Instagram Influencer Runs Sub 3:00:00 Houston Marathon – Wearing Someone Else’s Bib

As it currently stands, the owner of the bib is now qualified to enter The 2024 Boston Marathon despite not running one step of The Houston Marathon

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Matt Choi didn’t hide the fact that he was running The Houston Marathon. His Instagram page is plastered with videos from the race.

In the below linked video, he enthusiastically provides mile by mile splits.

The problem, as referenced in the page title, is that Matt was not registered for the Houston Marathon. He ran it wearing a bib assigned to another runner. His marathon finish earned this other runner a Boston Qualifying time. His ‘official’ finish was 2:59:35.

Why Run With Someone Else’s Bib?

The Houston Marathon was sold out. One possible motivation is that the original bib holder could not run the race, and he gave the bib or sold the bib to Matt. The other motivation is that he had Matt run the race as a “Bib Mule” to earn him a qualifying spot for Boston or another race. Regardless of the motivation, this is clearly against the rules.

From The Chevron Houston Marathon FAQ:

Can I transfer my bib to another person?
No the Houston Marathon does not allow the transfer of registrations.

Registered runners who give their bib to another person and the person to whom the bib is given will be disqualified and prohibited from participating in subsequent Houston Marathon events for a minimum of two years

Summary

There are many reasons you should not run a race unregistered. I’ve gone through those ad nauseum for years. I wrote a piece in response to a Runner’s World article that many, myself included, felt gave the green light to bandits.

Summary

In many ways running with another runner’s bib can be worse than simply banditing. Yes, “someone” paid for a swapped bib. But the bottom line is, in this case, Matt did not pay for the bib. He was not authorized to participate in The Marathon. If someone bandits a race, they don’t appear in the results, they can’t qualify for Boston or take claim to an age group award. To be clear, in either case, the runner is stealing by taking advantage of a service that they did not pay for.

An influencer and sponsored athlete should know better than to run a race that they are not registered for. There is no acknowledgement of comments calling out his actions.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I am gobsmacked that someone with Matt’s profile would do something like this
    Firstly as it’s totally off to run on someone else’s bib
    Secondly, it’s so easy to get caught

    This is crazy to me. I guess he’ll just ignore it.
    But it seems to me if high profile people are prepared to do this without consequence, then it must be widespread.
    Incredible.

    • Totally agree. On another note, I can’t think of anything more annoying than to film myself during a marathon calling out my mile splits. I guess he’s a “pro” as an influencer, but it would slow me down and mess with my race.

  2. I’m a serious runner…I‘ve run 40+ miles a week for a very long time and competed in many races including half marathons, marathons, Ironman events, and ultra trail running events. We take ourselves too seriously. No one, male or femaile, running a 3 hour marathon is going to win anything, ever. Fascinating how seriously people take this…

  3. Matt Choi is a super vain and annoying attenion seeking social media guy. Kinda glad for him to get called out on this. Don’t know if it will take away his fan base. Social media has ruined so much of the fitness world.

  4. His story is fishy. Claiming he “forgot” to register (nobody simply forgets to register for a marathon) and then the way he wore the bib on (or should I say under) his shorts… Choi knew what he was doing and he used terrible judgement.

  5. Did you notice how he cut up the bib number into a small rectangle only showing the number but he didn’t do that in other races he’s ran? He knew what he was doing.

  6. “stealing” What nonsense, the place was paid for, no one lost out.

    All real runners swap numbers, most running clubs will have WhatsApp groups where runners offer up places for races they can’t do anymore. The only races that would have an issue with this are races that only care about making money, not races that are put on for runners by runners.

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