When the going gets tough, cheaters take the bus.
And, in the case of British marathoner Rob Sloan, get caught, villified and humiliated.
The former Army mechanic flagged down a bus at the 20-mile mark of the Kielder Marathon in Nurthumberland, got off near the finish line and waited behind a tree for the lead runners to approach. He jumped back into the race and claimed third place in 2 hours, 51 minutes.
His success was short-lived. The bus Sloan boarded was filled with marathon spectators who became suspicious, and the real third place runner smelled something afoul because he never saw Sloan pass him.
The Daily Mail reports that Mr. Sloan initially called the accusations ‘laughable’. ‘I’m upset and angry that someone wants to cast these aspersions,’ he said.
But Kevin Carr, the chairman of Sunderland Harriers, said: ‘It’s blatant cheating as far as I’m concerned and as a club we’re going to come down really hard on him.’
Sloan may never find himself back in the good graces of the Harriers, but it's likely he will live down his dishonesty. Rosie Ruiz still hasn't, after more than 30 years. She is the standard-bearer for the marathon cheat.
I found this piece, a look back at what Ruiz did in the 1980 Boston Marathon, and noted this passage written by Neil Amdur:
"Cheating has always existed in subtle forms on playing fields. How many tennis opponents do you know who will always call a shot out even when the ball lands six inches inside the line? What about weekend golfing pals who can't resist moving their ball from deep rough for a better lie? Auto racing lore is filled with stories about garage mechanics making under-the-hood adjustments that somehow escape the engine monitors. Pine tar or corked baseball bats. Battery-operated buzzers for thoroughbred horses. Boxing gloves filled with whatever. Illegal hockey sticks.Road racing was supposed to be different. Long-distance runners, independent and eclectic, saw themselves as purists of mind, body and soul."