John’s bib at The 2021 NYC Marathon, and that John used that time to run in The 2022 Boston Marathon. The New York Road Runner’s (NYRR) have a strict policy forbidding runners from selling or giving their bibs to other runners. In all likelihood this should result in a ban for the runner (as well as the bib mule if he is identified). The runner is also being reported to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Feeling sorry for the runner he displaced that trained their butt off and just missed qualifying cuz this guy cheated and stole their legitimate and earned spot.

    • Thankfully, there was no cutoff below the standard qualifying times for the 2022 Boston Marathon, so anyone that met the standard got into the race. Still, this guy should be banned. It’s possible he was a fundraiser, too, but given the white bib at this year’s Boston, he definitely used that 3 hour marathon for seeding.

  2. Thank you for plastering pictures of these cheaters all over the internet. Google recommended this article and I’m so glad it did as it made me aware of your site. I am grateful for the work that you do. Don’t have much to contribute but will send a little something along to help support of the important work that you are doing.

    • You are correct about 2022 but not 2021. 2021 had the big cutoff of -7:47 because the qualification window went back to Fall 2018. So anyone who cheated to get into 2021 definitely displaced a qualified runner.

      • Minor point: the long cutoff time for 2021 was because the field size was reduced to 20,000 runners from the normal 30,000 runners because of the pandemic.

      • Initially in 2021 yes, there was the 7+ minute cutoff but they came back and allowed anyone who met the cutoff to run because so many couldn’t travel or didn’t want to run due to the Covid restrictions.

  3. For Boston 2022, no one who applied with a valid BQ was denied. There were unused qualifying spots available, so no one was displaced, but that doesn’t exonerate John’s and the bib mule’s actions.

  4. Thank you for this site. Anyone that cheats can not be called a runner. A true runner test themselves legitimately. That’s how I feel good about myself. These cheaters have underlining life problems to do this crap.

  5. Hi, this is interesting to me.
    Im not clear about the bid hand off, because in the pictures, the runners have different numbers. Can someone clarify please.

    • The runners have different numbers because they are photos from different races. The real John is the heavier guy in the left photo. The mystery guy in the right photo ran that using a bib and number that was registered under John’s name so that the mystery runner’s fast time would qualify John to enter another prestigious race (the Boston Marathon).

    • There was no handoff — the mule ran the entire qualifying race. The photo on the left of John proves that he used the mule’s time from to run Boston.

    • To run the 2021 Boston, John chose option #2, raised the charity money and started at the back of the pack. For the 2022 Boston, “John” ran a BQ time of 3:14 at the NYC Marathon but the photo evidence shows that it was not actually John who ran (Bib #19285). The number and BQ result was assigned to John but a faster guy ran it for him. The other photos of John are there to further prove that the NYC runner was not John because of the physical traits, the arm he wears his watch on and that there are no knee braces.

      Boston is started in multiple waves of several thousand runners to accommodate the narrow, 2-lane road at the start. Runners with faster qualifying times are assigned lower bib numbers and start earlier than slower and charity runners. For 2021, yellow bibs were assigned to the charity runners who started in the last of 6 waves. For 2022 there were only 4 waves but John was assigned 11177 (white bib) meaning he started in the 2nd wave and that he did not get in by raising money for charity.

      Even though everyone who BQed and applied for 2022 got in, John still took someone else’s place in the 2nd wave. That person was pushed back to wave 3 and started 25 minutes later perhaps resulting in a worse race experience for that person.

    • The bib numbers being different is because races are different, and not relevant to the problem. The problem is that John gave his bib at NYC to someone else in order to get a qualifying time at Boston.

  6. It literally does though. Imagine being so self-righteous you think this is any of your business.
    I’m so sure all you judgmental pricks have never done anything as bad as… having someone else run with your marathon bib. Like, seriously? Grow up, smug tattletales

    • I’ll bite. The opinion “don’t have someone run a race under your name so you can qualify for a race that you are not in fact qualified to run” is not a “smug” opinion, but rather a sensible one that you’d have to be bat shit insane to be in opposition to?

    • @John, I’m guessing that’s you? I’m honestly curious what compelled you to do this. Would you care to explain yourself?

    • Privately cheating in a public realm and it becomes his business. I might donate just in your name. Like, SeRiOuSlY reeeeeeeeeeee!

    • Imagine being so salty that you get angry at people who run the race legitimately. Are you afraid of losing your dream of being a bib mule Johnny boy? Grow up, get a legitimate job instead of running marathons for lazy people.

  7. Thanks for busting these cheaters. I want run the Boston Marathon as much as anyone but I’m just not fast enough. I won’t even run a full marathon because it wouldn’t be fast enough to qualify. I’m not that slow, I can run a half marathon in 1:34. Even if I double it I wouldn’t qualify in my age group so I just stick with halfs. I could easily cheat to get in but if I can’t do it on my own merit I don’t wan to run it. It takes away from others who deserve it. It takes a weak human to cheat to make yourself feel accomplished.

  8. The mule didn’t only wear John’s bib, he wore the tank top from the charity John previously ran the Boston marathon with – “Semper Fi America’s Fund”. How insulting that he paid a mule to wear the charity’s shirt in order to avoid donating more money to the charity. Absolute garbage.

  9. I am a Greek runner and in a race in Greece I started first and only one girl passed me, but I ended up fourth!!! they corrected it after I found photos that no other girls were in the photos between the first one and me. And once in the hotter than hell half marathon in 2016, in Texas, I started first and was with the same people throughout the race. When I finished, my teammates congratulated me because they knew my real position, but in the end I was seventh…. some even with a time of less than an hour!!! They did nothing!!!

  10. @john – you have an Airborne shirt on. Thank you for your military service and sacrifices you’ve made for our country.

    @Derek the Writer – Boston 2021 was in October 2021 before the alleged bib mule participated in NY. So it would not be possible to use this as a 2021 BQ. Update your story. For Boston 2021 it looks like John ran under a charity bib which would have required fundraising $8000+ for a charity

Comments are closed.