In the world of running, there are few names more infamous than that of Rosie Ruiz, the woman who crossed the line first in the 1980 Boston Marathon, only to get disqualified for re-entering the race near the finish. St. Louis now has a Rosie Ruiz of its own in Kendall Schler.
Schler’s first-place finish in the GO! St. Louis Marathon was wiped off after officials determined Wednesday that she could not have actually run the entire course, or even most of it. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Schler is thought to have crept onto the course after the final checkpoint.
Schler also had a third-place finish at last year’s event disqualified, after officials went back and could find no evidence that she crossed any checkpoints and couldn’t identify her in any photos. From the Post-Dispatch:
“It’s a difficult situation for everybody, including the people who run a fair race and don’t get the recognition they should receive,” said Nancy Lieberman, president of GO! St. Louis. “I said to her, ‘It looks like you perpetrated a fraud.’ I have nothing legitimate that says she officially started and ran 26.2 miles in 2014 or 2015.”
Lieberman said incidents of dishonest runners happened but called this “an extreme case.” …
Lieberman said that nothing about Schler’s story made sense. She had her bib and number on her leg, contrary to marathon guidelines, and covered by a shirt. She told Lieberman she had removed the timing strip from the bib in each of the last two years.
Schler, from Columbia, Mo., had been manually given a time of 3 hours 13 minutes 4 seconds in 2014, easily fast enough to have qualified in her age group for the Boston Marathon, and she had been entered in that race, which will be held on Monday. Schler won’t be allowed to run in Boston, or in any future organized events in St. Louis.
The actual women’s winner this year in St. Louis was Andrea Karl, a Washington University graduate student who crossed the line in 2:54:28. However, she received no initial fanfare and wasn’t even photographed finishing, because Schler had crossed the line ahead of her.
“There’s a euphoria the winner gets, breaking the tape and having the crowd cheer,” Lieberman told the Post-Dispatch. “The true winner did everything right and didn’t get her due.”