England Athletics Takes No Action Against Kate Carter

EA Rules There was "No intention to deceive" and "No intent to benefit from the results."

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Kate Carter, Acting Commissioning Editor at Runner's World U.K., manually created a Strava entry and claimed it represented her London Marathon run. She stepped off the course of London Landmarks Half Marathon, re-entered at a different point with her bib folded and obscured. She posted another runner’s Strava as her own (until called out on it) and claimed her Garmin died even though photos show the watch was functioning. These facts are not disputed.

EA (England Athletics) has ruled regarding Kate's actions: From Athletic Weekly:

“England Athletics received information relating to alleged cheating by an EA-licenced athlete in two events during 2023. A thorough investigation into both incidents has been carried out, the results of which have found there was no intention to deceive and no attempt to benefit from the results.

As such, neither of these incidents meet the EA threshold for serious misconduct. In athletics – as with all sports – integrity is vital. EA welcomes the opportunity to scrutinise where there are concerns, and to put every adequate resource into arriving at the correct outcome.

Out of respect for the individuals involved, we will be releasing no further details of this investigation.”

The EA does not clear her of fabricating entries or cutting the course short at London Landmarks. They ruled that her actions did not warrant the EA threshold for serious misconduct.

Misrepresenting the EA's Ruling

However, other publications jumped at the chance to claim that this ruling was more than it was:

Carter’s husband, Shawn Ingle, The Chief Sports Reporter at The Guardian, took the opportunity to claim victory on X, and take a jab at Marathon Investigation.

A journalist should do better than twisting the facts to fit a narrative. Let the facts tell the story.

In a reply to that thread, he responded to a comment regarding the lack of a formal report by The EA. Ingle responded. Writing, in part, "Kate and I would be happy for them to do so - the timing chip data, what the races said. Essentially the more detail, the better"

The article that was originally published on Marathon Investigation has not been refuted. The article made no conclusions. I simply published the facts. I published the details, including the available timing chip data. As Kate concedes that she did not run the entire course at London Landmarks Half, I am unsure what timing chip data Ingle is referring to.

The Facts

  • Kate claims her watch died at London Landmark Half Marathon. Photos show her Garmin was not dead.
  • She later admitted that she re-entered the course at a different location.
  • She then used another runner's GPS data to post the half marathon run to Strava. As her Garmin was not dead, there is no plausible justification for using someone else's GPS data as her own.
  • She admits that she manually created The London Marathon Strava entry.

From The Telegraph:

“Running was a big part of my identity, whether it was volunteering, fundraising, racing or coaching for my local club, or writing about the sport I love. Having been cleared, I really hope to find that joy again.”

She later said she had ran the race without a chip, meaning she had no official time logged but she still wanted it marked on her Strava profile. “This was not an attempt to mislead or cheat,” she said.

Kate could have simply entered her run as a manual entry. She did not have to manually create a map to get credit on Strava for whatever that is worth.

Despite her admission that she did not run the entire course at London Landmarks Half Marathon, she remains in the official results and, according to Kate, they have gifted her an entry to The 2024 London Landmarks Half Marathon.

Why Does it Matter?

Some readers of the initial article found comments Kate made regarding Marathon Investigation. Kate herself touched on why integrity matters in road running.

Kate also interviewed me in 2016 via email. A couple questions stood out.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon where the higher ups ignore facts and believe what they want to believe, especially if they like the person. But luckily, the facts are objective, clear, and speak for themselves (i.e. it’s a clear-cut case of intended cheating).

    Outstanding work as usual, Derek! (Donation coming)

  2. One thing that is worth noting is how well Carter and her husband are connected in the UK sports media world.

    All those headlines you share that falsely suggest she was cleared of cheating … were these from friends and industry contacts trying to protect her career?

    Marathon Handbook had a couple of balanced pieces on it which managed to stick to facts. The rest try and exonerate her…

  3. It is more than just her integrity. One of her excuses for running without a chip is that she expected to have a less-than-fast time. How are slower Runner’s World readers supposed to feel about that?

  4. I think KC has a fundamental failure to understand what makes for good reading. I think “I pooped my pants and had to drop out halfway through” would make for a much more interesting article than what she turned in.

  5. It’s sad to see the mainstream press ignoring (or worse) your (to my eye) thorough, objective, and credible work. I came to your site via a story in the Swiss Tagesanzeiger this morning. Keep up the good work. Donation made.

  6. Wow. Like, we never expected that — that England Athletics would build a protective fence around one of their own and dismiss actual and undisputed facts to exonerate their “esteemed” editor. “Innocent” they say. And The Guardian too jumped in to defend — oh, wait a minute, that is her husband. British journalism at its best (I hear that facts are less important in England). Hmm, maybe a certain Russian autocrat is a swell guy after all.
    She could have handled this so differently. Could have and should have.

  7. If she had been a regular no-name runner that didn’t work in the business and not so well connected, the result would have been different.
    I wonder what the threshold is for serious misconduct?
    Also sets a bad precedent for others, seems its OK to course cut (and other things!): as long as you needed the loo.

  8. I don’t understand how this is a hanging offence? She had a couple of runs from which resulted in no official result, and she temporarily fudged her own social media record of one to try avoid having to explain why she didn’t have an actual result from a half marathon in which she was in GI distress. Does she have a million Strava followers and is she falsely benefiting from the online clout? If this is all just playing out on her Strava feed, who cares?

    I was aware of someone who ran a marathon and claimed she ran sub-3 hours on her Strava feed, and that’s the time that was posted on her Strava result. The problem was that she actually stopped her watch before the finish line. It’s entirely dishonest, and not something I would support, but her official time and placement was recorded by her chip as being 3:01 and change. The people following her on Strava would have been misled, but the actual benefit of that is miniscule at best.

    So back to this English woman, who briefly posted a run and then unposted it, and then participated in a half marathon in which she had the unpleasant experience of the runner’s trots and tried to hide evidence of that. The benefit she gained from all of this (assuming no one found out) would have been a few kudos on Strava and a handful of people thinking she had some amount of success (not a great result in a half TBH).

    I get that she was dishonest, and for those people who still live VERY ONLINE, that’s not good. Sure, she’s a public figure who certainly derives some benefit from her status online. Sure, that public persona makes this A Story. However, I think Athletics England probably looked at this and thought that now the the running world now knows she probably pooed herself, that that shame is probably sufficient, which is why they’re not going to beat her up any further.

    Lucky for me I only have 50 followers on Strava and no one cares. Those runs where I had to duck off into the bushes or find a public toilet somewhere? I probably benefited from the rest I got while relieving myself while I paused my watch and I didn’t deserve the kudos I because the pace on the last 4-5 miles of those runs was artificially high.

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