Kendall Schler took first in this year’s Go! St. Louis Marathon for roughly 20 minutes, clocking in at 2:50:30 and beating out her third place standing in the 2014 event. How did she do it? By skipping the first 26 miles.
According to the Huffington Post, race officials congratulated Schler for her victory in the women’s division of the marathon before she posed for a picture with former gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and then disappeared. However, Kendall drew suspicion shortly afterwards.
— Rich Chrismer (@RichChrismer) April 17, 2015
Local KSDK reports Schler’s bib number never showed up at any of the electronic checkpoints for the runners. Likewise, no photographer took a picture of her on the course, and no spotter could recall seeing her run. For that matter, when she crossed the finish line, she was not accompanied by the official bike escorts.
Schler claimed she had removed the magnetic timing strip from her bib, which did little to satisfy the race officials suspicions.
Andrea Karl, a doctoral student, crossed the finish line at 2:54:28. Race officials declared her to be the real winner of the marathon, and Kendall Schler was disqualified.
The organizers later discovered Schler had already tried this scheme before when she took third place last year and was subsequently disqualified. Authorities believe she’s been ducking into the race after the last checkpoint and crossing the finish line.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the marathon’s president, Nancy Lieberman, seemed particularly frustrated.
“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.”
This isn’t the first case of marathon fraud. In 1980, a woman named Rosie Ruiz famously cheated in the Boston marathon. Ruiz was a more successful fraudster, maintaining her first-place title for eight days before getting caught.
Still, Kendall Schler did her own fair share of damage. The real winner, Andrea Karl, didn’t get to break the tape at the end of the race, nor did officials take her picture as she crossed, since Karl appeared to be in second place, according to the Washington Post. Lieberman explained the real winner got cheated.
“There’s a euphoria the winner gets, breaking the tape and having the crowd cheer. The true winner did everything right and didn’t get her due.”
If Kendall Schler attempts to cheat the marathon for a third time next year, race officials will likely be ready for her.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]