Cheating at the Disney Marathon

I’ve had a couple of people find my blog recently with search terms along the lines of

disney marathon cheating

I guess people perhaps saw some of the things that I saw during marathon weekend.

I went out to cheer during the marathon.  I met up with Katie and Jenny at the Grand Floridian around 5:30 in the morning.  We headed out to the main drag to await the runners.  By getting there that early, we ensured ourselves a good spot along the route and also ensured that we would get to see every single runner come through, from the very first, very fast runners to the stragglers at the end, hoping to not get swept.

We had been out for a while when a woman in running gear came out to join us.  She was easy to spot as she was wearing a bright red hat.  She had on running tights and a top, which wasn’t entirely suspicious, but what was suspicious was her running belt, complete with a Snickers bar strapped in.  (Side note – I can’t imagine eating a Snickers while running, but that’s just me.)

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe she was just going to be pacing someone.  Of course, that’s completely against the rules, but somehow, in my mind, that’s less of a “cheat” than what she actually did.

She clearly didn’t plan well because she was out there quite some time when a guy came running up to join her.  It was hard to tell, but it looked like he gave her a bib he was carrying all folded up and she walked back towards the treeline to pin it on.  It probably wasn’t obvious to the other runners, but it was definitely obvious to us.

Jenny even took a picture of the two.  Both were wearing Goofy bibs.  She was planning to cheat to get that Goofy medal.

I checked their times a few times through the afternoon and I’m not sure they actually finished.  I stopped caring after a while.  After all, her cheating doesn’t affect me and that’s how I have to look at this.

But she wasn’t the only case of cheating we heard of.  Apparently, a number of runners took spectator buses to Animal Kingdom, hopped out, and joined the race there.

Ridiculous.

I’m sure people also crossed the median near Wide World of Sports and skipped from mile 17 to around 20.  It happens every year.

We stood at our spot at mile 6.5 until the sweeper buses came through.  We saw a woman behind the “balloon ladies” (the women who keep the 16 minute mile pace) who was in tears.  She was running Dopey and her body had given out.  She was still moving forward, but she knew the end was in sight.  I give her all the credit in the world.  She may not have crossed that finish line, but she gave it her all.

While the cheaters don’t technically take anything from anyone else, I feel like they disrespect all of the other runners who are out there doing what they can to finish.  I had multiple friends opt to not start the marathon due to injury or illness.  It was a hard choice, but one they had to make.  They weren’t going to cheat.  They were going to do what was right.

After all, what’s the point of a finisher’s medal if you didn’t actually complete the race?  What do you get by doing that?

I know it doesn’t affect me, and I shouldn’t let it bother me.  I just have no respect for cheaters.  They disrespect the rules, they disrespect the race, and they disrespect the other runners.

10 thoughts on “Cheating at the Disney Marathon

  1. I don’t understand how anyone can look at a medal they collected but didn’t earn and feel anything positive. Even if you were swept and then given the medal, wouldn’t that memory make you sad? To say nothing of deliberate cheaters – they should feel nothing but embarrassment.

  2. It truly burns my biscuits to hear of people intentionally and blatantly cheating the course. Yes, the race is a substantial investment, but what is the point of cheating? How can any true runner look themselves in the mirror and be okay with doing that? I would have written their bib number down and called them out on it. They don’t deserve to get a medal if they aren’t even trying to complete the race the proper way: by doing the work. It’s one thing to DNF and get a medal, but at least it shows that you attempted to run it. Finishing and getting the medal by cheating is lame. I’d rather save my money and cheat on my diet with a massive cupcake. 😉
    Karen recently posted…Lady Track Shack 5KMy Profile

  3. That makes me so sad. I would never be able to live with myself if I didn’t really earn the medal by finishing the entire course, on my own. I wouldn’t even take a medal for a DNF if it was offered at Disney. I guess at the end of the day, our own personal satisfaction is what matters, and I hope other runners who worked hard for those medals don’t feel slighted by those that felt they had to cheat for them.
    Alicia recently posted…freshening up my skin care regimeMy Profile

  4. I have never actually seen anyone cheat at a Disney race but I have heard of it being done and although it does not effect me or my time, it really does fire me up! It is SO wrong and makes me SO mad when I hear about it.

    Actually, now that I think back, I actually did see someone cheat at the Disney 5K. Instead of running around the Space ship Earth ball, they just crossed over. Maybe they didn’t think it was a big deal since it wasn’t a timed race but still I think it is a huge disrespect to the race itself and to the other runners. It’s like them saying that they are too good to follow the rules!

  5. If people will cheat in a run which doesn’t directly effect anyone what else do they cheat in that does effect others. Running has always been a sport of integrity it seems those who like to brag about themselves have the illusion they are real runner when in fact they are people with a lack if integrity and pride in themselves and the sport of running.

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