‘Nother marathon story

At Berlin, where Gebraselasie ran faster over 26.2 miles than anyone had before, it turns out that there was someone on the course who was faster during part of the race…or wasn’t. Roberto Madrazo, a 55-year old politician from Mexico, crossed the finish line for the Berlin Marathon in just under 2:41 (~6:15 pace), cutting an an hour off his personal best and taking first place in his age group. According to Sam Enriquez of the Los Angeles Times Mr. Madrazo’s spectacular run raised questions and prompted an investigation.

He was disqualified Monday by race officials after an investigation showed that the computer chip he carried went undetected at checkpoints along about a third of the 26.2-mile course. Madrazo appeared near the end of the race and was declared the winner of the “men’s 55-and-over” category.

“We’re disqualifying him,” said a race spokeswoman Tuesday.

Marathon officials said there was no record of Madrazo crossing race checkpoints between the 12.4-mile and 21.8-mile course markers. A race video showed him bundled up in a windbreaker, hat and sweatsuit as he crossed the finish line, arms outstretched in an apparent victory salute. His weary opponents, meanwhile, soldiered past in shorts and singlets.

Sheesh, how can anyone figure to get away with such a ruse? Even before chips, Rosie Ruiz was caught. (In 1980 Ms. Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon; it turned out she’d taken the subway.) Over the part of the course where Mr. Madroza’s chip didn’t cross the timing mats, he would have had to run a sub-60 minute half-marathon. And that’s the second half…definitely a negative split. He would have been passing a lot of other runners during that segment!

Link to Mr. Enriquez’s story. Link to Google’s news search.

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