Thursday, June 4, 2009

3:53 My Ass!

OK, so I'm a little behind the eight ball on this one, but I wanted to know what you think.

If you do or do not watch the Biggest Loser, it doesn't matter, but this might be slightly more relevant if you did watch this past season.

But, really, this post is about race times, cheating and etiquette amongst us runners.

Here's the story: big boy, Dane (with the hot wife) was voted off the show in March after having lost 100 lbs. He returned to his home state of Arizona. The little clip that they show when someone gets voted off regarding their accomplishments in weight loss, etc since leaving showed that Dane and his wife ran a full marathon together after he was booted. I distinctly remember watching this, because when Dane and hottie wife crossed the finish line, the time clock above them said 3:53. Yes, 3:53.

I was pissed. My husband was laughing his ass off at how pissed I was. I had just finished running my first marathon in 4:03 and was put off jealous that this big, brutish guy (still 283 lbs.) who was totally and completely out of shape and 150 lbs overweight could not only lose big time pounds, but could run a sub four hour marathon. You see two months prior when Dane started on the BL he was barely able to lift his left nut. And then he loses 100 lbs and runs a 3:53 marathon???

Then...guess what I find out this week while reading Runner's World?? Dane is not the Biggest Loser, but he is the Biggest Liar! He expected to run a seven hour marathon. The producers wanted him to go faster. He hit the middle of the marathon and knew he wasn't going to make it in van picks him up at mile 17 and drives him close to the finish line. Here's what he said about getting caught the ordeal:

Interviewer: What would you say to the people in the running community who are upset about the misleading finish time that aired on the show [the clock erroneously displayed 3:53 instead of 5:53]?

Dane: I’m not part of that community and I’m not familiar with runners’ etiquette. I understand why they would be upset. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. If they want to take away my marathon away from me than that’s fine. Before all of this happened, my wife and I were planning on running another one in April and by that time I hope I can be a part of that group.

So to my blogger friends who are part of the running community, what do you make of this?

To me there is an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) understanding that you wear your race time like a badge of honor. Good or bad it is your time and you take it. You can explain away after the fact why you didn't PR or why you didn't go faster, but you accept your time with grace, dignity and sometimes disappointment. Cheating is not an option. I don't know anyone who has ever left a course and made a detour just so their time could be less. Or anyone who has ever accepted a ride for part of the race so that their time could be less. It's just not right. Part of running a race is earning every step, every mile. Otherwise what's the point? When the day is done, we're not out there to impress and compete with anyone but ourselves, really. As much as our friends and family are rooting for us, they won't love us any less if we run a 3:53 marathon or a 4:53 marathon, right? (unless they're those really bitchy types whose love is totally conditional, but that's another blog).

Maybe I shouldn't care so much. It's just a dumb show. But you shouldn't say you ran a full marathon when you didn't. Period. I would have had tremendous respect for Dane no matter what his final time was. To lose that weight, to get into shape and to finish a marathon??? We all would have cheered our asses off. But to lie...well, you lose me there.


  1. This really got under my skin too. It kind of puts a damper on the whole marathon thing.

  2. I love that dumb show. But i was just as outraged when I saw that episode. I mean my jaw dropped when they posted a 3:53 finishing time..and then days later I read about him being driven for the (what most would say hardest) last few miles. I would have been more impressed if it took him all night to finish. Such as Ron, a really big guy who in the final show, walked a marathon in a mere 15 hours and 45 minutes. almost 16 freaking hours! but he didn't quit. now THAT is inspiring. It sucks, but he's the one who has to live with his lie. Maybe one day he really will finish every single step of a full marathon and he will realize what a jackass he was to be a part of the lie.

  3. I don't watch, but I did hear something about this. What a douche bag comment. Not familiar with runners' ettiquett? You mean you didn't think catching a ride midway was inaproprate or wrong?

    Ultimately it's ourselves we have to live with. If he can live with that - whatever.

  4. I don't watch the show but read about this, and I WAS NOT HAPPY!! There is no excuse for what he did. I can't imagine anyone thinking something like that is acceptable.

  5. Its not even about running etiquette. Its just plain cheating and lying. Its a morality issue. I agree that even finishing a marathon would have been enough of an accomplishment. It kind of pisses me off that the producers would encourage this. Assholes.

  6. Basically, if a car picked you up, you didn't run a marathon. You ran an errand.

  7. I don't watch the show and hadn't heard about this. Really makes you wonder about what they air on TV these days. Clearly neither Dane nor the TV producers seem to have scruples. Marathons are hard. Like others have posted, it doesn't matter how long it takes someone to finish, but only if they complete all 26.2 miles can they call themselves a marathoner and be damn proud of it.

  8. You know what gets me?

    "If they want to take away my marathon from me then that’s fine."

    Dude, you didn't run a marathon!

  9. Ohh that really gets under my skin! I ran my first 1/2 marathon this year and I would be pissed if someone cheated on something that was such a major accomplishment for me! Grrrr....

  10. Wow. That is all I can really say.

  11. this made me really mad too! is it bad that i am happy everyone else is pissed about it too??

  12. Oh this pissed me off as well. I remember watching the show and seeing his time - which was significantly faster than my marathon time. I thought to myself - wow, Lisa, you kind of suck since this overweight guy who didn't even train for it, beat you.

    Then a friend told me about what REALLY happened. Complete bs!!!!

  13. I'm with you all the way! I can't stand cheaters! A few years ago I ran my second 5k ever. It was supposed to be chip timed. Well, somehow the finish line pad that you step on got unplugged for a few minutes and did not get the times of runners finishing between 26:00 and 29:00.

    The race coordinators apologized profusely and asked for those runners to honestly report their times. I reported the time off my Garmin, 26:29, even though I had actually forgotten to turn it off for a few seconds after crossing the line. Well, one, very competitive, soccer mom in my age group told my husband and I that her time was a 27:49, before we knew about the whole timing debacle.

    Later, when I checked the results on the internet, she had reported her time as a 26:28, one second faster than my time.
    I was SOOOO pissed! I passed her early on in the race and then cheered her across the finish line, so there's no way she finished in that time!

    I took the high road and never said a word about it, but since then I have made it a point to absolutely smoke her at every race, Even if she's not running in the race, I make sure that my time is faster than anything she could possibly run. Probably sounds crazy, but my times have gotten much faster so it must work!

  14. I blogged about that when it happened ( and was furious that the producers did that. I had just completed my first full and was stoked and then to see his time, just felt deflated. Then I was angry the more I read about it. I love the show. How dare they try and say that just finishing a marathon isn't good enough! He did run the Country Music marathon in April and finished right under 6 hrs to redeem himself.

    Oh - and I tagged your blog for a "Lovely Blog Award" ( Thanks for all the great posts!

  15. Hi! I would be upset too how can anyone think it's ok to cheat. Anyways I work for Sof Sole one of the leading providers in footwear accessories like socks and insoles. We would like to send you free samples of our products to assit you in your training. Just send me your shoe size and mailing address and all we ask is that you write about your experience online. Look forward to hearing from you and happy trails!


  16. I remember when all of this happened. My running club - the Arizona Road Racers - put on that race (Desert Classic Marathon). When they found out what happened, they stripped him of his official finish time and asked that he return his finisher's medal. To my knowledge, he never has. That pretty much speaks to his lack of character.

    The good news is that the final 4 on the show actually DID finish a marathon that they showed. That was awesome to watch and very emotional and inspriational.

  17. It's unethical and annoying even if you're not a part of the running community and understand the "etiquette" and "rules of engagement", which all sports have. I cut newbies slack, but this person didn't complete a marathon, and he certainly didn't complete it under four hours. It's dishonest.

    Bad, but not as bad as what Rosie Ruiz pulled in Boston in 1980.

  18. Every single post made me feel good for having FINISHED A FULL MARATHON. Some of you who know me, realize it was a bust, time-wise. BUT I FINISHED. And I was very emotional about this whole thing. No I had not just lost 100 pounds (way to go, Dane) but I had just finished pneumonia, 2 Xanax, only two hours sleep and a fun night with a girlfriend just before. No clock fraud. I wish! I am now training for my second marathonl. No lies. Just real me, trying to cross a finish line FOR REAL. Just in less time, this time. Love you, Beth. Awewsome job on this blog.

  19. Oh Beth, now you've got me started. I think this sort of thing is absolute crap. You don't need to understand the "etiquette" to know that not running all of a race means you cheated. Anyone who does this is DNF and shouldn't be allowed to register for another marathon.

    About 4 years ago, "Jean's Marines" a training group for women in Canada cut the Marine Corps Marathon short. She wanted to "reward" the runners who looked like they weren't going to finish for all of their training.

    Guess what Jean........I trained my butt off for some races and didn't hit my target time. Do I get to claim PR's because of good intentions?

    Other training groups (that shall remain nameless) have been accused recently of similar tactics that they employed to get their less fit members to "finish" the race. What a crock.

    I helped my brother train for his first and only marathon. Same with my wife. Both of them did the best they could and trained the best that they were able. They displayed perseverance, dedication and fortitude to do so. I saw their joy override fatigue after they accomplished something they didn't know was possible. I'd like to see the aforementioned training groups and anyone affiliated with this guy CHEATING look them square in the eye and tell them it's no big deal.

    This is still a sport. Not everyone chooses to treat it that way, including some participants. That's cool. They run their race, I'll run mine and we'll all meet at the end. However, when someone cheats it cheapens the sport AND the event.

    Do you think these people would think it's OK to sign up for softball or an adult league baseball team and automatically go to second base when they are up to bat? Do you think they would claim they didn't grasp the "etiquette"? Think they would use that excuse if they even went to a local rec-league basketball team and insisted that half their missed shots be counted as good?

    I'm perhaps overly sensitive to this, but in my opinion people need to respect the sport and the participants that are working hard to overcome their own personal obstacles. However mad you might be, make mine a double.

  20. I dooo Love that show, and definitely remember thinking "He whaaaat?!" when they showed that footage. ha - more like, sooo I need to step it up and do the Full. gah!

    There was SO much hype about this after that episode - it didn't take very long for the "truth" to come out, that they didn't actually run the whole thing AND that wasn't the real time. He Did run the Country Music Marathon in april, finishing somewhere around 5:30 or 6 hrs (not sure of the exact time!)

    anywayyy - you're totally right. Take pride in your own time - whether 'good' or 'bad'. :)
    and kind of awkward for him to say "I'm not part of 'that' community". But, at least he got back out there and set the record straight.

  21. WOW. i cannot believe he cheated/lied! I just ran a 5k today and after getting water and some fruit i went back to the finish line and watched some of the slower runners of the group come in- and i thought it was amazing to watch older runners, beginner runners, heavy people who are starting their battle to lose weight, etc cross the finish line- some people even across the line in almost an hour- but WHO CARES! you did it. if I saw the show and saw him and his wife crossing the line in 7 hours- i would say - "hats off to you my friend" because you just ran 26.2 miles- you went from not being able to "lift your left nut off the couch (i laughed when i read that P.S." to running a marathon. i would never ever be able to walk around knowing that i didnt run the entire race and that i cheated just to lower my time. stupid stupid. makes me mad! reality TV should really broadcast- REALITY! a guy on BL is not going to cross teh finish line in under 4 hours- maybe in a few years- but right after the show? CMONNNN

  22. I remember when this all came out and I was really PO'ed too...I think anyone who has ever attempted a marathon was PO'ed you don't get credit for 26.2 when you don't run that far and WTF with changing the clock!