It may not necessarily pay to be fat, but if you’re fat and someone makes fun of you for it, it can definitely get you free stuff.
The London Marathon has decided to extend free entry to a group of overweight runners who had their portly features mocked by contractors and volunteers as they neared the finish line in April. Several people who were working the race told the media about some of the abuse.
“I had runners that were crying — ones saying they were going to go home and quit,” Liz Ayres, an official race pacer, told the BBC.
In addition, other runners were reportedly told, “If you weren’t so fat, you could run,” and “This is a race, not a walk.”
“Ayres claimed that as early as 3 miles into the race, the water stations along the course had been packed away and that one runner was injured by a cleaning solution used by crews who allegedly told the group to “hurry up” so that they could clear the streets quicker,” the New York Post reported.
The BBC reported on Saturday that the marathon organizers had apologized and decided to give the runners who had been made fun of free entry after conducting an investigation into the incident.
Kerrie Aldridge from Cardiff, Wales, was one of the runners offered free entry to the next race. Aldridge, however, fears that there will be backlash from those who believe she doesn’t deserve a spot in the next race.
“When I finished I was thinking ‘I’m never going to do it again’ but now I would love to have another go, ” Aldridge told the BBC. “I’m partly waiting for the backlash from people saying I don’t deserve it.
“But I’ll be there on the start line. I will train as hard as I can to prove I do deserve a place.”
The next London Marathon will be the 40th running of the race.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn