The man said he had been a runner for most of his adult life, but in recent years his body struggled to make it through the 26.2 miles -- yet he still wanted to be known as a marathon runner. "I feel bad," he said. "There's no great back story to it. It's just wrong. I haven't been feeling that well, didn't do the proper training. Now, at the end of the day, what do I have? Nothing."
Cheating in long-distance running events has been going on for decades. Just last autumn there were 258 people found cheating in the Shenzhen Half-Marathon in China. There have been cheaters found at all distances, including cheaters running across the entire country. Why do they do it?
Some want the notoriety that comes with supposedly completing the distance. Gaining attention from family, friends, co-workers and others is often a driving force to cheating. Some cheat to qualify for larger races, such as the Boston Marathon -- which requires a qualified time in a qualifying marathon. They want to run in the Boston Marathon, but know they are not fast enough to qualify. So, some cheat. Then, there are those who cheat because they need a 'victory' in their life... to gain accolades. And then, there are those who cheat simply because they have a self-inflated ego and want to appear better than others. There are many reasons why some runners cheat, but ultimately they find that their cheating only leads to a great sense of personal failure, and ultimately depression can set in.
In my opinion, distance running is a sport of integrity. Those who choose to cheat by not taking every stride needed between the start and finish lines are truly cheating themselves. We live in a world where cheaters will always try to take a short cut to claim a victory at something. Those of us who put in the work to actually achieve our goals will always experience TRUE victory.