Marathon Runner Hopped Bus to Complete Race
Case recalls Rosie Ruiz's short-lived 1980 win in the Boston Marathon
By Greg Wilson - Oct 12, 2011
The bronze medal was Rob Sloan's, but only briefly.
A marathon runner who placed third in a British race had a secret weapon: bus fare.
Rob Sloan completed the Kielder Marathon in a time of two hours, 51 minutes, but fellow runners immediately voiced suspicion, having not seen him toward the end of the race on Sunday, according to the Telegraph.
Sloan, 31, denied cheating at first, but then admitted hopping a bus at the 20-mile mark because he was feeling tired. He then re-emerged from a wooded area of the course and collected the bronze medal.
Witnesses reported seeing him crouched behind a tree until the first and second placed runners went past, then falling in behind them. He now faces dismissal from his club, Sunderland Harriers, and could be banned from future marathons.
There were other signs something wasn't right, according to Steve Cram, the former world record holder and organizer of the race, in Kielder Water, Northumberland.
“He was the only runner in the whole of the race who ran the second half quicker than the first half,” noted Cram.
Sloan was indignant when first accused of cheating.
“I’m upset and angry that someone wants to cast these aspersions," he said.
After Sloan's admission, race organizers issued a statement voiding his time.
“The athlete who was disqualified on Sunday after initially placing third has admitted that he failed to complete the whole course of 26.2 miles.," the statement said.
The case was reminiscent of the 1980 Boston Marathon, in which Rosie Ruiz initially won the women's division, but was later stripped of her victory when it was revealed that she didn't run the entire race.