Rosie Ruiz, 66, dishonest marathon runner (NYC 1979; Boston 1980)
(too old to reply)
That Derek
2019-08-08 15:19:25 UTC

Rosie Ruiz, Infamous for Cheating 1980 Boston Marathon, Dies at 66

For eight days she was the winner of the 1980 race, until a mountain of evidence proved she had jumped onto the course in the final few miles.

By Roger Robinson
Aug 8, 2019

Rosie Ruiz, whose name is notoriously synonymous with marathon cheating, died on July 8, from cancer, according to an obituary posted by her family in Palm Beach, Florida. She was 66 and known as Rosie M. Vivas.

Ruiz infamously jumped into the 1980 Boston Marathon in the final stretch of the race and claimed the women’s win ahead of the true champion, Jacqueline Gareau of Québec. Runners and fans have always resented that Ruiz basked in acclamation for her supposed come-from-behind victory and refused to admit guilt. Gareau had to cross the finish line with no recognition of her course record time of 2:34:28, or her dominant defeat of the prerace favorite, Patti Lyons of Boston, who was second in 2:35:08.

It was also found that Ruiz began her course-cutting career in her first marathon, New York City in 1979, when she either dropped out, or skipped the course completely, and was seen on the subway to Central Park. She crossed the finish line, receiving medical attention for a supposedly injured ankle, and her bar code was recorded as a finisher. That gave her a Boston qualification for 1980. Her employer, thrilled by her result, paid her expenses to go to Boston.

Doubts quickly surfaced after she finished as the women’s winner in Boston. Her fresh appearance and sweat-free T-shirt did not fit with a hard 26 miles on a sunny day in the mid-70s. In one photo, she ill-advisedly raised her arms in jubilation to reveal totally dry armpits.

In a postrace interview, she seemed astoundingly at a loss of how runners win marathons. “What are intervals?” she responded to television interviewer Kathrine Switzer, when asked about the details of her training. Switzer had commentated on almost the whole women’s race in a golf cart alongside the leaders and was perplexed that she had been calling Gareau as the clear winner over Lyons when she had to leave the course with two miles to go. But in that early development era in women’s marathoning, unexpected new talent was still sometimes emerging, and few wanted to condemn Ruiz outright without due process.
David Carson
2019-08-08 18:57:57 UTC
I have no idea how things were done in the 80s. These days, in all the
races I've done, the runners wear bibs with a number on the front and
an RFID chip stuck on the back. There's always a chip reader at the
start/finish mat. Sometimes that's the only chip reader on the course,
which makes those races easy to cheat by shortcutting. I don't think
this is common on 10ks, and I've never witnessed it personally, but I
have wtinessed it on longer races.

The better-organized races have one or more chip reader mats placed so
that runners can't take shortcuts. In theory, these can be cheated by
getting off the course, using some kind of vehicle, and getting back
on, but in the majority of races I've run, that would be extremely
conspicuous, and probably impossible to pull off without someone

The other way is for a buddy to start the race for you, you take up a
position as a spectator or enter a different event with an earlier
start time, and you get the bib from your buddy partway through, so it
ends up being a relay race. This can be hard to catch, but it would
also be hard to win the race this way, because both people involved
would have to very good runners, and you still might not get away with
it. This is a more tempting way to cheat for someone who isn't trying
to win, but just wants to boast of having an impressive personal
record time. I don't know how common it is, but every race always has
a rule written in bold and all caps against sharing or swapping bibs.
Some organizers make racers show ID when picking up their bibs (which
they can usually do a couple of days in advance), but I've never seen
any racer be asked to show ID at the start or finish.

David Carson
2019-08-08 19:00:17 UTC
Maybe she'll find a shortcut to heaven
bill van
2019-08-08 19:15:04 UTC
Post by That Derek
You can run, but you can't ride.

Bryan Styble
2019-08-09 08:36:28 UTC
Thank you, thank you, a thousand thank-yous to Derek for finding this, which had completely eluded me, my having somehow last month missed Ruiz's name on Wikipedia's July 2019 Deaths roster. [D'oh!]

This one is more important to me than most, inasmuch as I once [Monday, April 15, 1974*, a bit windy but dry all afternoon into The Prudential Center finish line] traversed every one of those 138,435 feet of eastern Massachusetts that Ruiz so preposterously lied** about covering, though my actual (if pathetic) finishing time [5 hrs 22 mins; wish I could recall the seconds] over the often-hilly course was sure a lot longer than Ruiz's fictive one.

The blithe denial exhibited by whichever Ruiz relative wrote that uber-saccharine paid-obituary in the local Palm Beach paper is nothing short of breathtaking; I'm grateful I'm from a family who would never deny my numerous shortcomings upon my death, no matter how unfortunate that demise might be.

This late scoundrel's subsequent seriously*** criminal life reminds one of a saying about leopards and spots.

* The day following Easter (and thus in some cultures termed Easter Monday), and, as it happened, the same Monday when a continent to the west, kidnapee Patty Hearst--operating with the SLA under her nom de guerre Tania--would be security-camera captured brandishing the kind of weapon which today every 2020 Democrat prez wannabe would love to melt down.
** And then CONTINUED to lie about it throughout her life!
*** Big-time embezzlement!