Everyone's a Winner
Nov 26, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Marathon runners are cheaters. Not all of them, or even most of them, mind you. But of all the major endurance sports—bicycling, running, swimming—the men and women hoofing it at the 26.2-mile distance are the ones most prone not just to doping and steroids and other chemical/mechanical shenanigans, but outright cheating.
The most famous case is Rosie Ruiz who, in 1980, won the Boston Marathon in the astonishing time of 2:31:56. People were suspicious about Miss Ruiz from the start, or rather the finish. She didn’t seem particularly tired when she crossed the line and her musculature was not—how to put this delicately—typical of the long-distance runner. Then there was the strange fact that none of the other runners remembered seeing her until the end of the race. And that she appeared in none of the thousands of photographs of runners taken during the event. It turned out that Ruiz didn’t just cheat in Boston (she hid in the crowd a half-mile from the finish and then jumped onto the course when no one was looking). She had cheated at the New York Marathon a few months earlier in order to qualify for Boston (she started the race, hopped off the course, took the subway to the finish, then feigned injury, then slipped out of the injury tent where volunteers cluelessly marked her as a finisher). And for good measure, a couple years later she was jailed for embezzlement.