Alleged Course Cutter Competes at Boston, DNFs, Claims Finisher’s Medal

Tim's Boston Bound result in September, 2022 also qualifies him for The 2024 Boston Marathon


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Tim Hepler qualified for the 2023 Boston Marathon by claiming a time of 3:23:29 at The Boston Bound Marathon on September 4th 2022 in John’s Creek Georgia.

Despite the evidence presented in this September 22 article, the race has not disqualified Tim. The Boston Bound Marathon is a 1 mile looped course. Tim started running just over 8 minute miles, and his splits were gradually slowing, until at mile 6, he claimed a sub 6 minute mile. He followed that up with a number of sub 7 minute miles. His previous Marathon Personal record was 4:51:05. He hasn’t averaged under a 7 minute mile in his fastest 5ks.

2023 Boston Marathon

Tim started the race running an 8 minute mile, and was gradually slowing down. His last registered 5k split was run at 8:55 per mile between 20k and 25k. He stopped showing splits at this point.

The asterisked times were estimates, not actual times.

While Tim did not finish, he was presumably dropped off in the finish area. Whether he was shuttled there, or took other transportation is unknown. He showed up in a few photos near the end of the race.

Tim is shown in the finisher area, with a finisher’s medal. Note that these are not Boston participation medals, but Boston FINISHER medals. Besides the fact that Tim never should have been qualified to run The Boston Marathon in the first place, by his own admission, he did not complete the race.

To add insult to injury, some legitimate finishers did not receive their medals upon finishing the marathon. At least one runner can blame Hepler. Others can at least partially blame runners who bandited or copied bibs. It is unclear how many bandits, non-finishers and bib forgers took medals or if they are solely to blame, but these dishonest runners certainly contributed to the problem.

Tim Helper is qualified for The 2024 Boston Marathon

Tim claimed his qualifying time at The Boston Bound Marathon, on September 4th 2022. In addition to serving as his qualifying time for the 2023 Boston Marathon, he is currently eligible to use this time to register for the 2024 Boston Marathon.

The Boston Bound Marathon has stated that short of an eyewitness account of Tim cheating, that they would not disqualify him. I received one email from a runner, but he was not confident enough to state with 100% certainty that the runner he saw acting suspiciously was Hepler. I am hoping that should Tim attempt to register for The 2024 Boston Marathon that the BAA will step in and disallow his entry.

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  1. I have a friend who did finish Boston this year and once she crossed the finish line she was having medical issues but got across and then was told that there was no medals left. She was bummed but was still having issues and was whisked away to the medical tent. Once she was all checked out they brought her a medal. She said I thought they ran out but they told her they keep a few on hand at the medical tent to give them out to those that come to the medical tent. I asked- her why? especially if they don’t finish-do those people still get medals? She said good question but she finished and didn’t ask any other questions so that is all that matters is that she finished and they gave her a medal at the medical tent. So it makes me wonder do all people that visit the medical tent get one or they just give them only to those that actually finish. this is a question that needs to be looked into.

  2. The timing chip is insufficient to ensure compliance with the rules. Photo ID is also required. At present cheaters simply need to have substutute runners carry the timing chip. Also, international runners qualifying for Boston need to run IAAF accredited marathons which are at a higher standard than USATF. The Boston bound marathon is a ridiculous course with tangent running encouraged. Depending on where the course is measured the actual running distance could be 10 percent less.

  3. Year: Finishers | Entrants (% finishers)
    2015: 26,598 | 30,251 (87.9%)
    2016: 26,629 | 30,741 (86.6%)
    2017: 26,400 | 30,074 (87.8%)
    2018: 25,907 | 30,088 (86.1%)
    2019: 26,762 | 30,351 (88.2%)
    2022: 24,908 | 28,580 (87.2%)
    2023: 26,610 | 30,239 (88.0%)

    Average of 87.3% of finishers for 2015-2019,2022. 1 std dev = 0.8. Avg+2 SD = 88.9% (97.5% coverage) = estimate of 26,883 finishers and need 273 medals unaccounted for. Avg+3 SD = 89.7 (99.9% coverage) = estimate of 27,125 finishers and need 515 medals unaccounted for.

    This year was not an outlier for finishers in terms of number or percentage. Roughly similar to 2015, 2017, and 2019. No idea how medals could have run out. Curious how many medals were purchased. Doesn’t seem plausible that there would be 250+ medals would go to runners who DNF, bandits, volunteers, spectators, etc. Maybe Derek has a better idea.

    • I assume you got these numbers based on official rankings?
      The very problem could simply be people running with fake bibs and not appearing in official rankings at all

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