Race Cheater? Toss ‘Em in the Clank

I have to admit I loved reading this one; in Kenya’s Safaricom Kisumu Marathon over the weekend course officials caught runners cutting the course. What did they do? Arrest them. There’s a point for the honest harriers!

girl kicking

Take that course cheaters!


I was thinking about this not very long ago when during a Thanksgiving Day Turkey trot a friend of mine was leading, then as he took a turn towards the finish line out of nowhere he saw a woman (pushing a jogging stroller no less) cut in from a side street up ahead and cross the line in front of him. It was determined she has shaved off quite a chunk from the 5k course and was rightfully disqualified. But I guess she did set the course record for the 2.2 mile race?

Really? Cutting a course, it makes me wonder what these people are trying to accomplish, does a ‘win’ really give you the same kind of satisfaction if you cheat to do it? Running is a very self-sacrificing kind of sport and part of the reason the majority of us do it is because it comes down to the sweat, pain, and anguish of hard work and dedication…that those PR’s and wins are hard fought and THAT’S what makes them so rewarding, am I right?

Course cutting is one kind of cheating, and I don’t think I even have to delve into the whole drug issue. Sadly, it’s a reality, no denying it. But I’ve always been of the camp of knowing I just couldn’t live with myself if I were dirty and out there competing. (Not to mention I’d feel gross being dirty with drugs period…I’d feel like I’d be walking around with a big scarlet letter on my chest…but that’s just me.)

girl runner

Wouldn't a dirty victory feel hallow?


I’ve heard the ‘excuse’ some athletes that head down the road of drugs say: “Everyone else is doing it, so by taking these I’m only leveling the playing field.” That’s a cop-out, and while there will always be cheaters, that doesn’t mean that everyone has to lower themselves to that level. Sure, if you lose to a dirty athlete will it sting? Hell ya. But in the end you are still striving for your best and at least have the satisfaction of the PR’s and stand-out personal performances you do achieve.
olive oly

Maybe Olive Oyl's been on the juice...


Sure, that warm and fuzzy feeling inside may not come with the prize money or the record or title, (How do you think poor Suzy Favor-Hamilton feels after losing out to so many races to Regina Jacobs after it finally was confirmed the latter had been using drugs…you can’t go back in time and reclaim every single loss!) but in the end I certainly believe athletes who’s achievements come clean and without cheating (any kind, course cutting included!) are far more respected and inspiring.

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I wanted to thank you all for the awesome comments I received on yesterday’s post about the gap in times between the genders. I really enjoyed reading your perspectives and I agree that because there are just more woman out there at races it lowers the time averages, and skews the picture the numbers portray. I also really liked the point Katherine brought up which has always sort of bugged me, in that certain qualifying or cut-off times for the women are ‘softer’ than the men. Doesn’t gender equality go both ways, why should it be easier for a woman to get into a certain race/event than a man? I would actually take that as an offense, don’t you think a woman can work her butt off just as much to push for that faster time? Just saying…
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1) Course cutting cheaters, have you ever had an experience with them? Were they caught? What do you think is a proper penalty?
How about after the race we put them in stocks and let the racers throw their banana peels and Powerbar wrappers at them? 😉

2) Drug cheating…I know it’s like opening up a can of worms, so I’ll just keep it short. What’s your opinion or what is an ‘excuse’ you think athletes use for taking them?

3) Softer race qualifying times for women, what are your thoughts on this?

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8 thoughts on “Race Cheater? Toss ‘Em in the Clank

  1. My senior year a kid on my team dealt with a course cutter during a race. Our home meet was on a golf course. Two loops and part of each loop goes around these two long holes that are parallel to each other meaning it’s also easier to just cut through the holes halfway across. Some kid did that and my teammate caught up to him about 800m later and then pushed him into a watery portion of the course on those holes. Since oddly enough there were no judges on this section, no foul.

    • oh man, i’m LOVING that ur teammate was able to catch up and enforce his own kind of retribution. in that instance i’m glad there wasn’t a judge only so that some schoolyard style punishment could be enacted. 🙂

  2. I can’t believe that people do this. But I guess I honestly shouldn’t be surprised because the selfishness and dishonesty of people in life does not cease to amaze me!! I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt and it breaks my heart when people feel the need to act like fools and ruin the experience for the rest of us…I have never personally seen the ‘race cutting’ but if I ever did, I would be so angry and disappointed.

    • ya, not to sound like a pessimist but i’m floored all the time by the new lows people go to…i just try to remember that for the bad seeds there are genuinely nice people too 🙂

  3. I definitely wouldn’t ever want to take drugs or course-cut or any of that crap. I put in the honest work, I want honest results! And Kristabel makes a good point – you wouldn’t get that satisfaction from doping, but those who cheat probably aren’t in it for the satisfaction…they want the $$$. I actually used to date a guy who’s a professional triathlete – his favorite part is the cycling, and he wants to ride in the TDF someday. I remember we were talking about cycling and doping one time, and I asked him if he would ever dope. Shockingly, this otherwise selfless, humble, honest guy said “I hate to say this but yeah, there’s no question. I’d never get anywhere in cycling without drugs…no one can these days”. So sad. So incredibly sad. Running is probably a different story and not QUITE so tainted with drug abuse but….I mean is this really what its come to? that you can’t be “competitive” in a sport without popping some EPO??

    • ya, as bad as doping is in the running circle, it’s even worse in cycling…i’ve heard the same thing…it’s really a bubble burster if i say so…u look up to certain athletes but then find out they are just dirty

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