Just Stop. There is Nothing Suspicious About Gracie Hunt’s Marathon Time

Gracie Hunt ran a 3:45:00 Marathon on a whim. Many assumed she cheated. A little bit of research shows her time is legitimate

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Sorry, Can’t Buy That

Outkick.com

So without a lick of training, other than running 13 miles on a treadmill years before the event, Gracie Hunt says she ran a marathon less than 26 minutes short of being elite?

BroBible.com

Those quotes were in response to this snippet from a New York Post article profiling Gracie Hunt, a former Miss Kansas, and the daughter of Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chief’s Chairman and CEO. Gracie ran the 2022 Aspen Valley Marathon in a time of 3:45:04 .

“I signed up for my first marathon about 13 hours before the race started,” said Hunt, who had stumbled upon a sign for the event after hiking with her mom.

“I had never run in a registered race before this point and had never run more than 13 miles consecutively, and that was on treadmill several years before… [I] took a chance, registered at about 5 p.m. that evening, and ran it at 6 a.m. the next day, and finished it in three hours and 45 minutes, and that is what started my marathon career.”

As pointed out on Barstool Sports, shockingly acting as the voice of reason on this story, the updated version of The NY Post article removed the above excerpt. it was presumably removed due to the backlash that unfairly ensued.

Outkick

Outkick.com

Outkick.com referenced an article claiming that 3:19:09 is the average elite time for a 20-30 year old female to back up their claim that Gracie’s time was impossible.

Their “Big J Journalism” consisted of looking up the flawed statistics on Elite marathon times.

Flawed Research

The definition of “ came from a blog post from marathoreference.com.

First, they defined what is an Elite:

Elite runners are defined as faster than 95% of other runners and have over five years of running experience, and have dedicated themselves to competing in the sport professionally.

OK, assuming we accept that definition, they somehow came to the determination that 3:19:09 is an elite time for a 22 year old female. The same chart also claims that 2:49:13 is an elite male time. No one that has dedicated themselves to competing professionally is averaging those times.

For reference, in The 2022 Boston Marathon, 3:19:09 would have been good for 1300th place among female athletes.

Either of these times is impressive, but hardly Elite, and well slower than the Olympic Qualifying times of 2:18:00 for men and 2:37:00 for women. Even these times aren’t typically considered as Elite.

BroBible

BroBible curiously found the same obscure source that Outkick.com used in defining an elite marathoner.

If she just rolled up to a marathon on a lark and ran a 3:45 then her time at that event, after months of training, that ought to firmly place her dead center in the elite category in her next race.

So without a lick of training, other than running 13 miles on a treadmill years before the event, Gracie Hunt says she ran a marathon less than 26 minutes short of being elite?

Buried at the bottom article they included video of her finishing the race.

UPDATE: There is video of Gracie Hunt finishing her marathon in 3:45, so it’s true. Something is missing from the story though. To go from never having “run more than 13 miles consecutively… on treadmill several years before” to running 26 miles straight on roads is quite a jump. Perhaps she was training in other ways, but it was left out of the story?

Three things.

  1. Do your own research. I will share my research in the next section. 5 Minutes of Googling would have made it clear that Gracie was capable of this performance.
  2. Don’t bury your update at the bottom of the page – most readers of BroBible probably stopped after some of the photos in the article.
  3. While I am glad they reached the proper conclusion that Gracie ran the full race. – the finish line video isn’t proof. Since she had an official time, she had to have crossed the finish line (or at least her bib had to cross).

Research – Gracie Was Clearly Capable of This Time

Aspen Valley Marathon

Findmymarathon.com

The Aspen Valley Marathon is a downhill course. Downhill courses generally result in faster times. A 3:45:00 time on a downhill course, may be comparable to a 4:00:00 marathon on a flatter course. This course advertises a total elevation drop of 1418 feet, and claims to be one of the 50 fastest marathons in North America.

I think I have made the point that Gracie ran a fast, but not elite time on a fast course. Her time at The Aspen Valley Marathon was not fast enough to qualify for Boston. She would need a time of 3:30:00 to qualify for Boston.

Other Races

Gracie has run two more races of interest after her debut Marathon.

October 9th 2022 – Boulderthon Marathon – 3:47:27

The Boulderthon Marathon is another net downhill course. Gracie hit all the checkpoints and finished with a similar time as she did in Aspen. She went out fast and crashed a bit at the end. She appears in plenty of photos on the course. There is no doubt this time is legitimate.

December 9th 2022 – Dallas Half Marathon – 1:33:06

Dallas Half Marathon

Her time of 1:33:06 is slightly faster than her half split at Boulderthon. Again, she appears in plenty of on course photos. There is no doubt this result is legitimate, and is further evidence of her running ability.

Boston 2023

While Gracie has not qualified for The Boston Marathon, she is reportedly running it with a charity bib. The New York Post article stated that she is raising money for The Special Olympics.

Hopefully the evidence presented here is definitive enough that people won’t be looking to Boston to validate her previous results. Boston is a difficult course, and often run in difficult weather.

It’s possible she will run a new Personal Record, but it is just as likely that she will run over 4 hours. Regardless of the result, there is no doubt that her results have been legitimate, and quite impressive for a new runner.

Summary

It should have been clear to anyone that Gracie was not getting off the sofa to run a race. She was clearly in good condition. Her definition of not training is likely very different than most of our definitions. She didn’t go from couch to marathon. Whatever workouts she was doing obviously translated well to marathoning.

If you want an example of a truly outrageous claim, think back to when Brie Tiesi claimed to run 4 min ute miles for the final 6 miles of a half marathon.

BroBible and Outkick clearly owe Gracie an apology, not some half hearted disclaimer at the end of an article.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Is this only suspicious because she’s related to a celebrity?? What’s the average time for a first marathon?
    I don’t think it’s a big deal, as your article showed. Having said that, if a Kardashian did this having proclaimed that they did no training, I’d call foul. It is just a little weird that a person just decides the night before and can do this. How do you have the correct shoes and socks for 26.2 miles, having never done a long training run? I believe it, I just think it’s weird and not an everyday occurrence. But thanks for doing the actual journalism here.

  2. I appreciate this article defending a legitimate result just as much as I appreciate those where cheating is identified. Good work.

    I’d bet Gracie works out regularly and does a fair amount of cardio or HIIT style workouts to build aerobic capacity. If she’s a naturally gifted runner (which appears to be the case) who’s generally quite fit, this result tracks.

  3. It’s always funny to me how media sources (using that term loosely) accept some claimed results that anyone with any knowledge of running would fairly easily be able to refute – and in this case it’s the opposite. And the reasons posted by those sites in this case just put them in a position to look even worse. Being skeptical is fine, just do 5 minutes of research or talk to somebody who knows a little bit about this sport before spouting off like the expert that you’re not.

    I’m assuming based on the picture that Gracie Hunt is mid 20’s? I’ve known plenty of young adult runners who posted good results, even without what most of us would call “proper marathon training”. 3:45 is fine. Above average by a fair amount, nowhere close to elite. 8:30 pace, something like that?

    My first marathon, 3:12. Longest training run was 12. Longest running race before that marathon was two 10k’s. Average weekly mileage, ~40. Had only been running consistently for about 16 months, but had run occasionally for about 5 years before that. No natural talent as a runner (ask anybody I grew up with). 1:28/1:44 splits. Based on what I put up, not surprised by Gracie’s result at all.

  4. i think I’ve written to you previously – I did my first marathon whilst working in Indonesia because the running group I was with was saying things like you cant run a marathon without training. But I could , so I signed up for the KL marathon and did pretty bad 4:15 or so , disappointed so thought need to get better, signed up for Kuching marathon in Borneo same sort of time – again thought could do better. Signed up for Canberra got 3:26 . Looking at the times it looks ipossible , but its the heat… I got a 2:15 half marathon in France full of beer, but best marathon time was 3:13 ish to qualify for boston. Not everyone follows the path that is set out.

  5. Totally believable, 40 years ago I was a beginner marathon runner, Usually I would do about 30 km on a Sunday morning, talking to my neighbour over the fence what we were going to do that day I said :” going for 30 k, he said : wait for me i’ll join you. He was no runner at all, did fair bit of gym work. He joined me on tennis shoes. I would do 30 km in about 2 .10. he was there all the way, couldn’t walk for days but still….

  6. I’ve been waiting for your response. While 3:45 is a decent time, especially for a new runner with no training, it is nowhere near an elite time. I read an article about her race and thought yes, she has some natural talent, some base fitness, and I’d love to see what she can so if she actually trains for her next race. And, let’s see what Marathon Investigation has to say.

  7. how much of this news was followed by the running community versus one site trolling a notable woman and getting anyone and pile on? A real question. I ask because the details like times for elite runners are laughable and would be dismissed by anyone with any knowledge of marathon running.

  8. Are there splits for the 2022 Aspen Valley Marathon? Did she put up a GPS file?

    Absolutely not doubting her, but understand some of the scepticism given the time and lack of preparation claim. The splits and GPS are what normally exposes people, they should equally also be a way to defend the perfomance?

  9. With all due respect, an OTQ would get you an “elite entry” in several marathons throughout the US. Even the elite standards for Boston aren’t too far off of the OTQ times (2:13 for men and 2:35 for women). To say that someone who has qualified to compete in the US Olympic trials (in any event for that matter) isn’t typically considered Elite is a horribly ignorant take in my opinion.

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