BOSTON (CBS) – Almost 40 years after Rosie Ruiz became the Boston Marathon’s most infamous cheater, the I-Team has learned some runners are still taking shortcuts trying to qualify for Boston.
That makes runners who’ve been training for months in all types of New England weather understandably outraged.
“I’ve been waiting my entire life to be able to run this marathon,” said Meredith Morris when the I-Team caught up with her training with L Street Running Club. “To hear people cheating, or faking bibs, or stealing bibs, it’s really a shame.”
Boston Athletic Association Director Tom Grilk says race officials are onto cheaters. “There are very hard-working people in this race, and of course it’s not fair to them.”
Also onto them is an unlikely investigator named Derek Murphy. He’s a runner himself and a Cincinnati financial analyst who’s dedicated a website to helping race officials across the country catch fakers. “In pretty much any race I look at, you’ll find dozens of course-cutters,” said Murphy. He showed the I-Team an algorithm he created to spot suspicious race times. “The first year when I first looked at it, I think was in 2016, I estimated between 250 to 350 runners.”
This year, he says Washington state political candidate JD Greening was removed from the list to enter Boston. He was even raising travel money on a GoFundMe page. When Murphy pressed Greening on his claim that he ran a qualifying marathon in less than three hours, Greening eventually admitted he ran only about half of it. “The race marshal said that they caught him going to the finish line from the first loop,” said Murphy. “It’s just completely obvious.”
Steven Jewell from Minnesota also lost his spot in Boston this year after Murphy discovered Jewell got a faster runner to do a qualifying race for him, wearing his bib number.
Murphy says he also caught another man using a 1996 bib to slip into the Boston Marathon last year.
“For many people, the most difficult part of the Boston Marathon is getting to the starting line,” said Grilk. He says the BAA has video of every qualifying race available to review. For those who do make it to the Hopkinton start line, there are electronic checkpoints every five miles.
Runners the I-Team spoke with were shocked to learn that marathon cheaters even exist.
“Come on, really,” said Matt Durkin, a member of the L Street Running Club. “We all paid our bib numbers for our bibs and we all raised our money and trained through the treacherous training.”
Morris added, “I hope karma comes back to get them.”