Marathoners often joke about catching a bus or taxi to get to the finish line, but British runner Rob Sloan is accused of actually going through with it.
According to the BBC, Mr. Sloan, who finished third in England’s Salomon Kielder Marathon on Sunday, has been forced to give back his medal after witnesses say they saw him hop on a bus during the race. The BBC says he was 20 miles (about 32 kilometres) into the 26.2-mile run, when he succumbed to fatigue – and temptation – and allegedly jumped on a bus with spectators. He then reportedly hid behind a tree until he spotted the race leaders and rejoined the front pack.
Organizers of the marathon released a statement on its website Monday, confirming that Mr. Sloan admitted to not finishing the whole course. The statement named Steven Cairns of Peebles, Scotland, as the rightful third place finisher. Mr. Cairns’s chip time was 2:55:22. Mr. Sloan’s time is not listed in the official finishing results online.
Mr. Sloan was initially indignant about his disqualification. He told the BBC on Monday he was “upset and angry” that someone would accuse him of cheating.
“It’s laughable is what it is, where they’ve come from I don’t know,” he said. “When I finished the race I was asked by the fourth person in the race: ‘Did you come third, because I don’t remember you passing us.’ My words to him were ‘Yeah, I passed you at approximately 18 miles on the damp,’ I remember because you don’t pass many people being near the front.”
It’s probably a safe bet Mr. Sloan wishes he could take it all back now, especially since this scandal has overshadowed his earlier win on Saturday of the Kiedler 10-km race. He finished that run with a chip time of 38 minutes and seven seconds.
What’s worse – cheating or getting defensive about being caught?