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Did my teammate cheat?

Old 09-25-18, 08:24 AM
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mjw16
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Did my teammate cheat?

After watching some documentaries on youtube and reading several articles I've been troubled by something that happened a few years ago. Back in 2013 I suggested doing a half iron man as a relay team comprised of 3 friends; my neighbor would do the swim, I'd do the bike, and a best friend's wife the run. I thought it would be a great opportunity to train and race together while still allowing each of us to pursue our own specialties. The first year we did it all was fine, however, the next is the one that troubles me a bit. It was the same group with the same plan, each participating in their favorite event, but that we'd make a concerted attempt to improve on the previous year's results. While discussing strategy we confirmed some basics, among them that the timing chip was to be placed on each participant's left ankle per the race director's direction. After seeing our swimmer off, our runner and myself went to T1 to prepare, there I re-iterated the chip transfer process. Our runner said she'd place the chip on her bib instead, insisting that it works fine in the running events she did. I thought that was a bad idea and suggested, again, that she put it on her ankle so the timing mats could read it accurately. Again she declined. Once our swimmer was in I took off on the bike portion, chip on left ankle, and on my return, cramping badly, I could neither remind our runner nor saw where she placed the chip. I later discovered that it was on her wrist, not ankle. On completing the race, and checking her time (I believe) our runner failed to obtain a time. She stormed around insisting that she needed the time to qualify for another race. She followed up with angry emails to the event organizers and they finally relented and issued her a time. The funny thing is that she had moved the chip to her ankle at some point during the run and insisted that's where it was all along-either there was a chip/mat or other time keeping failure. Pictures do confirm it on her ankle, however our swimmer was certain she left T1 with it on her wrist. Both myself and our swimmer finished top 10 and I made a significant improvement (about 12 min in the half iron man distance) over our previous year's attempt. These results, however, were over shadowed by our runner's anger and insistence on obtaining a qualifying time in her event. I don't recall if she provided GPS results or if the race organizers estimated what her time could or should have been. We ended up letting the whole thing die down and moving on, never participating in this event again. Initially I thought it was and arrogant miscalculation on the part of our runner, but have since been wondering if it was cheating-specifically to create a plausible excuse for a poor placing should that be the case. It was, in fact the case and her time placed her 3rd from last. So, given that some of these factors are consistent with other, more notorious, cases of cheating, I'm beginning to think that's what may have happened and have been frustrated that our results and efforts were compromised by this. Because I'm curious, and in order to get some closure on this (and without re-hashing this or inquiring directly of our friend), I'm interested to get some other bikeforums members thoughts on this.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:36 AM
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Sorry, can you rephrase the question?
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Old 09-25-18, 08:39 AM
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Give back the trophy?

I can see that you have ethical issue with this but it's not your ethics that's involved here. If you didn't personally benefit by your team mate's presumed cheating, you have no reason to have a guilty conscience.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:39 AM
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Holy Giant Wall Of Text, Batman!

Paragraphs, my friend. Paragraphs!

Also...if she cheated...she did it badly. She finished 3rd from last. And you no longer race with her. So...what's the big deal? No one was hurt as a result of this. She didn't displace a legitimate medal winner by cheating. She nudged the 3rd slowest runner down to the 2nd slowest runner. (And actually had she been caught cheating she would have been disqualified, so the 2nd slowest runner would have still been the 2nd slowest runner. She'd be one closer to the winner, but not 1 further from last)

Is it still wrong if she cheated? Yeah. But how is that your cross to bear? No one was really impacted by it, you didn't do it, and you're not currently racing with her anymore so you won't be involved in anything like that again.

And you don't even KNOW she cheated. All you KNOW is that she was being cranky that day and acting like a know it all regarding where to place the timer thingy. It's entirely possible that there was no ill intent on her part, just a severe case of "I know everything" that caused her chip to malfunction because she didn't know as much as she thought she did.

Also...it was 5 years ago.

I mean if YOU did this and even 5 years later felt the need to confess I'd say to call the race organizers and unburden your soul. Find the 2nd slowest runner and let that person know they were cheated. Make amends for something that's been bothering you for 5 years and come clean. I totally get the need to do that. But we're talking about someone else's mistakes here. You didn't do it.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 09-25-18 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:54 AM
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If she cheated and came in 3rd from last, it might well be one of the worst attempts at cheating ever.

So did she cheat? No. Did she attempt to cheat and fail? Possibly. Was there a legitimate timing error, either due to equipment, or an error on her part? Equally possible.

Is it all completely moot because it happened 4 years ago? Definitely.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:04 AM
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You've been hanging onto this for 5 years? ? Let it go already!

BTW the 2 running events I have done the timing chip has been on the back of the number which is pinned to the front of my top. I don't see how it makes any difference where the timing chip is as long as it is on you. It would only be cheating if you handed it off to a faster runner or to a person riding a bicycle or in a car.

Time to move on with your life.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:14 AM
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On the other hand, if the OP ever is nominated for the Supreme Court, he's definitely ethical enough that I'd support him.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:18 AM
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Consider the whole incident homage to Rosie Ruiz.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:30 AM
  #9  
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Can BF definitively answer this question? No.

Is something fishy? Yes.

If you have a spare several hours, go down the rabbit hole that is the Marathon Investigation website. It's truly fascinating stuff the lengths people will go to cheat at marathons, and ultras. There's usually some patterns, too, most commonly course cutting and bib mules.

Since you said there are pictures of her wearing the timing chip, but also no times that were registered, my guess would be course cutting. Timing errors do happen (and Marathon Investigation has also exonerated people wrongly accused of course cutting) but it's pretty uncommon. Usually when there is no time data recorded combined with "thou doth protest too much" it means someone cut the course.

Motivation? Who knows. You said she needed the time to qualify for another event. Did she end up qualifying for that other event? If so, there's your probable answer.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post

Since you said there are pictures of her wearing the timing chip, but also no times that were registered, my guess would be course cutting. Timing errors do happen (and Marathon Investigation has also exonerated people wrongly accused of course cutting) but it's pretty uncommon. Usually when there is no time data recorded combined with "thou doth protest too much" it means someone cut the course.
How would course cutting cause a time not to register? (I'm not arguing with you. I have never run a marathon and have no desire to ever try. I have no idea how the timing works. I'm just curious.)

The timer system registers the RFID tag when the racer passes the sensor at the start and again at the end. Your race time is the difference between those 2 values.

If you cut the course and finishes way early, wouldn't the sensor still register the RFID tag and just give you a shorter time?

Or do they have other sensors along the route that have to be triggered for the final number to count?
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Old 09-25-18, 09:39 AM
  #11  
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Is this a life altering event for you? If not...
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Old 09-25-18, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
How would course cutting cause a time not to register? (I'm not arguing with you. I have never run a marathon and have no desire to ever try. I have no idea how the timing works. I'm just curious.)

The timer system registers the RFID tag when the racer passes the sensor at the start and again at the end. Your race time is the difference between those 2 values.

If you cut the course and finishes way early, wouldn't the sensor still register the RFID tag and just give you a shorter time?

Or do they have other sensors along the route that have to be triggered for the final number to count?
I don't know specifically, I don't run either. My understanding is that marathons will often have multiple timing mats, partly to cut down on this sort of thing.

It is odd that *no* time registered at all, so I'm not discounting a chip malfunction. It just seems fishy is all.

But seriously, check out Marathon Investigation. It's really good stuff, plus it makes me feel better about cycling -- at least when we cheat we just take drugs to go faster, we don't skip parts of the course!

Last edited by ksryder; 09-25-18 at 09:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-25-18, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
It's really good stuff, plus it makes me feel better at cycling -- at least when we cheat we just take drugs to go faster, we don't skip parts of the course!
I look at marathon runners and just think "You know I can do 26.2 miles in like half the time with maybe 10% of the energy, right? Why are you making this distance complicated?"
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Old 09-25-18, 09:46 AM
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I did a century last month, put my timing RFID thingy on the side of my helmet where they said to put it and I didn't register at one of the time checks. (shrug)

I wasn't third from last either though.

Is her name Elizabeth Swaney by any chance?
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Old 09-25-18, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I look at marathon runners and just think "You know I can do 26.2 miles in like half the time with maybe 10% of the energy, right? Why are you making this distance complicated?"
In boot camp one of our running cadences went:

"Deuce and a half sitting in the motor pool
"I'm out here running like a damned old fool"

And that pretty much sums up my attitude towards running.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
In boot camp one of our running cadences went:

"Deuce and a half sitting in the motor pool
"I'm out here running like a damned old fool"

And that pretty much sums up my attitude towards running.
In boot camp I ran when they told me to run. Not a step further.

Hiking...I was happy all day long hiking. Even at a forced march pace. 20 mile hikes with full gear? Nothing to it. Can't wait! But a 3 mile run? Kill me now.

Then I went to my MOS school and learned how to drive a tank. And that was the end of running and walking.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:09 AM
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I don't know if she cheated or not.....

I do know I paid $0.03 for cookies the other day that were suppose to be $3.99

My grand total wasn't adding up in my head, so looked at receipt and saw it. I went back in to tell them so they could fix the issue. and they said thanks and then charged me $3.96.

LOL Always do the right thing no matter what.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:17 AM
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It blows my mind that folks train for these races, and cheat. For what? Their name on some list that no one cares about?

***Gratuitous brag: I'm big and normally hefty, but in 1997 I was trim and in shape and placed 3rd in the US National Half-marathon championships (well, 3rd in the under 40, male, Clydesdale class). I ran a 1:35.***. I guess the point of this brag (so it's not gratuitous!) is that I am pretty competitive. So I understand the drive.

But would I have felt better if I'd cheated and come in second, or first? Maybe. Fleetingly. But the knowledge that I'd cheated would have lasted a lot longer than the pleasure gained. I think that the cheaters are so wrapped up in being a legend in their own mind that they loose focus on the simple fact that in amateur races like this NO ONE CARES A MONTH AFTER THE RACE. And they end up with guilt that drives them to cheat more. Like heroin: they'll never feel good about themselves unless its right after a "fix". But then withdrawal...

To the OP: Water over the bridge. If you see your erstwhile teamate's times posted, and they are in the same range as Lance Armstrong's TdF speeds, perhaps mention your concern the the race director. But I'd let it pass. You didn't cheat.

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Old 09-25-18, 10:31 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
For what? Their name on some list that no one cares about?
Well, I once placed 3rd in my age group (4 of us total) in a duathlon and won a nifty mug that said "Award Winner" on it. (But I probably could have bought a couple dozen of them instead of paying the race fee.)
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Old 09-25-18, 10:59 AM
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Rosie Ruiz and/or life changing it is not, however, it is intriguing from a sports ethics perspective. I must admit that, personally, I found it irritating that our combined efforts and investments were compromised by this, however, whatever the cause, we've all moved on. My final thoughts are this: at it's most benign her decision was a bad call, at worst it was an attempt to cheat to either distract from a poor performance or to attempt to wrestle an improved time from the officials. The end result (failing to post a competitive time) is irrelevant, an attempt to cheat may have been made and this would have the bigger impact on a sport that relies on each participant's honesty. On the other hand, if it were an intentional mistake, would it rise to the level of cheating? Especially if she were dishonest in pursuing a result that should have been disqualified by the willful failure to wear the timing chip the right way.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mjw16 View Post
Rosie Ruiz and/or life changing it is not, however, it is intriguing from a sports ethics perspective. I must admit that, personally, I found it irritating that our combined efforts and investments were compromised by this, however, whatever the cause, we've all moved on. My final thoughts are this: at it's most benign her decision was a bad call, at worst it was an attempt to cheat to either distract from a poor performance or to attempt to wrestle an improved time from the officials. The end result (failing to post a competitive time) is irrelevant, an attempt to cheat may have been made and this would have the bigger impact on a sport that relies on each participant's honesty. On the other hand, if it were an intentional mistake, would it rise to the level of cheating? Especially if she were dishonest in pursuing a result that should have been disqualified by the willful failure to wear the timing chip the right way.
It was 5 years ago.

Running is still a sport (despite my best efforts to convince people it's a miserable experience). It has not collapsed under the weight of this dishonest competitor in a local race that no other human being has thought about in 4.5 years.

And you didn't do anything wrong.

Let it go.

You'll kill yourself with stress letting stuff like this bother you for years and years.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by athrowawaynic View Post
Well, I once placed 3rd in my age group (4 of us total) in a duathlon and won a nifty mug that said "Award Winner" on it. (But I probably could have bought a couple dozen of them instead of paying the race fee.)
I came in last place in a golf tournament once. Everyone on my team received a trophy of a horse's butt.

I'm proud of that trophy to this very day because what it really means is that my team was the only honest players in that tournament!
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Old 09-25-18, 11:14 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by athrowawaynic View Post
Well, I once placed 3rd in my age group (4 of us total) in a duathlon
Hilarious. And I'm jealous - I want to try duathalons.

Originally Posted by athrowawaynic View Post
and won a nifty mug that said "Award Winner" on it. (But I probably could have bought a couple dozen of them instead of paying the race fee.)
Zactly what I'm talking about.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:22 AM
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Intriguing, irritating = 1
stressful = 0
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Old 09-25-18, 11:26 AM
  #25  
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tl;dnr

Are the Cliff Notes available?
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