Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has broken the strict creed that we runners abide by: he has lied about his marathon time. Runners. Just. Don’t. Do. That. And now he’s been caught in this lie, and it might just destroy his run (pun intended) for the White House.
In an interview last week with Hugh Hewitt, Ryan claimed that his best marathon time was under three hours:
HH: But you did run marathons at some point?
PR: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.
HH: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?
PR: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.
A 2:50-something, my ass. Turns out, he ran one marathon and he didn’t even come close to breaking three hours. He didn’t even break four hours. According to the runners-in-the-know at Runner’s World, Ryan ran the 1990 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 25 seconds. That’s a far cry from “high twos” as he claimed.
So, like many politician who lie, Ryan has been caught.
In a statement issued to Runner’s World by a spokesman Friday night, Ryan tried to make light of this “error”:
The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin—who ran Boston last year—reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.
If I were to do any rounding? Um, not only do runners never lie about their finish times (or they run the risk of becoming know as “that guy”), but we also never “round” down our times. A 4:01 marathon is pretty darn good, but it’s not four hours and it’s certainly not three hours or less. It’s a 4:01, and anyone who is a real runner knows that we don’t forget our finish times. Ever.
I may forget my family’s birthdays or when the first day of school is or whether I really washed my hair in the shower this morning, but I’ll be damned if I ever forget any of my race times. I have run 13 marathons and I could go right down the list and tell you the exact finish times of each and every one of them.
As a fellow runner once yelled to someone at a race who was cutting the corner, “We may cheat on our taxes, but we never cheat in a race.” Runners are funny that way.
What’s not funny is when someone lies about their times. Because if Ryan lied about something like this, it makes us wonder: What else will he lie about–if he hasn’t already?