A couple of days ago my good friend and running machine put a post on Facebook. She had a picture of a runner she named as Cheater who had just “won” an overall 10K victory.
Mrs. Cheater had signed up for the 10K and then completed the course in 32:17 minutes. If it’s true that is an amazing feat, the world record for females is less than 3 minutes faster. But it doesn’t seem as if it could be true. Mrs. Cheater ran a race two weeks prior and while it was twice as far (a half marathon), her per mile was over 13 minutes in that event compared to just over 5 in this one. Now there was also a 5K race and as it started and finished at the same point it seems likely that was the race that she ran. So at what point does something like this become cheating? Did she simply follow the wrong signs, take a wrong turn, make a mistake? Sure, I can see how that could happen, but what about being awarded and accepting the overall winners award?
Running seems to be becoming rampant with cheating. A quick google search shows that it is widespread. There was one race that I passed the same runner 3 times, always just after a timing mat. She finished several minutes in front of me but I saw her go by once in a car. I really don’t understand it, when I run a race, in reality I’m just running against myself. If I cheat, I’m not cheating anyone except myself. Maybe it’s because I rarely find myself among the leaders? No, if that were true then wouldn’t I be one of the ones trying to cheat so I could get a medal I didn’t earn? Like I said, I just don’t get it.
Again, I was not there and maybe it was a mistake this time but what about all the others? What I do get is that we, the running community need to stand up and do something about cheaters. We should keep an eye out for those that break the rules and report them when it happens. If the race organizers chose not to care then what? Do we hit the social networks about it? If we do then do we go after the runners or the organizers? I really don’t know what the answer is. Maybe Runners World, Run UK or some other group that can reach thousands needs to take the lead and help us decide how best to handle this because if we don’t stop it now, it will only get worse! It’s a matter of character, a matter of honor and this is our sport.