On This Day: April 21, 1980, Rosie Ruiz wins the Boston Marathon
“On April 21, 1980, Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon by entering the race near the finish line, ahead of all the other female runners. She was stripped of her victory eight days later.”
Apparently, Ruiz had started the race with the other contestants. She then exited the race and got onto a subway which brought her to around a half-mile of the finish. At a point in time, she stepped back onto the marathon course and resumed running and “won” the Boston Marathon!
Facts & Information:
The Boston Marathon:
- First Marathon – 1896
- The Boston Marathon is fashioned after the Greek legendary run of a foot-soldier — Pheidippides — who is said to have run 24 miles from the plains of Marathon to Athens, Greece, to deliver a message which gave the Greek army an astonishing victory over the Persian force.
- Originally a 24.8-mile course.
- Approximately a twenty-five-mile route – 26.2 miles
- Originally only men were allowed to compete.
- In 1967 — “Katherine Switzter did not identify herself as a woman on her application and was issued a bib number. On the day of the race, officials tried to remove her from the field, but she ran anyway, finishing in 3:10:26.”
- In 1972 women were allowed to compete.
- Thousands of people compete today — Just short of 30,000 in 2018.
- Tips (by Jeff Galloway — who has trained 250,000 runners) see — https://www.active.com/running/articles/your-race-day-guide-for-your-first-marathon
- To run in the Boston Marathon, you have to run another race first which qualifies you to run the Boston Marathon.
Enter — Rosie Ruiz:
Rosie Ruiz: Born in Havana, Cuba
Moved with her family in 1962 to Florida.
Moved to NYC in 1970’s
She was an administrative assistant
She was not a professional marathon runner and ran her first New York marathon in 1979 — time: 2h:56m
That time qualified her to run in the Boston Marathon in 1980.
In 1980, at the age of 26, she ran the Boston Marathon.
It was a 70-degree day in Boston
He time was 2h:31m
There were suspicions early on that she had cheated.
Clues Of The Fraud:
- “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that woman had run a marathon. She wasn’t tired enough,” said men’s winner Bill Rodgers.
- She was barely sweating.
- She couldn’t recall the details of her route.
- No one remembered seeing her in the race — competitors or spectators, no less the actual winner.
- Jacqueline Gareau was believed to be the frontrunner throughout the race.
- “She acknowledged that she’d only started training 18 months earlier, by running around Central Park. And she’d only ever competed in one other marathon: the New York Marathon, where she’d had a notably slower (although still impressive) time.”
- Kathrine Switzer (a well-known past competitor in the Boston Marathon) asked Ruiz about her “intervals,” and Ruiz replied, “What’s an interval?”
- “Her thighs were much flabbier and fatter than would be expected for a world-class runner.”
- Tests revealed a resting heart rate of 76 — most female runners would be in the 50’s or lower.
- Her time was 25 minutes shorter than her run in the NYC marathon qualifier.
- “New York Marathon director Fred Lebow wondered, “Her hair in place? Her sides dry?” One veteran marathoner looked at Ruiz and said it was obvious “she hadn’t run a marathon …. Her face was not even flushed.” — mass moments
Winning Time: 2:31:56!
“When she crossed the finish line in Copley Square at 2:31:56, officials placed the traditional laurel ring on her head and awarded her the champion’s medal and a place in the record books. Ruiz’s time broke famed female marathoner Joan Benoit’s record by over three minutes and was the third fastest ever run by a woman.”— https://www.massmoments.org/moment-details/rosie-ruiz-steals-boston-marathon.html
After a review of what they had on videotape along with other pictures of the marathon, they could not find her pictured until near the end of the race — about the last half mile.
Finally, a photographer came forth and said that he had spoken to here on the NY subway.
“Ruiz explained the fact that she was wearing a marathon number by telling fellow subway riders that she had twisted her ankle and just wanted to see the end of the race.” — Time
Rosie Ruiz was disqualified for cheating eight days later.
Jacqueline Gareau was awarded her medal two weeks after the race.
“According to one theory explaining her motivation to cheat in the Boston Marathon, her boss was impressed by her performance and offered to pay for her to enter the Boston Marathon. Not wanting to disappoint him, she planned to enter the race in the middle of the pack, but mistakenly entered ahead of all the other women.”
In 1982 Rosie Ruiz was arrested, convicted, and received five years probably for grand larceny and forgery at the real estate firm for which she worked — She stole $60,000.
In 1983 she was arrested for selling two kilos of cocaine — to an undercover agent in Miami — and sentenced and served 23 days in jail.
Key Illustrative Thoughts:
• running the race
• crossing the finish line — legitimately
• fraud discovered / uncovered
• winning, losing, & cheating
• You can win if you don’t run the whole thing!
• clues: you were never in the real race
• wearing the costume
• she qualified to run
• qualified but was disqualified
• running just the last half-mile!
Other Information & Links:
Because of Rosie Ruiz’s attempted fraud . . . .
“Boston Marathon organizers have made it harder to follow in Ruiz’s fraudulent footsteps. An unscrupulous couple who finished first in the senior category of the 1997 marathon were quickly found out, despite having registered at the course’s computer checkpoints, because they failed to appear on video shot at secret locations.” — http://time.com/3822577/rosie-ruiz-history/
“BOSTON: Move over, Rosie Ruiz. A married couple who finished in near-record time in the senior category of this year’s Boston Marathon had their titles yanked when The Boston Athletic Association could not find a trace of them on key videotapes of the race. Race officials grew suspicious when John Murphy, 61, and Suzanne Murphy, 59, ran much faster than they had in the past. Studying the tapes, race officials found that while the couple did register at three computer checkpoints along the course, they did not show on videos shot at secret locations. “Following an intensive review of our surveillance videotapes, the two individuals have been disqualified from the race and their names will be removed from the results,” said Guy Morse, the race director. The new winners? Anthony Cerminaro, 60, of Jermyn, Pa., and Susan Gustafson, 50, of Norwell, Ma. And they’ve got the blisters to prove it.” — http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,8071,00.html