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The Man Who Catches Marathon Cheats—From His Home

For months, a runner named Cindy posted motivational photos on Instagram and Facebook, chronicling the miles she put in to prepare for the New York Marathon. Cindy ran the race of her life, finishing the New York Marathon in just 3 hours 17 minutes and 29 seconds—a lot faster than her pace in previous half-marathon finishes, which each took a little over two hours.

“Ran my heart out today and left everything on the course. All the training paid off and qualified for the Boston Marathon!” she posted on Instagram, along with a post-race selfie and a photo with the finisher's medal.

But Cindy's incredible marathon time seemed just a little too incredible to a man sitting at his computer nearly 640 miles away. Derek Murphy, a former marathoner and business analyst, has made a name for himself exposing marathon cheats on his blog.

When Murphy heard about Cindy's speedy personal record, he started scrolling through the New York race photos looking for evidence that she had honestly run her improbably fast race. He didn't find any photos of the petite brunette running on the course. However, he did find a photo of a tall, athletically-built man running with Cindy's bib pinned to his shirt.

After Murphy sent the photos and Cindy's former half-marathon times to the New York Marathon organizers and Cindy was disqualified. She is one of about 30 runners identified by Murphy who sought entry into the 2017 Boston Marathon using fabricated times.

Cheating in a marathon can come in many forms. Some cut a few miles out of their qualifying race. Others give their racing bib to someone a bit faster. In rare cases, people pay to have their results altered. "The integrity of the sport is enormously important to us, and to the athletes who run in our races," said a spokesperson for the Boston Athletic Association.

Possible Preaching Angles: Endurance; Integrity; Rewards: For Christians running the race of life we must compete according to the rules that our Lord has set (2 Timothy 2:5). He will certainly reward each one who has run with integrity and self-discipline with their eyes on the prize.

Source: Katie Shepherd, “The Man Who Catches Marathon Cheats - From His Home,” BBC.com (4-17-17)

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