April 13th, 2017

Marathon cheaters in China: shades of Rosie

Marathon authorities in China are about to start using facial recognition techniques to foil an increasing number of cheaters:

Marathon running is booming in China, where more than 300 races were staged last year as a fitness craze sweeps the country.

But the fear of failure in the age of social media has seen some racers seek any means to ‘achieve’ a respectable finishing time – including not even taking part in the race.

Which immediately made me think of Rosie. Remember Rosie?:

On…April 21, in 1980, the 26-year-old New Yorker finished first among the marathon’s women runners in near-record time — just over two and a half hours…

Legendary runner Kathrine Switzer — the first woman ever to officially compete in the Boston Marathon — was instantly suspicious when she spoke to Ruiz after the race, which she was covering that day as a television commentator. Switzer asked what Ruiz’s intervals had been, per TIME; Ruiz replied, “What’s an interval?”


More deception was revealed when New York Marathon officials looked into Ruiz’s 24th-place finish in that race and discovered that she had used a similar strategy to qualify for the Boston Marathon — by taking the subway instead of running most of the course. According to the New York Daily News, Ruiz explained the fact that she was wearing a marathon number by telling fellow subway riders that she had twisted her ankle and just wanted to see the end of the race.

She may not have had much training as a distance runner, but she seemed to have a great deal of practice in bending the truth. Even her application for the New York Marathon was based on a lie: An Associated Press story reveals that she submitted the form after the deadline had passed, but then got “special dispensation” by claiming she had a fatal brain tumor.

Although that article doesn’t say it, I seem to recall that Ruiz had not intended to win, just to place well (as she had in New York). But she miscalculated and won, drawing way too much attention to herself.

8 Responses to “Marathon cheaters in China: shades of Rosie”

  1. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    I take it Rosie later had a position of some sort in the Obama White House? I mean, she was perfectly qualified . . .

  2. Yancey Ward Says:

    This makes me feel old- I remember this and it was 37 years ago.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    All news is lies and all propaganda is disguised as news.
    Willi Munzenberg

    and since you added a picture they provided:

    Photography works upon the human eye: what is seen is reflected in the brain without the need for complicated thought. In this way the bourgeoisie takes advantage of the mental indolence of the masses and does good business as well.
    Willi Munzenberg

    Photography has become an outstanding and indispensable means of propaganda in the revolutionary struggle.
    Willi Munzenberg

    sport has come to be identifi

    ed with five facets common to all totalitarian societies:
    Favouring the military and secret police
    Mobilising the masses

    Kept under Party control, with high political priority

    But sport has also acquired a unique meaning for ordinary people in terms of identity and the Platonic ‘empathy and catharsis’. Furthermore, there have been significant similarities and differences in the status and objectives of sport in totalitarian states.

    Totalitarianism and sport in Russia pp. 54-69

    and for the people in such countries, sports, dance, competition, all lead tothe potential freedom they cant get any other way.

    there is a huge list of defectors from such countries. who took advantage of their being selected for sports (by muscle tests and other things as it IS a dictatorships)

  4. Wooly Bully Says:

    Cap’n Rusty Says:

    April 13th, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I take it Rosie later had a position of some sort in the Obama White House? I mean, she was perfectly qualified . . .

    Susan Rice got that job.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Cap’n Rusty; Wooly Bully:

    Some subsequent history for Rosie:

    n 1982, Ruiz was arrested for embezzling $60,000 from a real estate company where she worked. She spent one week in jail and was sentenced to five years’ probation. She then moved back to South Florida, where she was arrested in 1983 for her involvement in a cocaine deal. She was sentenced to three years’ probation. In April 1993, she was working in West Palm Beach as a client representative for a medical laboratory company.

  6. huxley Says:

    Yes, I remember Rosie Ruiz.

    I lived in Boston then in Kenmore Square along the marathon route. I was even training as a distance runner with thoughts of running a marathon someday, though not Boston because the qualifying times were impossibly stringent for average runners.

    My peak was ten miles in 76 minutes but past that my left knee would give out. Years later I discovered I had torn my anterior cruciate ligament in high school. So marathons weren’t really in my future.

    I remember feeling sorry for Rosie as a person so desperate for attention that she would cheat so baldly.

    However, from the article neo linked, I see Ruiz was later charged with stealing $60,000 from her company, and after that of selling two kilos of coke to an undercover agent. So I guess she had a criminal nature.

  7. Rufus Firefly Says:

    Laura Michalek won the Chicago marathon in 1979 in a similar circumstance. There’s a good explanation of her feat here, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-09-21/sports/0209210212_1_chicago-race-high-school-cross-country-lasalle-bank-chicago-marathon

    Laura was a year behind me in school. Marathons were still kind-of new in 1979 and the Chicago marathon was only 3 years old. Laura mentioned she was going to run the marathon and when I asked her why she said she thought it would be fun and it would be good for training (in the article she states she had never run further than 10 miles prior). She came in 3rd in the women’s group, but it was later learned the first two women had cheated (I think one took a taxi and the other the El for part of the race). Good kid, Laura, and a great athlete!

  8. ArmyMom Says:

    Marathon and half marathon cheaters continue to this day. Recently a HuffPo blogger was found to have cut a half marathon course by over a mile and came in second. I am a slow runner and will never win anything but would never think of cutting the course in a race. EVER. Those runners that cheat should be banned from all races everywhere.


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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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