Course Cutting/Bib Cheating Prevalent at The Chicago Marathon

It is estimated that 275 runners have been removed from the 2023 Chicago Marathon Results

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It is estimated that 275 runners have been removed from the 2023 Chicago Marathon Results

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2022 Chicago Marathon Re-cap

After The 2022 Chicago Marathon, I wrote about runners cutting the course. I estimated that 47 runners cut the course after the 35k timing mat.

In total, approximately 100 runners were removed from the 2022 Chicago Marathon results. This estimate is based on the number of runners appearing in early scrapes of Chicago Marathon results vs the number of runners showing in the final official results.

2023 Chicago Marathon

An early analysis of The 2023 Chicago Marathon shows that over 275 runners have been removed from the marathon results.

To The Chicago Marathon’s credit, they removed the questionable finishers almost immediately. Unfortunately, for me, that makes it a bit more difficult to analyze those specific results. If you search for a removed runner’s bib number or name, their result will show up. But they are not listed in the master list of finishers. We are working on identifying all those runners that were disqualified. However, some were identified immediately after the race.

It is worth noting that some of the runners removed could be added back into the results. Conversely, additional runners may be removed.

A Repeat Offender

Carlos was among the runners listed in the 2022 article. He did not miss any splits, but had a suspiciously fast split between 35k and 40k. He was slowing down gradually throughout the race, from 8:40 minute miles to over 11 minutes per mile from 25k to 35k, He inexplicable ran his fastest split between 35k and 40k before again slowing to over an 11 minute per mile pace until the finish.

We see a similar, but more obvious pattern in 2023.

Carlos has already been removed from the results for 2023.

Illegal Pacing Using an old Bib

Alyssa finished The Chicago Marathon with a time over 4 hours. Judging by all available evidence, she ran the entire course. However, she is not listed in the results. Presumably she was removed because of the runner in the green shirt. This runner is her husband. He was not registered for the race and was wearing Alyssa’s 2022 Chicago Marathon bib. This situation should serve as a warning for others, that if you use an illegal pacer, you risk disqualification.

Another Fake Bib

In this case, Ynez was running what was to be her final marathon. She says she trained for a year for this race. She injured herself and pushed herself to a tough finish. As she posted on TikTok, she was very upset to find out someone created a forgery of her bib.

@duchesspinky #greenscreen tiktok please HELP ME find this person who made a counterfeit bib with my race number!!! ##chicagomarathon##marathon##marathonstory##storytime ♬ original sound – Ynez

If anyone knows who this runner is, please message me privately at derek@marathoninvestigation.com and I will pass it along. Please do not publicly speculate as to the runner’s identity.

There are additional runners that I am still investigating. I have received dozens of messages regarding potential cheating and am looking through the complete results to identify runners that may have been missed by the race. For the most part, I am impressed with Chicago’s expediency in scrubbing their results.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I ran Chicago in 2022 and, I’ve gotta say, that spot on the south side of the course is a mighty tempting place to cut. That said, there are so many spectators I’m shocked anybody actually cuts there.

  2. Talk about lack of ambition. I mean, if I ever cheat in a marathon, I’m going to leave myself with a 2:25 finish. Cheating to get a 4:19 is just a waste of everyone’s time.

  3. These are 2 weird, very different types of cheating.

    Alyssa & husband — bandits/illegal pacers are the worst. I assume the mindset is some combination of (1) I wanted something, so I took it, and (2) I’ve done no real harm because one extra person is insignificant in a 45000-person race. It’s basically the same mindset behind shoplifting and all kinds of other petty theft. How many of the other 45000 runners would have enjoyed bringing a friend along for free? I get it–you wanted to run the Chicago Marathon with your husband. But it’s expensive or requires planning, or maybe you won’t both get in through the lottery… Too bad. Find another race, do charity, or keep trying with the lottery. One of the FAQs on the website is literally “What happens if my friend or family member gets selected and I don’t?” https://www.chicagomarathon.com/runners/frequently-asked-application-questions/ The answer isn’t “sneak that person in with a bib from last year.”

    Carlos’s story somehow bothers me less but confuses me more. It’s harder to see the harm from a ~4:40 marathoner cutting 2 miles from the end of the course, but I don’t understand why anyone would do it. He’s paid for his bib, he’s not taking an award from someone else (he would’ve been roughly 1900th place in his age group if he’d stayed in the results). I suppose it’s dishonest to take a finisher medal you haven’t earned…. BUT WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS? You’ve paid for a marathon bib, you’re in shape enough to run 24 miles, you’ve already run 22.5… the out & back is coming up–why not just finish the race legitimately? I can almost understand the idea of having a moment of weakness late in the race and making a bad decision, but apparently he did this last year too? Who does this? Why enter a marathon year after year, run for 4+ hours, and cut 2 miles of the course? No one you know will care about your slightly faster finish line, but you’ll always know that you’re the sort of person who cheats gratuitously.

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