Monday, 27 April 2015

5 Fun Facts About Marathon Controversies

5 Fun Facts About Marathon Controversies, Cheats and Cheaters
Image result for marathon bar
1. The rules are the rules. And you can't break the rules.
In the 1908 Olympic Marathon event, a rather gangly Italian runner called Dorando Pietri ran his heart out for twenty six miles and entered the stadium in first place.
It had been an extraordinarily hot and humid day, and the guy was spent. He was only a few hundred yards from winning the race of his life, but he struggled to continue. He collapsed with exhaustion four times, but was helped to his feet by the British officials.
He made it over the finishing line and won the gold medal. But American Johnny Hayes, who finished just behind him in second place, had issue. He complained to the judges that Pietri was unfairly given assistance.
They stripped Pietri of his gold medal and gave it to Hayes. However, Queen Alexandra had been so moved by the Italian's determination and courage, she awarded him a special gold cup.
2. Well, if it was only a joke, then that's fine. In the 1904 marathon in St Louis, American athlete, Fred Lorz, did his almost best to complete the race, but apparently suffered from serious stomach cramps.
Instead of pulling out of the event and seeking some medical attention, he flagged down a car and got driven for the remaining 11 miles.
With the cramps gone, and him feeling a lot fresher than any of the other runners who slogged it out for the full 26 miles, he sprinted into the stadium and won the gold medal and was crowned Olympic champion.
It didn't take long for suspicions to arise, and he was disqualified, his title revoked, the medal yanked from his hands amid a fit of intense crying, and he was banned for life.
But, wait for it, the ban was lifted. Yep, he claimed he did it as a joke. It was funny. Everyone laughed. Such fun. Cheating little scumbag.
3. Fastest Pensioner Alive: In the 2010 London Marathon, Jason Stockland-Williams entered the record books when he completed the marathon in just over three hours.
The guy was 69 at the time. His world record was the fastest recorded time of anyone over the age of 65. It was an impressive feat of fitness and will power.
He was to receive a special plaque to mark this outstanding achievement, but then a careful review revealed he completed the second half of the marathon in under an hour.
Even the current world record holder didn't match that spectacular pace. A month and half after the race his "Fastest Pensioner" titles was stripped from him when he admitted he took a short cut.
As the runners pass Tower Bridge, the marathon doubles back on itself. He simply slipped under a barrier, cutting ten miles from the course.
4. But there are easier and less exhausting ways to cheat. In 2011, Rob Sloan competed in the Kielder Marathon in Northumberland, and got a bit tired after running the first few miles. But, what to do?
He slipped away from the other runners, flagged down a bus, and was driven the remaining miles to the finishing line. He hopped off the bus, waited behind a tree until the other runners were sighted, and re-joined the race.
He finished the race in two hours and fifty one minutes, crossing the line in 3rd place. In a post-marathon interview, he told reporters, "It was exhausting. I gave it everything I could."
He later admitted cheating when he was found out. His medal was reclaimed and awarded to the rightful bronze-medallist.
5. I will stress, this last Fun Fact about marathon controversies has nothing to do with cheating. 
In the 1967 Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer completed the entire race in a time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. However, she was never allowed to compete, so her time doesn't stand.
During the marathon officials chased her down and tried to remove her from the race. All because Kathrine Switzer was a woman.
Back in the sixties, women weren't allowed to enter marathons. She registered her entry under the gender neutral name of KW Switzer. The officials didn't scrutinize it and let her race, thinking she was a he. At some point during the marathon, she was discovered and the shouting and pushing started.

1 comment:

Arianne said...

just seeing the Snickers bar in this post made me want to get one...