Stealing a chapter from shamed Boston Marathon faux-winner Rosie Ruiz and stealing the deserved glory of legitimate winner of the Go! St. Louis Marathon Andrea Karl, cheater Kendall Schler lost her first place medal on Wednesday.
Schler had a photo-op with fabled three-time Olympic gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee on Sunday and looked forward to depositing her $1,500 first prize check.
But her scam came to an end when race officials concluded that Schler took a shortcut on the marathon by sneaking on to the route after the last checkpoint. The foiled runner allowed her greed for attention to trump integrity by attempting to deceive judges that she ran the entire 26.2 miles.
Nancy Lieberman, president of GO! St. Louis said, “It’s a difficult situation for everybody, including the people who run a fair race and don’t get the recognition they should receive.” St.LouisToday.com reported that Schler did not register any times on the course and that she may have pulled a similar scam last year when she came in third place.
Schler was timed at 3:13.04 in the Go! 2014 race, qualifying her for the nation’s most prestigious marathon in Boston. Schler planned to run it on Monday, but has now been removed as an entrant.
Because of Schler’s fraud, first-place winner Andrea Karl didn’t get a chance to break the finish line tape or have photos taken as the winner. Runner’s World magazine called organizers of the St. Louis race for pictures of Karl, but GO! St. Louis didn’t have any.
“There’s a euphoria the winner gets, breaking the tape and having the crowd cheer,” Lieberman said. “The true winner did everything right and didn’t get her due.”
In the December 2014 edition of The Marathon Training Academy, veteran race director, Mary Wittenberg, admitted that cheating by course cutting, although shocking, is widespread. “We have a duty to make sure that everyone who crosses our famed finish line earns the medal they achieve.”
A past contestant on the reality show “The Biggest Loser,” Dane Patterson, admitted to climbing on board one of the show’s vehicles and took a three mile ride during an Arizona marathon. NBC, the show’s producer, apologized for the breach. Patterson subsequently went back and ran the three miles that he avoided running while hitching the ride. He told reporters, “In my mind, I ran the full 26 miles.”
A 31-year-old woman in a Georgia marathon pulled a similar stunt late last year. She crossed the finish line first but when organizers discovered her second-half time of 55 minutes they disqualified her and recognized the true victor.