Last month over 29,000 runners crossed the start line of the Mexico City Marathon and, in an unbelievable turn of events, 5,806 of those runners would later be disqualified for cheating. Thanks to Marathon Investigation, we have a better idea of just what the heck happened.
There were a total of eight timing mats out on the course—placed roughly every 5K—and after some digging, Marathon Investigation found that 36 percent of the field missed at least one timing mat (most of which took place at the beginning of the course).
Shortly after the August 27 race, a Facebook page began sharing photos of alleged cheaters cutting the course; photos that have edited out the runners’ faces. Runners were accused both of cutting the course by riding the subway and bib muling for other runners.
The Boston Athletic Association has been notified of the results; Marathon Investigation points out that 69 percent of the runners who qualified for Boston on the course missed at least one timing mat, 62 percent missed at least two and 58 percent missed at least three. Because over 64 percent of the total participants didn’t miss any timing mats, it seems unlikely there was a glitch or error in their timing system.
Marathon Investigation even broke down results and splits from past years compared with this year and found glaring errors. They report:
“For example: the first runner shown finished the race in 3:09:45, but took 45:41 to traverse the last 1.4 miles. That same runner finished the 2016 Mexico City Marathon in over 6 hours.”
It is natural to assume after looking at these results that the runners were just hoping to get a BQ, right? Well, an additional theory has been presented that runners actually did it for the medal. Each year, the medal has been a different letter to eventually spell out ‘Mexico’ and according to Marathon Investigation, this year, runners would get the ‘C’ to add to the collection.
Regardless of why they cheated, race officials did remove runners in question when submitting results to the BAA and released a statement with a breakdown of the total athletes who completed the race fairly.