Two Runners Caught Cheating At Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Two women who finished in the top 10 at the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday have been disqualified for cheating, race director Rick Nealis said. Many more runners likely will be disqualified in the next two weeks.

Pilar Paras and Consuelo Visoso , who finished seventh and eighth, respectively, missed an electronic checkpoint at the 15-mile mark on the course, the Washington Times reported yesterday. Nealis guessed the two women took a shortcut that made the race about 20 miles, instead of the standard 26.2.

"We get so much data on the runners now that it's become very hard to cheat," Nealis said. "They either made a quick turn and cut off about 6.5 miles, or they got a little aggressive and jumped on Metro."

Nealis disqualified 350 runners for cheating last year, and he will thoroughly examine this year's race times during the next two weeks. As of yesterday, 20,979 runners finished the race, Nealis said, but that number likely will shrink considerably.

"I take cheating kind of personally," Nealis said. "This race is a competition first, and we can't lose sight of that."

-- Eli Saslow

© 2006 The Washington Post Company