Runner’s World Editor Responds: “I am Not a Cheat”

In statement to The Telegraph, Kate Carter admits to manually creating route and possibly cutting some portions of Half Marathon Course

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Kate Carter issued a statement to The Telegraph regarding the allegations that were posted in a Marathon Investigation article from January 30th.

Kate did send an email to Marathon Investigation immediately following publication of the article. In the email she maintained that the article I published was “defamatory and ethically irresponsible”.

Additionally, she stated that she did not see where I attempted to contact her. I replied to her immediately asking what specifically was inaccurate and showing evidence that I did attempt to reach out as was previously stated.

Statement to The Telegraph

Kate did address some of the issues raised in The Telegraph.

She admits to manually creating the route for The London Marathon.

But she then ran quicker than expected and wanted to upload it to her Strava account: “This is when I made the mistake of trying to create a route manually based on my time.” she said. “Soon after I realised this was foolish and removed it from my feed.

“I also feel it is important to admit that part of this was about my ego. Even in the amateur running world there is pressure to maintain form and times… My own desire to be seen to be doing well at a time when I was feeling weak and below par, resulted in a momentary lapse of judgment which I very much regret.”

Regarding The London Landmarks Half Marathon, she stops short of saying she intentionally cut the course.

Addressing the half marathon anomaly, she said she had “very unfortunately and embarrassingly had wet myself and wanted therefore to step off the course to try and sort myself out” which is “something that happens to many runners”.

“When I rejoined the race, it is possible that I did so at the wrong point on the course, though that was not my intention,” she added, insisting that “I made some stupid mistakes in how I recorded my times on my personal Strava record” but that she “was in no way trying to deceive the organisers of either event about my times”.

Analysis

The photos irrefutably show that her Garmin was not dead. If Kate ran the full course, her watch would have reflected that fact, and she would have no reason not to upload the correct run to Strava. The only reason, given that her watch was not dead, to upload another runner’s data would be because her data showed that she ran less than the race distance.

Kate still appears in official results of The London Landmarks Half Marathon.

Lastly, if she was off the course for any period of the time, her pace would calculate to be substantially faster. If she were off the course for 5 minutes, her moving pace between 10k and 20k calculates to 3:20 per km or 6:19 per mile. If she were off the course for 10 minutes her pace enters elite territory at 2:55 per km or 4:42 per mile had she run the entire course.

It is likely that she did have an issue and stepped off the course. If that portion of her statement is accurate, then she skipped a significant portion of the course. If she did this unintentionally, she would have had to have known very shortly after entering the course and seeing markers on the course.

Summary

It is rare that someone fully admits to wrongdoing after an article is published. I think Kate made progress, but that she only partially came clean.

Admittedly this case is only of real public interest because of Kate’s status as a journalist Runner’s World. Given her position, she is being held to a higher standard.

I’ve seen plenty of instances of runner’s exaggerating their results or cheating because of social media and runners wanting to present themselves in a better light.

I can appreciate that Kate may have felt those pressures more than some given her position. I am not offering this up as an excuse for Kate, but as an acknowledgment of her likely motivation.

Ironically, in searching for her email today, I found this from 2016 while Kate was with The Guardian. She sent me questions via email, and I responded.

This question jumped out.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This is an interesting example of how bizarre humans can be!

    Kate is well known – she was great on “The Running Channel” giving advice in a chatty and informed manner.
    She is a fine example of an amateur runner; regarded as someone who (with the aid of genetics: so slim!) can be a mother and a fast runner by working hard. Well under 38 mins 10k …
    plus lot’s more.
    She says she felt under pressure to perform: by whom? Thinking about it for 30seconds surely – as an amateur runner, well known for being fast and committed but *real* – the best story as a journalist would have been..
    “I was slow cos I needed to use the loo”
    “Technology goes wrong”
    “I really messed that up! No chip timing, needing the loo…”
    “This is what running a race can be like”

    A much more interesting take for *the ordinary runner* than
    “I finished in under 1hr 33mins”.

    • I’m very surprised runners world has been quiet. Kate has cheated, it is obvious she has cheated, and she should resign or be terminated.

    • Just had this conversation today. It’s a shame, as there were clearly pressures people on the outside don’t understand. I hope she’s okay, and I hope there’s a way forward. It’s nice hearing from a ‘faster average’ runner as I can’t think of anyone else who comes from that niche. Personally, I would have preferred a real account of what happened and why, and a vow to never run with misleading results again.

  2. Thanks for the follow up. Take a look at Berlin 2016. I suspect this highly suspicious time (faulty timing chip and partial GPS recording) was used to qualify her in the London Marathon Championships in 2017 (sun 3:15 required) Impossible she ran 3h 9m unless she went with the elite men as her gun time = chip time.

      • Very weird. It could be nothing…it could be something. There are too many red flags here though. I’d be interested to know what “evidence” she gave to Berlin Marathon for them to give her the 3h 9m time. From her Guardian Blog on Sep 26 2016 “…I know it was under 3hr 10min because I noticed the clock hadn’t ticked to that when I crossed the line.”

  3. This is a clear case of cheating and her continued attempts to minimise and justify this behaviour demonstrates a lack of integrity. People are asking why she would do this. She describes herself as an amateur runner, but to be clear, her London Marathon time would provide her a Boston Qualifier, a Good for age at London and entry into any race she wishes.

    There is absolutely no way someone with her experience would mistakenly enter.the course at the wrong point, and claiming her watch is not working and creating her own GPS map is undeniable evidence of her cheating.

    This should result in a lifetime ban for London Marathon at least

  4. Seems like her running has taken a real hit which is not uncommon in 45+ women, it’s sad that she doesn’t feel she can be honest and that she persists in lying about what’s really gone on here. Integrity matters. How you respond when you’ve f*cked up is also a sign of integrity and whether you will really learn going forwards.

  5. In the Daily Mail article yesterday it says “…’I ran without a chip, having removed it from my number before the start (I had a legitimate place, which I had earned through a time qualifier).”

    She did not have a time to qualify her for this event according to all publicly available results. Closest she got was a HM in 2022 but she missed the time by 4 sec.

    Another lie?

  6. I just can’t accept her answers.
    She is a highly experienced amatuer runner.
    The photos are clear; watch was working, bib was deliberately obscured.
    It’s not so cut and dried based on her Power of Ten, but is it possible that, like me, as you get a bit older (I am 46) you slow down a bit? I’ve found the motivation has gone a little too, I’m not as driven as I was.
    At Oxford Half, I needed the loo, luckily they had Portaloo’s right by the course so no issue.
    You’d have known immediately on re joining if you’d really “accidentally” cut the course.
    My comment on the original post remains what I think, she cheated on purpose at London Landmarks. In about 12 years of running, I’ve never once had an issue with my bib meaning I’ve had to move or alter it in any way.

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