It Happened Again – Thousands of Runners Disqualified from the Mexico City Marathon

mexico city marathon
Written by Charlie

For the second year in a row, thousands of runners were disqualified from the Mexico City Marathon. There were many cheaters who cut corners, cheated timing mats, and more to add up to over 15% of the field being disqualified.

News reports have the number of disqualified cheaters at the 2018 Mexico City Marathon at just over 3,000. However, according to Marathon Investigations (which is run by an awesome defender of the sport, Derek Murphy), the number is again over 5,000 disqualified runners. Why would anyone do this and what is the problem with the Mexico City Marathon that this has happened again?

Over 5,000 Runners Disqualified from the Mexico City Marathon

Link: Marathon Investigations

You have likely heard the joke – “about 67.4% of statistics are made up.” Not only that, but there are always ways to fudge numbers and it appears that has happened with the news reports about the 2018 Mexico City Marathon.

Here are the numbers:

  • 38,336 runners signed-up for the 2018 Mexico City Marathon
  • 29,555 started the race
  • 32,645 finished the race
  • 2,011 supposedly did not start the race

The reason for the negative difference between those that started the race and those that finished it is because the organizers disqualified 3,090 runners for cheating. However, according to Derek, the latest number puts it at 32,645 runners crossed the finish line and 27,523 are in the results having completed it. This leaves a discrepency of 5,122 runners that had been disqualified and removed from the final results.

Strangely enough, this is fairly close to last year’s number of cheaters in this race. In the 2017 Mexico City Marathon, over 5,800 runners were disqualified for cheating. This year, that number is lower but still really embarrassing. The race officials say they have the contact information of those that cheated and will be in touch with them, as well as letting Boston know so that any that attempt to sign-up with the cheating time will be blocked from the registration process.

Why Would So Many People Cheat in a Marathon?

But, some of those runners that did cheat may not really care – even if they are banned from future races. The reason is that Mexico City Marathon had a really cool promo where you would get a medal with a different letter to make up the spelling of the name “Mexico” for those that completed the last 6 marathons. There were 925 runners that completed that goal and received their final medal.

This could explain why some of those people may have cheated – to get their last letter. This would be a nice thing to hang on the wall and, for some, maybe even something to sell. If they were not in a position to run the whole marathon, they may have thought cheating was the only way to get it.

Of course, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is another reason people attempt to cheat in a race. For some people, running Boston is a lifelong goal and if they are not fast enough to get there on their own, they might try their feet at cheating to get such a qualifying time. Fortunately, they do catch many people that attempt this. This would be particularly horrible to have someone bumped from their rightful place in the Boston Marathon because of a cheater (and this has happened before).

For What Other Reason?

Beyond both of those reason, I cannot fathom why anyone would cheat in a marathon (I am certainly not saying those reasons are justified!). I mean, I am really not sure what it is about marathon cheaters. Those of us who run these 26.2 mile events are normally met with a mixture of responses from people who don’t run – and rarely is it a response of “oh, you are soooo cool!” More often than not, there is the inevitable, “Why?!?!”

Running a marathon is a great thing for people to attempt (in fact, here are 5 Reasons to Run Your First Marathon) but, unless you are elite, it will never really make you money. It is more about something that matters to the runner. For this reason, a marathon cheater is really not cheating anyone but their own self. A cheater may have a medal that says they completed 26.2 miles but their body and mind are cheated from the actual completion.

Featured image courtesy of Ostill :

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • That’s life Charlie. Many people who have low self-esteem will cheat at anything that might make them feel better. Because of their lack of confidence or laziness, they want to feel good without having to pay the price of what it takes. They are just fooling and making a mockery of themselves.

    You can find lots of people like this on Instagram, who are pretending to be something they are not. Very sad indeed.