The marathon double act

A couple got caught running the London Marathon with the same number - it's right to be annoyed

The London Marathon is one of the most popular events in the world and the chances of getting a ballot place are slim. In 2019, the odds were roughly 1-in-25 (or 4%), so unless you are very lucky, the only other ways to compete are through charity places or ‘good for age’ time qualification.

So when this brazen display of dishonesty appeared on social media last week, it didn’t exactly go down well.

If you read their side of the story on The Daily Mail – invoice me for Dettol to wash your device after clicking that – they claim to be ‘truly sorry’ for what they did (duplicating her bib number) and that he only accompanied his wife for ‘moral support’.

I don’t buy it. It’s cheating and trying to justify it is ridiculous.

These two adults, presumably over the course of hours or even days, came up with the idea as they thought they were entitled to, because she needed assistance.

What if half the field thought like that? The race would be bursting at the seams and there is only a finite amount of resources available.

“It was all my idea and I take full responsibility for it. I know it’s wrong and I’m truly sorry, but I did what I did to support my wife.

“I didn’t collect a medal, I was just there to support her.”

Piotr C.

This is such a poor excuse. He got the experience of running the London Marathon – for free. Nobody took part just so they could get water and a goody bag at the end. It’s like sneaking into a cinema, just so she wasn’t alone when watching a film – for free.

Also, it would have been impossible for him to collect a medal anyway. The finisher bags, which included the bling, were assigned to each bib number!

To also copy the same number and then run together is a different kind of stupid.

Interestingly, if you search for her bib number, not only does it reveal her details, but you can also see all of their race photos in an album.

Unfortunately, MarathonFotos doesn’t allow you to link to it, but it does feature some suspect pics. A few has the man seemingly covering his bib number at certain points. Either that or he needs to get his running technique analysed because his arm carriage is shockingly bad.

Before the press piled on, they appeared to try and hide their shame as well. She attempted to obliterate her Strava profile from Google by making it private and changing her name to ‘Aa Bbb’.

Her husband, meanwhile, took a little longer to do the same. Initially, he just deleted the race activity from his Strava profile, but has since gone down the private road as well. Sadly for both, Google cache exists and you can currently view both profiles still.

Given the lengths they seem to have gone to, I think it’s fair to suggest they aren’t actually sorry for what they did – they are only sorry for getting caught.

It’s understandable the frustration some runners have expressed in the wake of this story. If you have tried numerous times to get in via the ballot, or been stressed trying to raise thousands through a guaranteed charity place, then having someone waltz in with a flagrant disregard for the efforts of others is galling.

And if you genuinely think you can’t do a marathon without someone else, then don’t do it. Alternatively, pick an easier race to enter or do a virtual one instead.