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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Interesting post from Informant "Ouch1000"

Deadwood, South Dakota Marathon - Kip Litton (black coat)
crosses the starting line. He tried to finish in 2:57 but was disqualified.

Quote from Ouch1000:
"The on-line tracking [of Kip at Boston'12] won't work, in my opinion. He has become very adept at finding the mats, somehow getting them to register his 
chip by running, biking, walking or driving over them (or near them) and then moving on the the next mat by his favorite non-running method.

The chip mats are quite sensitive. At Missoula, when I spoke with one of the organizers early on about my suspicion that Kip had cheated, he told me that the race announcer had taken a few unclaimed chips to the starting line to give to runners who arrived at midnight the previous night. All but one chip were handed out. When the announcer got all set up on the scaffolding catwalk 15 feet above the finish line and they turned on the chip sensor, the remaining chip in his pocket kept making the finish line mat beep any time he moved.
I think Kip knows that all he has to do is get near the mat to register his passage by that part of the course. At Boston in 2010, he registered at all the mats, but somehow managed to never be photographed (except when accidentally caught skulking slowly by one of the mats in a full black sweatsuit). At many marathons, including Thunder Road, which he may have used to qualify himself for Boston, it is insanely easy to cheat, as they advertise the locations of the mats: "Timing mats will be located at the start, 10K mark, 13.1 mile mark, 20 mile mark and the finish. Runners who do not register a split time at one of the checkpoints will be subject to disqualification." (Why use them as checkpoints if you're goiing to tell the cheaters where they are?!) In addition, the layout of the course is perfect for a cheater like Litton:
There are only two solutions to this problem at Boston, in my opinion. One is to connect with the BAA race organizers about the situation and have his entry rejected, given that he obviously didn't run any of the possible marathons he used to qualify. Surely someone monitoring this thread knows someone who has the ear of a BAA official. The second (much more difficult, if not impossible) is to locate him at the start or one of the early chip mats and follow him. 
Deadwood, SD Marathon
Kip Litton then crossing the finish (DQ)

The business of being a race director is obviously a thankless job sometimes. I have only organized a couple of very small races in Montana, and it takes a huge amount of work. But if I could be allowed to vent for a few paragraphs - I just can't understand the perspective that so many race directors have about disqualification.

Why go to all the trouble of having any controls at all if people like Kip Litton can make such a mockery of them. In 2010, I personally spoke with the RD's at a number of his marathons and the consistent reply to the overwhelming evidence (lack of photos and reports by finishers close behind that he never passed them) was "Well - I'm really suspicious, but he registered at all of the chip mats, so I can't disqualify him." Sure you can disqualify him!!

In the old days, when I was running races in the 70's and 80's, if your number wasn't showing, you'd be disqualified - end of story! I can recall lots of races when I'd pass by four or five volunteers during a race who were writing down numbers as runners passed by. Kip Litton doesn't show up in hardly any of the race photos (except at the finish line) for any of the marathons he's run, while other runners who finished near him show up in all of the photos. Runners near the front who have provided personal testimony that Kip never passed them have still not been able to convince RD's to remove him from the results.

At races I've helped with in Montana, we frequently use borrowed digital video cameras to tape the race. If there is ever a question about a runner, we always have the video showing who passed by a certain point in the course. Running a race is a privelege, not a right, and as such, RD's need to get their heads out of the sand and be willing to enforce higher standards. If you talk to any big marathon race director, he or she will tell you about the nightmare of runners cheating to qualify for Boston. The problem is far more widespread than the pathetic story of Kippy Cheaterpants. But nothing is going to change unless RD's are willing to get a bit more tough.

I'm a professor at a small college who deals with academic integrity violations four or five times each year. Students who are suspected of cheating have to prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, not the other way around. I love the U. S. legal system, but in running and academics, the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser. I'm so fed up with our society's washed-out moral and ethical standards of behavior. If we all don't start holding ourselves to a higher standard, especially we runners, our future looks bleak indeed.
There. I've said my piece."

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1 comment:

  1. Having read the letsrun thread, I'm hardly a fan of Kip Litton, but surely you don't mean it when you say that the burden should be on the accused to prove innocence beyond a doubt?!

    Anyone can throw out an accusation. What's special about Kip's case is the mountain of evidence that has accumulated across the web.