Is running driving us crazy? Let’s talk Cheating

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To me, the beautiful thing about running and running a marathon is the whole process, the training, discovering pain, perseverance, doubt, and the satisfaction of getting through one more training day, that’s what makes us stronger and changes us.

I think running is the best path to self-knowledge and learning how to be self-sufficient

A runner’s main characteristic is Independence. By running, you understand the harsh reality of your mental and physical limitations.

You learn that commitment to one-self, sacrifice, and determination are the only ways to improve.

Runners advance by conquering themselves. Not with medals. The medal is just a memory of the path we have come.

But not everyone thinks the same.

Suddenly, in the last years, there have been a series of events within the running Community both in USA and Mexico, which have gotten a lot of attention in the social networks and have caused annoyance and controversy.

The first one that got the attention was in 2014, Chelsea Crowley, the wife of FourSquare’s CEO running with a number that wasn’t hers in that year’s Boston Marathon and posting it on social media. The outcome: Banned for life of Boston

An equally famous event was Mike Rossi’s, race. Who got his 15 minutes whos reply to his children’s school principal via Facebook got viral,  about unjustified absences when taking his children to watch him run in the Boston Marathon. After managing to start among the elite’s Field, a pace he only managed to maintain for a few minutes, enough to make it to the news, so his children could see him, then gaining even more fame while being caught with dubious racing times in previous marathons to qualify for Boston.

The case of Gia Álvarez, the famous running blogger, who gave her Boston 2015 number to a friend, while not being able to run it, qualifying for Boston 2016, Gia decided to use that time as her own so she could sign up for the 2016 marathon, the outcome, banned for life of Boston.

And probably the case that has shocked me the most to the date, a housewife that pretended to qualify to the Boston Marathon, copied a fake number online, traveled to Boston, went to the Expo, took photos, bought the medal online, and never ran.

These people go through all the hassles and expenses just so they can show off about something they never really accomplished, and post it online, for 10 minutes of fame.

This year of 2017, 15 runners were previously banned from running in Boston, for being caught with dubious results. Even a travel agency is under investigation for using “mules” to qualify its customers.

In Mexico, Carlos Madrazo, one of the most famous politicians, got infamous for cutting routes, winning his age division (55)  with a time of 2.40,  in Berlin Marathon 2007, Race officials  disqualified him for apparently taking a shortcut — an electronic tracking chip indicates he skipped two checkpoints in the race and would have needed superhuman speed to achieve his win

What’s going on with us?

I’m also surprised by the number of fake idols and self-taught coaches around. The fact that you are fast running, you love running, run thousands of marathons, DOES NOT make you know how to train people, you need to study and get certified for that.

In the 2015 edition of CDMX’s Marathon, the event organizers chose “opinion leaders, artists, etc.” to be “Pacers,” and most of them didn’t finish in the times they announced. For people following them, who trusted their ability to be a Pacer and trusted the advertisement of “I´ll go for a 3.45 time, run with me” and in the end, they finished at nearly 5 hours, without explanation, it’s a mock.

And why do I criticize this? Because all of this says a lot about the little respect we have for the marathon’s length, the rules, and the core values, and if as a society, we don´t learn to respect and to be a positive example for our children, we can´t expect more from our leaders and politicians. And that´s very concerning.

We have individual rights that we can exercise, but I must also remember that we have or should have a civic duty as part of society. And respecting the rules goes into that. Whether we like them or not.

This trend of wanting to run a marathon, or qualifying for Boston, cannot take the better or worse out of us. And we can´t get clearer examples than those above.

What has happened in the previous years in Mexico City is just a sample that the image is more relevant than the challenge. The fact that more than 30% of participants don´t finish the race talks about the little civic and sports education we have as a society. And we are talking about a 30,000-people marathon.

The marathon is an incredible distance, my favorite distance, but we have swallowed the advertisement that if you don´t run a marathon you are not a runner, or you are not so serious or whatever story we tell ourselves to have the compulsion to run one, whatever it takes.

The process doesn´t matter, the training even less, what matters is having that medal and posting it on our social media.

The truth is, you can get that same feeling of accomplishment, triumph, of power, of “I made it,” with running 5k, 10k, 21k just as with a marathon, the value we give it as a big or small accomplishment is all in our head.

But the satisfaction will always be in work and effort we have made.

The most popular distance in the USA and the one that keeps growing the most is the Half Marathon because it’s a challenging distance, yet it takes less commitment, time and physical condition and strategy than a marathon.

Then why do we insist on running something we are NOT prepared to and are not willing to have the patience, perseverance, and discipline to run in a responsible way at the moment.

Because it’s not just about participating or getting a medal to show off “your accomplishment”,  It’s about the torture we put our bodies to for more than 5 or 6 hours when it has not the ability to hold that distance efficiently. Or we lie, to say that we did run, we did qualify, we are the best, we are the fastest.

In Gia Álvarez case, the sad thing is that she had the ability, the discipline and the times to qualify for Boston as many times as she liked, but that year she decided she had to do it NOW! Immediately, she preferred to risk to a lifetime ban, rather than waiting a year to enter legitimately

That compel for wanting to run a marathon, “right now,” for not being left out of the pack, for wanting to win that marathonist tag, that medal so few have, sometimes come with a very high price.

Let’s think about the real reasons why we want to “test” ourselves, or we require a fictional “triumph” and let’s act responsibly and maturely with our body and the example give our youth, because, at the end of the day, the value of our achievements or the weight of our mistakes or failures is set by ourselves. And we can fool the whole world, but we can’t fool ourselves.

Let’s be better finding out our motivations.

It’s up to us to be a part of the solution, or the be a part of the problem. In every aspect. Not just in sport.

Thanks to http://www.marathoninvestigation.com/ for his great work. Visit his page if you want to know more about marathon cheating.

Thank you for reading, if you like it, please comment, share and subscribe

Ilya

RRAC Running Educator, Health & Mindset coach, content creator 22 years running, 200+ races & creating magic at Instarunners

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