Disqualification Drama: 11,000 Runners Cheat At The Mexico City Marathon - The Running Channel Advertisement

Disqualification Drama: 11,000 Runners Cheat At The Mexico City Marathon

BY: Rachel Boswell
06 September 2023

Around a third of competitors in this year’s Mexico City Marathon ‘finished’ the event without receiving a medal, having been caught cutting out sections of the 26.2-mile course. 

The 2023 race, which took place in Mexico’s capital city on Sunday 27 August, saw a bewildering level of cheating at play, with around 11,000 of the 30,000 runners failing to complete the full marathon distance. 

According to sports publication Marca, race organisers received numerous complaints that participants had quite literally cut corners and used vehicles, bikes and public transport to shorten the distance they had to cover on foot. The race organisers then launched an investigation, with race tracking data showing that rogue runners had failed to meet the checkpoints positioned every five kilometres – meaning they could not receive official results or finisher medals.

In retaliation, some disqualified participants have claimed that their trackers were faulty and that they did in fact pass through all the checkpoints along the course. 

The race organisers have made a statement affirming that they will continue to identify cases of “unsportsmanlike attitude” among participants at the 2023 Mexico City Marathon and “invalidate their registration times”.

They went on to state that the Mexico City Marathon “not only represents an outstanding celebration for all the inhabitants of the capital, but also an occasion to reaffirm the transcendental values of sport”.

Sadly, this year’s foul play is not a freak occurrence for the Mexico City Marathon. In fact, the 2023 edition only builds on the cheating trend, with around 6,000 runners being found to have not completed the full course in 2017, and over 3,000 more runners disqualified for the same reason in 2018. 

This is particularly surprising, as the Mexico City Marathon became a World Athletics Gold Label Road Race in 2018. A Gold Label is the highest status that can be awarded to a road race by World Athletics, and means that the race in question has met strict criteria including exceptional organisation, rule-enforcement and delivery. 

Now a firm fixture in the road racing calendar, the Mexico City Marathon was established in 1983 and holds impressive course (completed in full) records. Kenya’s Titus Ekiru set the men’s course record of 2:10:38 in 2018, while Lucy Cheruiyot – also from Kenya – ran a 2:27:22 to set the women’s course record in 2021. 

Can the Mexico City Marathon put more measures in place to prevent bad participant behaviour in the future – particularly in light of its Gold Label credentials? Share your thoughts on Mexico’s marathon cheating mayhem in the comments below. 

Image credit: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

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