Kendall Schler, who was originally declared the winner of this year's St. Louis Marathon on April 12, had her title taken away and was officially disqualified after marathon officials discovered that she cheated to win the race.
According to Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Schler came onto the course at the last checkpoint to cross the finish line before anyone else:
She is believed to have slipped onto the course after the last checkpoint in an attempt to fool race officials into believing she ran the entire 26.2 miles. Officials said that Schler did not register any times on the route, and that a review of last year’s marathon photos failed to turn up images of her on the course.
As a result, her times have been erased, her spot in Boston vacated and she will no longer be allowed to run in the local organization’s events.
Schler's third-place finish in last year's St. Louis Marathon allowed her to qualify for this year's Boston Marathon, which will be run April 20.
GO! St. Louis president Nancy Lieberman told Durando that her conversation with Schler was about how there was no evidence to show that she ran the full marathon length in either of the last two years:
It’s a difficult situation for everybody, including the people who run a fair race and don’t get the recognition they should receive. I said to her, ‘It looks like you perpetrated a fraud.’ I have nothing legitimate that says she officially started and ran 26.2 miles in 2014 or 2015.
Schler isn't the first person who has tried to cheat to win a marathon. In 2010, Anne Stein of the Chicago Tribune noted that 252 runners were disqualified from the previous year's Chicago Marathon after missing at least two consecutive timing mats.
It's an unfortunate situation that sometimes comes with marathons. Schler may have done a better job at hiding her attempt to cheat than some, at least for a little while, but she joins a long list of runners who have tried to game the system.
Fortunately, St. Louis figured things out and was able to give Andrea Karl, the rightful winner, the victory that she originally thought she had earned anyway.