America Fun Fact of the Day Presents: Foreigners Who Cheated at Marathons

“I’m the best, man, I deed it.”

~Eli Porter

Believe it or not, despite the high fat, high alcohol diet our entire staff is mandated to adhere to, one of our writers ran a marathon back in 2006.  When we asked him to explain why he would subject himself to the excessive training required to run a distance that killed the first person who ever attempted to run it, he just shrugged and said, “I heard that they were giving out free beer to runners at the fifteen mile mark.  And they did.  So you know, free beer.”  When we pointed out that he had to pay a good amount of money just to run in the Marathon in the first place, he stopped listening and took a nap.

The thing with Marathons is that the main reason most of us run them is to just say we did.  Yet despite that, now runners are fitted with a special microchip that tracks their race (and disqualifies them if they try any shortcuts).  And part of the reason we have to do that is because of someone who wasn’t born in America.  But we’ll get to that later.

America has no problem with cheating, but we at least try to be decent about it.  Yes, it’s technically cheating if you take performance enhancing drugs, but seriously, if you’re on steroids, you still have to exercise six hours a day to become a professional level athlete.   Plus you’re ruining your bodies doing it, so you at least pay for what you’re doing when you cheat like that.  Plus, it’s not cheating if you don’t get caught, and American’s don’t like to get caught (high five Lance Armstrong!)

Which is why we’re proud to point out three high profile cases where people cheated in running a Marathon…by simply skipping to the finish line.  And why is this an American Fun Fact?  Because it proves that America is superior, since every instance listed is from a non-American.  Take that, rest of the world’s self-esteem.  We might never beat a Kenyan in a Marathon again, but we can at least take solace in the fact that we went about things more honestly than these three people.

America Fun Fact of the Day Presents:  Foreigners Who Cheated at Marathons


1.        Rob Sloan Doesn’t Know How to Cheat Properly, Does Know How to Use the Public Transit System

This grinning sweaty feller up there is Rob Sloan, a British runner who actually won a 10k, which is what you’re seeing a photo of.  He unfortunately made the poor decision to run that 10k the day before he had a marathon scheduled.  He seems to be a pretty accomplished runner, having his own running suit and apparently being keenly aware of the runner’s secret that piercing both of your ears actually makes you faster.

He also looks a lot like Charlie from Lost.

Sloan finished third place in the Kielder Marathon, a British race widely considered the “most beautiful Marathon in England” by people who are really good at disguising the fact that their race isn’t important enough to get Kenyans to run it.  When reporters went up to him, he said he gave the race all that he had, probably while mumbling under his breath “because I only had 20 miles in me.”

After about 20 miles of a race, most runners run out of Carbs and their body begins to burn fat.  Your body has a much easier burning Carbs than fat- in fact, when your body reaches that point it starts burning muscle as well.  This is called “hitting the wall.”  Every long distance racer has faced it.  Experienced runners just run through it.  Others choose to intake Carbs through gel packs or Gatorade to combat this.

Rob Sloan decided to hop on a fucking bus.

So with six miles left to go, Sloan hopped on a bus (filled with spectators) and then hid behind some trees near the finish line (which was littered with spectators) and then waited for the second place person to go past him (because apparently Sloan wanted to cheat, but not cheat well enough to win– like we said, foreigners don’t get it) and then finished third.  He lashed out at people suggesting he might have cheated by saying, “I am upset and angry that someone wants to cast these allegations” which is probably English-speak for “Shit, you got me.”  It didn’t help that the guy who actually finished third (and is kind of pissed off to have been robbed of his chance to enjoy his third place finish on the podium) never saw Sloan pass him during the race.

Now Sloan is a laughingstock of the running community, all because he decided to take a bus…to still not win the damn race.  But then again, no one cares about the guy who won the race, they just care about the guy that cheated, so if his plan was to become moderately well known among people that read AFFotD, then well done, Rob.

But, in Sloan’s defense, he was just a runner who got lazy after his body gave up on him 20 miles into a race.  At least he wasn’t some politician getting busted for cheating in a marathon…

2.        Roberto Madrazo is a Politician Who Got Busted For Cheating in a Marathon (Not Being Flash Gordon)

You see that old guy who looks like he just finished a killer 2 mile power walking session with your mom and her friends?  That is Roberto Madrazo, which is Spanish for Robert Madrazo, and he is a Mexican career politician who decided to run a marathon at the ripe age of 55.  That’s pretty  impressive, since it takes a lot of dedication and effort to train your body to take the rigors of oh who are we kidding, the fucker cheated.  Oh of course he cheated.

The Mexican Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace up here claims that he ran the Berlin marathon in two hours and forty minutes– just 35 minutes shy of the world record.  At the age of 55.  So we’re being led to believe that 55-year-old man (who, by the way, isn’t even a professional athlete) is in good enough shape to finish 146th out of 40,000 runners? 

Yeah, because he totally didn’t.  After running the first 12 miles or so at a respectable pace, he suddenly “re-appeared” 9 miles later.  You know, at that part of the race where all you have to do is take a quick shortcut to skip past nine miles of the race?

There is some sort of insanity that is necessary for Madrazo to expect us to believe he could run the race so quickly.  That’s rapidly reaching the point of just making up an absurd time and insisting you ran it that fast.  “I, Bob Madrazo, ran the marathon in fifteen minutes” would sound only slightly less believable, and a big reason for that is that he probably would have said that in Spanish instead of English.

Though, yet again, we have another person that doesn’t understand how cheating works.  You don’t run most of a race and skip a chunk of it just to finish respectably, you got to go for the whole banana.  Which of course leads us to the most famous example of something cheating in a marathon…

3.       Rosie Ruiz Straight Up Doesn’t Give a Shit.   

Rosie Ruiz Vivas was born in Cuba, but her true dream was to fake a marathon victory and then get arrested a bunch.  So in a lot of ways, this is an uplifting story about someone grabbing themselves by the bootstraps and achieving their dreams.  But in a more realistic way, it’s about a fucking cheater.  In fact, she was so good at it, she cheated twice.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Back in 1979, Rosie Ruiz decided that she wanted to run the New York Marathon fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, one of the most selective marathons in the world.  While most people who pursue this goal have “stamina” and “years of training” under their belts, Rosie figured, fuck it, she could just ride the New York subway after running ten miles instead.

So she did.

Now if the story had ended with her fabricated 24th place finish in New York, she’d be just like Bobby Madrazo and Roberto Sloan- some non-American who cheated in order to not win a race.

But Rosie had moxie.  Rosie had heart.  Rosie really didn’t know when to stop pushing her luck.

So that’s why, in 1980, Rosie Ruiz “ran” the Boston Marathon, this time cheating herself to a finishing time of 2:31:56.  Not only was this the fastest time in event history, the person who finished in second would have otherwise set the same record.  So not only did she cheat so well as to give herself a record, she cheated so well that she smashed that record to pieces.  When a reporter asked her why she didn’t seem very tired, she replied, “I got up with a lot of energy this morning.”  We’re pretty sure after she said that she added, “wink wink.”

It didn’t take long for her cheating to be discovered (weirdly enough, world-class runners tend to remember if someone ever ran past them or not) and she was disqualified from her New York Marathon finish, and eventually her Boston Marathon finish as well.  The best part of the entire thing is that the person that actually won the marathon (Jacqueline Gareau, who history will remember far less than it remembers Rosie Ruiz) was given a press conference to name her the winner…which included her jogging 20 yards to run across a fake finish line.  We’re not making that up.  They literally made-pretend to finish the marathon to make Gareau’s actual win somehow more “legit.”  So we can at least thank Rosie Ruiz for giving us what probably was the funniest press conference of all time (they even gave Gareau a bigger medal than the one they gave Ruiz).

Rosie went on to have an illustrious career, getting arrested for embezzlement in 1982, as well as being arrested for being involved in a cocaine deal (though in her defense, she was living in Miami in the 1980’s at the time), but from now on she lives her life one of the most famous marathon runners in the world…simply for the fact that she didn’t finish the race.

And that is the story of the three non-Americans who decided to cheat at marathons, something Americans would never dream of doing.  Except for the 46 who cheated in the New York Marathon in 2008.  Um..wait…

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