Despite the hostility and abomination the majority of runners feel about runners who cheat during marathons, this shameful act is still prevalent that bring with them an honorary lifetime of curse and contempt. Running–or running a long distance race like a marathon or ultramarathon is supposed to be a pure, honest sport where patience, sacrifice, courage, solitude, victory and defeat are components of what this sport is about–an honest assessment of oneself.
Yet, this noblest of sports is robbed of its purity when some cheapie runners succumb to temptation and flaunt it without shame. I was a bit sad when i heard that last Sunday’s Tagaytay To Kawit 50k Ultramarathon was marred by a few cheaters, making this new ultramarathon race another breeding ground for these pests to lay their eggs on.
Unbelievable that some of these runners were brazen enough to cross the finish line when they were seen being dropped-off at a point near the finish from a vehicle and sheepishly continued their run.
Too, some Milo Marathons in the past and even the BDM 102km Ultramarathon which is supposed to be the foremost ultra race here was not spared by these cheats. All the tricks in the books have been employed and here are some of the methods used by these charlatans:
1. Taking a lift from a vehicle (usually their own support vehicle) when no one is watching to take them nearer the finish line.
2. Riding in a bus, taxi, jeepney, tricycle, motorcycle or other public transportation after taking off their race bib nos. or putting on another shirt to conceal it and getting off near the finish, replacing their bibs and continuing their run.
3. Taking short-cuts, applying trick no. 2, pretending to jog by their lonesome (oblivious to their surroundings) then joining the race again after the short-cut has been made.
4. Stepping off the course, hiding in a building or gas station or making a stop-over at a fastfood joint to eat while killing time to re-join when runners have come back from the turn-around point.
5. Stopping at a designated place then taking off their official bib or timing chip and giving it to a faster runner to officially record their progress along the course.
6. Have another impostor run on your behalf or make him run the first 42k and hand back the identification back to you so you could finish the last 195 meters!
7. Scanning an original race bib and making a counterfeit bib out of it with exact size, text and color giving the semblance that you are officially registered and therefore running the race legally! (I’ve witnessed this personally being fabricated on a Photocopy shop near POEA. The race was for a Runrio event!)
These are some of the scam i have witnessed personally and heard from co-runners and if you have other more to add, please do so. Race Directors should have the option of either exposing these cheats publicly if they are confident that cheating has occured or informing them privately that they are being banned from their future races.
Distance running and bus riding do not mix—unless you are competing in the “Amazing Race”!