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2019-07-07 10:05 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 113 references Ignore this thread
The Last Run
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Cheating in sporting events is nothing new.

Distance running events, in particular, are rife with it.  There's an entire cottage industry within the "marathon circuit", for example, of people who register and then someone else runs a good part of the course with the bib.  This is a double-cheat because the person not only is faster they don't run the whole 26.2 miles.  Then there are those who cut the course; a game of cat-and-mouse has long been played on that account by race organizers and course stewards who try to strategically place split-time mats (now that we have electronic timing) intended to DQ you for that, since you'll miss one or more of the mats.

But now, we have this and suddenly it's in the news.

A 70-year-old man found dead in the Los Angeles River on Thursday had been disqualified last week after appearing to set a new record for his age group in the city’s March marathon.

Frank Meza, a retired physician who had denied the cheating accusations, died Thursday after telling his wife he was going for a run.

This guy's time in the LA Marathon, 2:53:10, is radically faster than anyone of his age had ever run that race -- or any similar one.  The next guy in his age bracket was more than an hour behind him.

This isn't the first time he allegedly cheated either.  There are a few people who have gotten mad enough about this to start chasing it down in major races, going back through photographs and video.  Like, for instance, the allegation that this same guy cheated in 2014 -- during which he allegedly posted a sub-three-hour time.  That article went up one day before this guy appears to have decided to voluntarily check out rather than face what looked very much like music coming his way.

I've seen this myself; a couple of years ago at a local 10k I witnessed several runners within my visual range intentionally cut the course.  This was a manually-timed (not chipped) race, so the risk of a mat in a place that would instantly bust you wasn't present.  There's no possible way the cut was an accident; the course was very well marked at the point they deviated, there were plenty of other runners in the immediate vicinity including ones in front of them that went the right way and as such it sure appeared to me to be intentional.  I didn't have to report it, however -- the people running the race had strategically placed a spotter near the turn where someone cutting the course, or not going all the way to the cone, would be caught.  They were DQ'd before I finished.

Frankly I don't get it.  Unless you're literally first, and there are damn few people who ever are in these events, while you're racing against everyone else in your particular age bracket in reality the contest is against your own personal records.  We eventually all get slower as we age; there's nothing you can do about it, although for most people they can keep improving times into their 40s or even 50s.  But by the time you're 70 that's not happening any more.

Nonetheless there have always been cheats in all games of skill, and running is no exception.  It's getting harder, however, to get away with it given all the social media and other photography and videography gear that is plastered everywhere, in everyone's pocket and in everyone's hand.  Inevitably if you pull something with any sort of regularity someone is going to get you on camera doing it.

It's just a matter of time.

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There's an old guy, 70's at least, that lifts weights in the YMCA where I work out. He counts his reps out loud and his rep counts jump by 5 or 6 every couple of reps. My wife and I laugh about it. Can't stop getting older, slower and weaker. You can delay the slower and weaker, but lying about rep counts ain't gonna do it.

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I've done the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride a couple of times. Now mind you it's a ride and not a race.

Both times I've witnessed vehicles stop in the last fifty miles and a few bikes with fresh riders disembark, so they could finish the event with a good time.

I rode the entire 205 miles thank you. Not sure how those people claim they accomplished anything.
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Saint Charles MO
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Had a teammate in cross country in high school who would cheat. Never bothered me because his only goal was to not run very far. He didn't care to get a good time. Our basketball coach made all of us run cross country and few of us really wanted to do it.

Doug would cheat (just sit under a bridge or off the side of the course) and still come in 43rd out of 50 runners. For some reason I got a laugh out of it. He really hated courses that had just one lap.

I think its time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that our founding fathers intended for us. Ronald Reagan 1964
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I suppose he wanted to dupe people to think that Aztecs were superior runners.
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NE WA state
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This may sound 'odd' but I think it is just part and parcel of the rampant fraud and cheating in ALL other aspects of society. Hard work ? Discipline ? Thats for the peasants - I'm a very special snowflake on my IG ****ed book etc.

I was a pretty hard core runner in my youth - 50 to 70 miles a week kinda guy - I never was top level but I got my mile down to 4:47 and my best race was a 25k where I stuck with the leaders as we went thru 3 miles @ a 5:45 pace and 10k in about 36 mins. Of course I always wanted to be great :) but I quickly realized even in high school that was never going to happen - you have to come to the realization like Karl says that you are only EVER racing yourself.

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Vancouver WA
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Maybe cheating Frank Meza would have done better if he ran as Francine Meza.
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A True American Patriot!
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Winding it down.
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I used to run with a club of marathoners, many were retirees 65+. Id bet all of them had run 3 hour marathons in their day but 4+ hours was more common for them when I ran with them. Ran my marathon at just under 4 hours at age 35. I was pretty damn proud of that and let a senior age group guy pace me. No cheating either.
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Our ice hockey club had made the championship game in a senior tournament in Massachusetts a number of years ago. After our last preliminary game, we got to watch a game including two teams in our division who were competing to play us in the finals. We had beaten one of the two teams in a previous game. The game we watched resulted a tie and the team (a local team) we hadn't played advanced. Having beaten the team that they only managed to tie, we figured we had a good chance to win the following morning. An entirely different team showed up to play us in the finals and we lost by several goals. I've encountered teams with a few underage players or a ringer who we knew played at a higher level than was permitted in a tournament grouping, but this was cheating on a different level. All for a meaningless plastic trophy.
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Orlando, FL
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There's an old guy, 70's at least, that lifts weights in the YMCA where I work out. He counts his reps out loud and his rep counts jump by 5 or 6 every couple of reps. My wife and I laugh about it.

Ahhh, give the guy a break. He's only trying to impress the 60 year old hotties at the gym!

"War is when your government tells you who the enemy is. A revolution is when you figure it out yourself." --Unknown

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable." - President John F. Kennedy
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I was disappointed to learn that cheating happens in BJJ tournaments, where like-colored belts are paired with each other. There will be some guys that have delayed their promotion, sometimes by a significant amount of time, so they can whup ass on more inexperienced competitors.

I can't imagine going through life as a fraud, but some people have zero shame.
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