This Marathon Had 11,000 Cheaters That Were Disqualified – 1/3 of the Field!

a group of people running
Written by Charlie

Wow! One marathon had 11,000 runners disqualified this year for cheating and cutting the course! That is 1/3 of the entire field!

Marathon cheats are nothing new – every marathon, unfortunately, has people who try to cut the course. Some people may do it for an age group prize or for a qualifying race but to have 11,000 runners do it one race?!

The Mexico City Marathon Disqualified 11,000 Cheaters

This is not the first time that this marathon had disqualified runners who tried to cut the course. In the past, they have had thousands of runners disqualified but never has many as this race.

There were timing mats every 5km, which means there would be 8 mats and the finish line mat. This is the same as it was the last time this happened in a large number (2017) yet somehow there were 11,000 runners this time that thought they could get away with it this year.

There were reports of many runners hopping on vehicles or using public transportation to move further ahead on the course. The statement by the Mexico City Marathon cites those who “demonstrated unsportsmanlike attitude” during the race and they disqualified 11,000 of the entrants.

Honestly, it just makes me scratch my head. With such a large amount of people cutting the course, I am curious if things are poorly marked in places – like, do people just start running after the crowd and not realize that it is the wrong way? Or were there really that many people who thought they could cheat without it being known and get a better time.

I know there are times that mats don’t register a runner at times (I have had this happen to me – I cross each of them but one of them didn’t report my crossing it). I think the Mexico City Marathon really needs to dig deeper into this to see if it was a wholesale disregard for the course or if there are things they need to do to make it work better.

A Personal Word on Cheating

I am against cheating at all and it always surprised me when I hear of people cheating in a marathon. Except for the very few at the front of the pack, the hundreds of thousands of us who run marathons are doing it to compete against ourselves. It is something that we do to prove something to ourselves or to try and beat a previous time.

For me, I would never feel good about a time where I had cheated. So what if you get to tell friends and family that you ran a 3:0X:00 time when you normally run 3:30s in a marathon. They will likely say “oh, that’s nice” and not even really comprehend the effort and speed that it took to do that. The only person that will really care would be you, the runner. If you cheated for that time, it will do absolutely nothing for you.

I once lost out on a 2nd place prize in my category at a race because someone cheated and wore another person’s bib. I had lost to that person by 2 seconds and looked them up after to see who it was. Imagine my surprise when the name was of a person I knew of and I knew that was not him! I informed the race director and ended up getting my 2nd place prize in the end.

In this case, now there are 11,000 runners that can say whatever they want about their time but both the results page and their own GPS watches will say differently.

Featured image courtesy of Ostill via Shutterstock

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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

  • I’m curious what this has to say about the culture. Chinese culture has some pretty major differences from western standards. Is this one of those where cheating is sort of okay somehow?