Crossing the finish line of a half marathon is a pretty good feeling, largely because the pain is over and you’re now on the brink of the post-race beer.
So what if it’s 8:30AM, you just ran more than 21 kilometres and people can get stuffed.
It seems really, really odd then that somebody would choose to cheat, but that didn’t stop a whopping 258 people from chancing their arms during the Shenzhen half marathon this past Sunday.
18 runners were found wearing fake bibs, three were running on behalf of others, and 237 others took shortcuts.
The first two offences carry a lifetime ban from the race, and the shortcut-takers are looking at a two-year ban.
This from the Guardian:
In the most blatant case, a traffic camera caught runners turning round at least 1km before they were supposed to make a U-turn, potentially shaving about 10% off the 21km race.
Footage shows runners crossing through bushes and trees that separated two parts of the course.
Xinhua quoted organisers as saying: “We deeply regret the violations that occurred during the event. Marathon running is not simply exercise, it is a metaphor for life, and every runner is responsible for him or herself.”
Here’s the bundu-bashing that shows the cheats chopping around two kilometres off the total distance:
You must feel pretty crummy when you pass the finish line, and the fact that you cheated really hits home.
All this reminds me of perhaps the greatest attempt at marathon cheating of all time, which involves our very own Comrades Marathon.
For a trip down memory lane, I’d suggest you read Atlas Obscura’s brilliant article, “Two Brothers, One Ultramarathon, And the Greatest Cheat in Running History“.
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