Jan 10, 2018 at 5:16 am #3511607
A pro ultra runner who has also claimed some FKT’s was caught cheating at a recent event – calling all his prior results, including some race wins and FKT’s into question. He claimed the FKT on the 100 mile White Rim Road – which was previously held by Peter Bakwin. His time has now been removed from the FKT site and he has apparently been deleting his blog posts including the post about the White Rim FKT.
It doesn’t look good for him, sounds like there may have been a pattern of cheating at multiple events including his Boston Qualifier and multiple Leadville 100’s. It is sad to see this happen but good that the truth is coming out. It sounds like he is/was a sponsored, full-time runner, and has a coaching business as well.Jan 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm #3511632Mike MBPL Member
he used to frequent a running forum I’m on; seemed like a decent guy, but obviously cheating isn’t ever going to be condoned
one of his sponsors, Hammer, has dropped him- guessing any others will as wellJan 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm #3511662David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I’d known 6-day races were a thing in the 19th century. I’m glad to hear they (and 24, 48, and 72-hour) still happen.
I’m a lover, not a fighter, er, I mean a walker not a runner. Anyone know if someone walking 3-4 mph would be welcome at such an event, or viewed as an inconvenient speed bump? So far, I’ve done all my “death marches” on trails (the scenery is better), but timers, lap counters, water, porta potties, snacks, lack of needing a car shuttle, AND NO PACK WEIGHT would be pretty cool.Jan 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm #3511663
in past years I have been excoriated by some for suggesting better verification methods were needed for FKT claims. It doesn’t take money to tempt some to pass over that line. While of course its a small minority, the fact that there are any who are willing to do this demands a more rigorous method of verification if we are to have a system of keeping track of FKTs. I’m still arguing that the current “SPOT” method is so so at best, and should merely be viewed as transitory until something better can be developed. and no, I don’t have a replacement in mind … yet.Jan 10, 2018 at 6:44 pm #3511671
David – races like Across the Years are known as “circle jerks” for a reason. although I guess they are one step up from 6 days on a tread mill. however, there are multi day point to point catered runs that would welcome your hard earned cash no matter what pace you move at. search on the internet.Jan 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm #3511680
David, I have never been to one of these events, but my guess is that you would be more than welcome. Ultrarunning events tend to be very inclusive, non-judgemental affairs. I will say that in the races I’ve been to from 50k to 100 mile distance there is a whole lot of hiking going on, and while there are often cutoff times that you have to meet to continue, in most (perhaps all?) cases a 3-4 mph pace would be sufficient. I highly doubt a fixed time event held on a track or a 1 mile loop course for example would have cutoff times though – the organizers need to be out there till the end of the event anyway and they want to keep their customers (ie the runners) happy and involved regardless of how fast or slow they are.
Also, you may want to look into some of the 200 mile events – my guess is that many/most people pretty much hike the entire thing, and there are some good ones that are point to point and/or single loop courses through wilderness areas with great scenery (Tahoe 200, Bigfoot 200, Moab 240 etc). Of course there will be fewer aid stations on these, but you can basically do a fastpack style trip with a bunch of other people without carrying sleeping gear and food for 3-4+ days. These are getting quite popular and they are not cheap, but it seems like a great option if you can afford it.Jan 10, 2018 at 7:57 pm #3511696David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Art and Allen, thanks for the info. From the “Across the Years” website: “Track etiquette does not require lone runners to yield the inside lane to runners wanting to pass, regardless of whether the one being passed is running or walking at the time. It is assumed that each participant is there to do his or her best, and has an equal right to pursue personal goals. In a race of this type, it is to be expected that even the best will walk for periods of time”
Prices were about $50 plus $100/day (e.g. $150-ish for a 24-hour event, $650 for the 6-day event) and include meals, snacks and drinks. Cot and tent rental is extra, but not much.
The A to B 200s were around $1000.Jan 10, 2018 at 11:00 pm #3511729
David – it sort of depends what kind of multi day experience you want (aside from an FKT thing).
the Across the Years type of events … you basically run around in a big circle for several ways so aid is pretty easy to provide.
the Bigfoot type (run by Candice Burt) – are much more serious and remote courses (I have a friend who’s run all 3). typically Candice requires an entry qualifier to make sure you’re not getting in over your head. yes $1,000 is a bit steep, but ….
then there are the truly catered events that cost $3-4,000 where you run 20-30 miles a day then get served a tasty dinner with wine and retire to your pre setup tent. these are not usually races, just outdoor adventures.
take your pick.
p.s. there are a few official 100 milers where a pace under 3mph will get you to the finish before the cutoff. the Bigfoot type racers are also doing under 3 mph pace. of course required pace is relative to the course difficulty.Jan 11, 2018 at 12:02 am #3511744PedestrianBPL Member
Or you could enter and run the Barkley – just another circle jerk….
The fee is low enough and most “runners” walk much of the course.
I’ve heard you could even do just a “fun run” if you that’s your choice.Jan 11, 2018 at 2:20 am #3511779Ryan SmithBPL Member
@violentgreenLocale: East TN
I hate to hear it, but I suspect it’s much more rampant than expect. PEDs especially. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always been especially critical of European ultrarunners and their FKTs although American runners certainly aren’t immune to wrongdoing.
Either way, I agree with Art that a better way of verification is needed.Jan 11, 2018 at 3:31 am #3511785Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
David; Marathon des Sables.
Its on my bucket list. I realise you aren’t from that kind of climate, but you would otherwise have an excellent skillset to do well in it (vs most who go in it who are probably runners first, expert SUL/UL backpackers distance 1000th).Jan 11, 2018 at 4:13 am #3511791
It’s easy to say “a better way of verification is needed” for FKT’s. The question then is, better than what, and what exactly would that better way look like? Is it even possible to have a verification method that can’t be cheated?
There are currently multiple ways of verifying an FKT, each with its own inherent limitations. To name a few:
Eyewitness reports from friends/crew/bystanders etc; photos; videos; handing out cards to people you meet; GPS data files; live Spot/Inreach tracking, live posting to social media. I may be missing some but that is a good start.
It sounds like this particular White Rim FKT was claimed with minimal supporting evidence – photos of the GPS watch and Car odometer (which was apparently driven by his wife, following him the entire way?!). So he had an eyewitness account from his wife, and a couple photos that don’t really prove anything. And apparently he was DQ’ed from the Vermont 100 for riding in a vehicle with his wife, and also accused of the same behavior at Leadville 100. It sounds like he did not have any other witnesses, tracking, or even share the GPS data from his watch. So while it may be true that the current verification methods are imperfect, this case does not really support the statement that we need better methods of verification – if anything it highlights the need to use the more reliable ones we have, and to consider the integrity of the source and witnesses as well, and to consider how easy it would be to cheat a particular method on a particular FKT. It doesn’t say much of anything about all the other verification methods that he chose not to use.
This is a guy who has been caught and/or accused of cheating multiple times at races, missing timing mats, missing checkins at aid stations, and riding in vehicles, and apparently had something of a reputation as a cheater. I do not know him personally and was not aware of his reputation before this article was published, but the comments after the article make it pretty clear that this was a pattern and he had a reputation.
PED’s of course are a whole other thing; it’s hard to know how rampant they are but I’m encouraged that some of the bigger races at least are starting to test for them, to the extent that this is possible. Required testing for all runners and FKT claimers would be an interesting concept…perhaps this will even be feasible at some point in the not too distant future?Jan 11, 2018 at 4:35 pm #3511838
my main argument against SPOT type GPS devices is that they are nothing more than large “marathon chips” which this article has exposed as part of actual cheating scams. technology always seems to engender a perception of infallibility. but SPOTS are not truly 3rd party. yes, they are better than nothing, but I’m not sure they are better than lower tech real 3rd party methods.
I argued back in 2009 that credibility comes from credentials. A person’s history speaks a lot. Someone who makes a claim out of nowhere should show more verification than someone who has just won UTMB for the second time.
this may sound a bit 1984ish, but once the planet is out fitted with mandatory embedded GPS chips in all of us, the verification issue will be 95% solved. until then I’m still wracking my brain for the perfect method.Jan 11, 2018 at 5:50 pm #3511850
Actually if this guy had been carrying a SPOT or Inreach in the race where he was caught, or any of the other races where he was suspected of cheating, it would have been obvious that he was skipping loops and getting in vehicles as you would have seen it on the GPS track.
So SPOT is actually nothing like a large marathon chip, which has no GPS technology and requires you to cross over timing mats which sometimes fail to register and do not track you at all except when you cross a mat. SPOT has its limitations, but it is actually a huge improvement over marathon chips and makes it much harder to cheat.
Also, this guy had a number of race wins – ie plenty of “credentials”, whereas Brett Maune in 2009 had basically no credentials when he “came out of nowhere” and destroyed the JMT record. And yet this guy was the cheater and Brett’s documentation, integrity, and subsequent feats have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did what he said he did.Jan 23, 2018 at 9:00 pm #3513976Peter BakwinBPL Member
As to walking at fixed time races: yes, many people do. In his late 60s my father in law started joining us at these races. Eventually my mother in law got tired of just crewing, and though an out of shape, sendentary, elderly lady, she started walking. Eventually she got so she could walk 30 miles in 12 hours, listening to her head phones & having a good time. I think she was in the best shape of her life, and the other participants welcomed & encouraged her fully.Jan 24, 2018 at 1:30 am #3514038Peter BakwinBPL Member
BTW, I also participated in multi day stage races crossing both France & Germany. While some folks moved FAST (like averaging better than 13km/hr for 70+ km days) others basically walked. The requirement was to maintain 5.5km/hr average.
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