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238. The Marathon Cheater
The 2007 Berlin marathon for males over 55
unusual in that the winner cheated. “Hank” skipped
checkpoints during the race. The electronic tracking chip
all runners must wear confirmed that Hank had
only 17 miles of the 26-mile marathon. Instead
confessing, Hank let race organizers discover the facts
themselves. He accepted the cheers and winner’s trophy.
wasn’t officially disqualified until the following day. Race
were angry that Hank, who was a well-known
retired politician in his native country, had accepted
winner’s trophy. “He disgraced himself and his country,”
one race official.
Hank later told the media
he had never intended to run the whole
marathon, as he was still tired from the
Diego marathon he had run two months earlier.
’s San Diego marathon time was just under 4
; his Berlin time was little more than 2
hours. Asked why he had held his arms
high as if he was the winner at
finish line, Hank said, “Everyone does that. This
my fifth marathon this year. I knew the
chip would detect my shortcut. The organizers need
lighten up; it’s only a race.”
finish line wearing a floppy hat, a long-sleeved
-shirt, long pants, and a huge grin. He looked
cool as a cucumber, said a suspicious photographer.
other early finishers in the over-55 group crossed
finish line wearing sweaty T-shirts and nylon running
. None of them were grinning.