Several news outlets reported yesterday that Robert Cheruiyot didn’t cheat when he won the 2010 Boston Marathon on Monday.
The only problem, Cheruiyot was never accused of cheating by anyone associated with the Boston Athletic Association, the organization that puts on the race.
Between miles six and seven, Cheruiyot stepped onto the sidewalk to avoid colliding with the large pack of lead runners.
According to race official Steve Vaitones, “They were all hugging the curb. There was no space for Cheruiyot to go. He either went up there or his next step could have been a pretty treacherous one.”
To anyone who runs, the idea that Cheruiyot could have gained some advantage by stepping onto the sidewalk for four seconds is laughable. If anything, it took more energy.
But apparently someone who watched the race pointed out his sidewalk hop, and thought it might constitute a rule violation.
According to Vaitones. “Under road-running, a runner has to gain an unfair advantage by intentionally shortening the course. There’s no advantage, and the course certainly wasn’t shortened. There’s nothing afoul of the rules.”
Executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, Guy Morse, probably thought the accusation was so ridiculous that it didn’t warrant an official response.
For the sake of Cheruityot, however, who gave a brillant and brave performance on Monday, Morse did say, “There are no specific out-of-bounds areas. It’s not like a tennis match.”
When asked about the incident Cheruiyot replied, “I did not want to run inside (with) people.” Running in a large pack can be dangerous, and a fall at any stage of the race can be a disaster.
Cheruiyot went on to win the race in 2:05:52, a course record by over a minute. Now that’s news.