Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Fly in the Ointment: Dishonesty at the Milo Marathon

In my previous post, I snuck in a teaser for what I thought would be the topic of my next post.  I wrote that I have another Milo story to tell, and that it was going to be a story of heart, passion, and love of the sport.

This is not that story.

On the contrary, this is a story of cowardice, dishonesty, and utter lack of respect for the sport of running.

As I was rounding out my third and final loop around the Macapagal-CCP segment of the 42k route (I think it was at Kilometer 33 or 34 in front of Star City), a green Mitsubishi L-300 van stopped in the middle of the road.  The passenger door opened and about six or seven "runners" wearing uniform orange singlets and white Milo race bibs (i.e., 42k race bibs) alighted.  They were all laughing.  They shouted "salamat" to the driver and resumed their "marathon."

My intial reaction was, I wanted to confront them and find out exactly what they were doing (or better yet, what they've done), but I restrained myself from doing so lest I wrongly accuse them of something.  Still, as I was plugging away during the last eight kilometers along Roxas Boulevard, on the brink of collapse while being fried by the late morning sun, the scene just kept on playing over and over again in my mind.  It went on and on until I finally crossed the finish line, where all of those thoughts were washed away. 

I thought I had completely forgotten about that scene until today, when I learned from several running blogs (i.e., Bugobugo, Running Pinoy, Jazzrunner) that the Milo Marathon was in fact marred by the dishonesty of some "runners."  Little did those dishonest bastards know that they will get caught, and that they will be exposed.

A quick glance at the race results would show that a number of marathon "finishers," although having their Finish Time, Chip Time, and 15k splits recorded, did not have data for their 26k and 37k splits.  The figures are quite revealing because, if you consider the 15k splits of these "finishers" and do a bit of analysis, you will instantly realize that their Finish Times are plainly and simply bullshit.

Let's take a look at one example.  Say, for instance, Runner No. 40632. This guy's Finish Time and Chip Time was a stellar 3:44:08.  Strangely though, this guy registered a 15k split of 2:54:50, but did not register splits for 26k and 37k.  And so, we'll have to do a bit of math here.  Given this runner's Finish Time and 15k split, it would seem that he ran the remaining 27.195 kilometers in only a little under an hour. Holy crap!  Ang bilis!

Let's try another one.  Another finals "qualifier" with incomplete splits is Runner No. 40939.  Finish Time 3:19:00, Chip Time 3:19:00, 15k split 2:45:14. No splits for 26k and 37k.  If we add these figures up, it would seem that this guy ran the last 27.195k in only a little under 34 minutes!  And the Philippines doesn't have an Olympic gold medal yet?!

One more.  Runner No. 40368.  This fella is the 34th-ranked "finisher."  Finish Time 3:38:02, Chip Time 3:37:53, 15k split 2:39:14.  As usual, no 26k and 37k splits.  This dude is a tad slower than our two other examples - he ran his last 27.195k in a little under an hour.  Siguro hindi uminom ng Milo.

Compare their figures with those of a true finisher's - Wilnar Iglesia.  Wilnar is a known speedster and a notorious halimaw in running circles.  Wilnar had a Finish Time of 3:30:59, Chip Time 3:30:51, and a 15k split of 1:14:09.  His 15k split is over an hour faster than those of the Three Stooges', but he finished the marathon behind Moe and Larry, and just slightly ahead of Curly.  Heck, even I had a faster 15k split than those guys, and I crossed the finish line almost two hours after they did! What's wrong with this picture?!

I combed through the results and compiled the names of the 42k "finishers" who had the most questionable statistics (i.e., absurd finish times relative to their respective 5k splits, incomplete splits).  Here, ladies and gentlemen, is your Honor Roll for the 34th Milo Marthon (drumroll, please):

Runner No. 40939
Runner No. 40368
Runner No. 40632
Runner No. 40938
Runner No. 40661
Runner No. 40660
Runner No. 40211
Runner No. 40489
Runner No. 40221

In the spirit of fair play, I challenge these "finishers" to explain how in hell they were able to pull off their amazing marathon finishes.  A simple comment on this post will suffice.  I always get a kick out of having prominent running personalities visit my blog, anyway.  If they don't feel like explaining anything (or, if they do not see the need to explain anything), they can instead just come out in the open and simply say they've done nothing wrong.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them.  I might even shake their hands if I run into them on the road one of these days.  That is, if I can catch them.  These guys are waaaay too fast for an average recreational marathoner like me.

If you want to have more fun and would like to know what these gods look like, go to Photovendo by clicking here and simply enter their bib numbers (you know the drill).  As you will see, a number of these "finishers" were wearing the infamous orange singlet.  It's best that we familiarize ourselves with these running luminaries.  These are world-class marathoners. They ought to be celebrities. They're running gods!  Runner No. 40661, especially, is a CLASSIC.  He did a two-man relay on marathon day - as in, two different runners wore the same bib at different segments of the race! Check out the pics here and have a good time.

Now, you may be asking why I am making such a big deal out of all of this.  Well, I'll tell you why. 

I'm doing this because, after months of busting my knees and training for this marathon, after almost collapsing due to dehydration and heat exhaustion during the last eight kilometers, I chose to stay the course and somehow managed to finish the race with my integrity intact. 

I'm doing this because of fellow runners like Jet Paiso, who got injured during the marathon yet chose to carry on and finished what he started, even if it meant taking all of SEVEN hours to complete the damn thing and crossing the finish line long after the cheering crowds have left. 

I'm doing this because I personally witnessed an old, bent, and shabby-looking runner, evidently bereft of material advantages in life, almost crawling to the finish line wearing only one tattered shoe (it wasn't even a running shoe!) while carrying the other one in his hand, because it apparently lost its sole during the run.

I'm doing this because, somewhere along Kilometer 25, I and another runner attended to an old and battle-scarred marathoner who collapsed in the heat of the late morning sun, and stayed with him until help arrived.

I'm doing this because I've just learned that a 21k runner collapsed as he was only a kilometer away from finishing the race, and was then rushed to the hospital where he remained unconscious until he passed away yesterday due to multiple organ failure.  May his soul rest in peace.

I'm doing this because, by their acts of dishonesty and lack of integrity, these "finishers" are making a mockery of all the ideals that the sport of running is supposed to instill in all of us.

Mahiya naman kayo sa mga sarili ninyo.  Sana hindi na lang kayo tumakbo.


  1. Wow man, This, I must say, has got to be the one post that I am glad I did not miss out on. Thanks for the research that you put into this to get your point across as you did so very well towards the end. I am very proud of you for finishing despite the hydration issues, etc.. For that one runner, RIP. What a bunch of dick heads. (pardon). At the very LEAST they should be eliminated from any races in the future. Keep running and Keep writing.

  2. Thanks for doing the math. I am quite certain that the first person in your list is a very fast runner in real life. Could it be that some other person ran using the former's bib and this bloke then skipped a loop or two -- either by mistake or deliberately?

    All the other names in your list save one are unfamiliar. I do not recall seeing their names on the top end of finishers in previous local races.

  3. Hi Julius, Mr. Guieb just ran the 21km distance instead of his registered 42km distance. He started at the 21km gun (an hour after the 42km gun) and finished somewhere near the top 10 of the 42km finishers. Since it's a timing chip aided race, his results still surfaced at the 42km distance.
    BTW, Mr. Guieb is a good friend.

    Vener - run unltd.

  4. Wow this is one hell of an expose. Thanks to the photos and chips, they cant get away with this. I'll share this at the website.

  5. Kudos to you! Love your entry!!! Cheaters are such losers. In fairness to Mr. Guieb, he is a known runner who was mistakenly placed as part of the 42k finishers. I hope the organizers would do something about this. Cheaters should not be tolerated.

  6. Hi Julius. Thanks for sharing this. I've seen this firsthand for a number of years and it still bugs me today. Hopefully, this problem will be resolved. Some of it has already with the use of d-tags (chips) but you would need it over several areas of the course with mats.

    If it's okay, I'd like to add your blog to my blogroll. Please feel free to add mine as well. Thanks and take care. Congratulations on completing MILO the right and honest way! I hope to meet you in November!


  7. unfortunately their bibs are not reflecting on photovendo anymore. :( i wonder why.

  8. un pala ang cheaters' singlet... SHAME on them! binaboy nila ang Milo...

  9. This is a very good blog entry. Thank you for opening our eyes and exposing these cheaters.
    Frankly i may sound really naive but i cannot understand why people would cheat in a marathon or any race distance. I would rather crawl on my hands and knees to finish a race.
    For big events like milo, condura run, pasig marathon, Subic , Q.C. marathon etc. Just to name a few i believe it is SOP that a timing chip or something similar be used to deter this cheaters but alam mo naman ang Pinoy even if you have all that parameters in places he will still find a way to beat the system.
    It should be a change in character for an individual that cheating never prosper. It is the basic of a foundation of person which are parents and kids thought us.
    Lastly, i also feel that it is the responsibility of the race organizers to identify this cheaters to and for them to explain . if found guilty they should be ban in all races and this information be given to other race organizers.
    Raul Patrick Concepcion

  10. great research! These cheaters have tarnished this sport that we all love. Magbago na kayo HOY!

  11. Nothing more I can say, I totally agree. I think these guys are PRO when it comes to these, I hope they don't run for public office!

    Hopefully the organizers of MILO screen their "finalists" before they let them join the finals.

    - dhenz

  12. good read sir. lets all pitch in to isolate these people who will tarnish all runners in general. harapan na bastusan yung ginawa nila sa mga taong nagpakahirap mag train for this event. i agree with runningshield, why do people do this? to prove na kaya nila makatapos? if anything, they just proved to everyone (most importantly to their relatives) what kind of people they really are.

    may mga facebook ba sila?

  13. Hello!

    I am runner 40267. I managed to finish the race within cut-off time after I got bandaged due to severe muscle cramps on the 2nd loop near WTC. I do noticed irregular things about the guys in orange singlet. Near uniwide, they have some sort of "marshalls" that give them some straw markers which isn't an official of milo. Likewise, after I got attended by medics, I saw a van that dropped off something like 5-6 persons in orange singlet and ran as if no one saw them. On my way to the turnaround point, I saw someone dropped off from a taxi on the other side and continued "running". I couldn't imagine how were they able to do that while I saw someone then (forgot what loop was that) when a 21k runner was being attended to by medics at the flyover of Buendia, chilling under the heat. This is my first time to see blatant cheating in a race - much more in a prestigious one. I hope organizers would do something to punish these "runners". It's such a shame for them doing these things, glad that while I got my worst performance in full marathon (against QCIM and Condura), I am proud to say I didn't cheat.

  14. superpatrick those wearing orange singlet were mariners. they also approached our support crew located in shell macapagal asking them na kung pwede daw sila ihatid sa last loop kasi pag hindi daw sila naka-abot sa cut off time matatanggal daw sila sa trabaho. but our refused to do so 'coz they told them they were also runners and they hate cheaters.

  15. I can relate to this post. I was there last Sunday, and there was a group of runners in orange bibs right in front of me. Suddenly they disappeared to the other side of the road, and I did not see them re-appear until around 200 or 300 meters after. Could it be they swapped bibs with other runners? No one knows. All I know is, they left the race course for that period of time.

  16. How embarassing!
    Is this how their singlets look like if they are the Mariner's running club?

  17. Julius, this is a great expose you did. Wonderful job on exposing these cheaters.

    And to think that some of these so-called finishers are part of a running club? That's even greater shame!

    I'm sure the people you mentioned here won't bother showing up in future races anymore after what you have done. In fact, it would be better for them if they just give up running since they're not worthy to be called runners to begin.

    Hopefully, the race organizers will do something about this - like chase after them to forcibly surrender their medals and certificates that should be given to more deserving people.

    Oh, I'm adding you to my blogroll too, if you don't mind.

    Keep on running and I hope to meet you soon!

  18. Nakakaiyak yung kwento mo about the runner who finished even though wasak yung shoe nya... and then we have these cheaters who make a mockery out of our sport! I recommend they be banned from all Milo events and that race organizers band together to ban known cheaters from all their races.

  19. nice! i do hope these cheaters be banned from joining races. kahit saang anggulo, hindi magandang tignan...

  20. Dude, as much as I appreciate your blog entry, I'm kinda disappointed, bakit? kasi ako yung unang-unang runner na ginawa mong sample. Unlike with other blogs that you mentioned, instead of giving NAMES, you should have at least wrote the Bib# that you are accusing as "cheaters" and by just by looking at page 1 of the 42K race result you could easily identify those runners who registered 42K but opted to run 21K, not my fault ask Milo.

    I have read your blog and your apology but you should have been more careful in dropping NAMES, without Vener's advice people have already judged me. I can say that I have not once cheated in any of my marathon and ultra marathon and I have my God to prove it. God bless you.

  21. @ Rhoderick, thanks for dropping by and airing your sentiments. Very much appreciated.

    I would have liked to make some arguments in my defense, but I will not. I have no excuse. My sincerest apologies once again.

  22. May nagrerequesst na baka puweding palitan yoon word na "cheater" kasi masakit pakingan. Baka puweding "magic runners" na lang. Kasi now you see them now you don't. hehehe joke only.

  23. @ erick guieb,

    sa mga nakakakilala sa'yo, walang maniniwalang mandaray ka.

  24. I just wanted to add and point out that Rhoderick Guieb and his wife " Let" has the same passion us all us runner and they will never cheat.there was only a screw up on the results. im just glad that it was corrected by the author - patrick concepcion / runningshield

  25. Nice entry Julius, very rigorous research! For the life of me, I still can't imagine why people cheat. It just goes beyond me. We went through the same problem last year, now this year again. And why Milo?

    As for the mistake with Eric's time, we were actually discussing it already because I knew we finished the 21k at more or less the same time yet he came in at 12th for the 42k. More of a mistake of the Milo people, but yeah Eric and Let are well-established members of the community and Eric is one of the strongest runners and triathletes I know. Honest mistake on your end of course, but it sort of makes you think if several others in your "smoking gun" study had encountered the same problem. As for those you had witnessed personally, geez I feel sorry for them.

    Anyway good job on the article bro, and congratulations on the hard earned finish, we're proud of you!

  26. "those wearing orange singlet were mariners... kung pwede daw sila ihatid sa last loop kasi pag hindi daw sila naka-abot sa cut off time matatanggal daw sila sa trabaho"

    could be true. who knows? if these guys did cheat for fear of losing their jobs, the one who forced that on them is doubly culpable. cheating is definitely unacceptable, and cheaters identified beyond reasonable doubt should be BANNED from ALL races. unless that happens these people will never learn.

  27. let's give these people whose bib numbers you listed the benefit of the doubt as well. I understand the frustration, but they may have unknowingly missed a turn or opted to cut the route short because they succumbed to fatigue but still, they wanted to get their loot bags they most certainly deserved. Hence, the questionable finish time.

  28. I agree that finishing a full marathon seems like you aged a lot (in looks), pero di naman siguro ganun kay runner 40661, hahaha. Tama ka, classic talaga.

    Pero si tatang ang may timing chip, si kuyang, wala. Samakatuwid, si kuyang ang nanghiram ng numero at gumaya nang pagtapos. Para sa loot bag 'yan, tsk, tsk.:)

  29. I got your link at and im so glad i found out about this..if you dont mind i am quoting some of your words and putting their pictures in my blog page and facebook for everyone else to see.GOOD JOB!

  30. Runners who signed up for 42km but ran other distances should have taken off their bibs and timing chips. Kung hindi, talagang nga namang sa 42km papasok ang time nila. If you combine the results and the pictures, medyo nakaka-duda nga ang kalalabasan. Magmumukha talagang nandaya sila. E, hindi naman lahat ng tao, bibigyan sila ng benefit of the doubt.

    Just my opinion. Peace, all.

  31. well i agree... ban all those cheaters!

  32. agree with anonymous.... if you intend to run the distance which you were not actually registered, may be next time.. try not to wear the Bib... atleast with the timing chip you can still have your record.. but if you just want to get the loot bag.. then try not to wear the chip.. not all people can understand your reason... as mentioned, not all will you the benefit of the doubt. To us all, running is a passion... imagine if you were the guy who die or collapsed that day, trying to finish what you registered for.. will you be happy, if afterwards you knew that there are people who finished ahead of you without even sweating? But still, thanks to MR Guieb for being a man enough and saying he really did run only the 21K. Unlike others who even grow old or young at the end of the race (Bib# 40661).

  33. great, great post... both form and substance

  34. Saludo ako sa pagkakasulat ng blog mong ito! Ok lang yan, konsensya naman nila ang tatamaan. Pero mabuti nang malaman ng karamihan na may mga ganitong pangyayari sa 42k... baka nga sa 5 at 10k may mga mandurugas pa din e.

  35. habol: naantig ako sa eksena nung finisher na hawak na lang ang isang sapatos nya. yan ang puso!

  36. agree with anonymous!

  37. I just noticed in the Photovendo that bib no. 40489 was also used by two... er, creatures -- one a spindly younger man wearing a Milo singlet over a red (Mariner?) one, and an older man in glasses and white baseball cap. Note the different shorts by the original and the clone.

  38. "I just noticed in the Photovendo that bib no. 40489 was also used by two... er, creatures"

    Actually, they have different bib nos. One is 40489 and the other is 40849

  39. My name is Mikes Sarandona. I would like to say that I have only known Mr. Erick Guieb for a very short time. However, I can say that he is very passionate about running; a generous person in giving support and advise to others new to running or triathlon; and devoted family man. Yes, he has a family and a set of friends that were hurt because his name was dragged into this. Apologies were made but they cannot undo the damage. I just hope that this serves as a lesson to bloggers about mentioning names. The internet is a powerful tool; now we know that scandalous pics or videos are not the only ones that can ruin a name.

  40. @ Mikes. Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your thoughts.

    A lot of people have vouched for the character of Mr. Guieb, and I believe all people who have read this post are already fully aware that he is indeed a person of integrity. I therefore reiterate my apology to Mr. Guieb. He may choose not to accept it, but I extend it once again, nevertheless. Lesson learned for me, as you correctly noted.

    That said, one of the earlier comments raised a very good and valid point - one that I (and apparently, a number of other readers as well) am in perfect agreement with. If a runner registered to run for a certain distance, and then changes his mind and decides to run a different distance WITHOUT updating his/her registration, the prudent thing to do would be to run without the timing chip and/or the race bib. Regardless of the true distance the runner actually ran, the runner's finish time (whether accurate or not) will be reflected in the results of the category the runner originally registered for. And when the results come out, it could easily become the subject of speculation. This could be tricky because, as had been mentioned in one of the comments, not everybody can guess the runner's true motive, and not everybody will give the runner the benefit of the doubt.

    In the final analysis, I guess all of us should learn something from this episode.

  41. I hope that you'd be the first to learn a lesson from this episode. Don't speculate and be cautious in dropping name.

  42. bib number 40661.... which one is the legit runner?

  43. Hey Julius, first of all, it was nice to see you on the Milo road. You have quite an interesting post here. Keen observations actually, although open to different interpretations and possibly hasty generalization.

    One unfortunate case of hasty generalization is that regarding the finish time of Erick Guieb. I myself was surprised when I saw his time on the results. Erick is a good friend, and a team mate in multi-sports, and I know him to be a dedicated, sub-4hr marathoner but not yet that fast as his alleged Milo results showed. Just as I used my Milo marathon to prepare for my Camsur Half-ironman, Erick wisely decided to downgrade his distance because it better suited his training plan. Thankfully, I know him and I have the means to validate the story through him directly or through common friends.

    I know it was different in your case. I also know you enough to believe that no malice was intend on my friend's personhood, and it was only your zeal to expose cheaters that may have led you to initially name names. Your correction of the matter and apology are commendable.

    It is true there are lessons learned for everyone. About validating stories, about downgrading distance ran. Thanks to Erick's case there is another loophole in the timing chip system that is discovered. That the mighty timing chip cannot yet determine when a runner - innocently or maliciously - decides to run shorter than the programmed distance. I hope the organizers can set up the chip readers and time counters to plug this loophole.

    I hope everyone realizes too that the enemy is the cheater, not our fellow runner. Peace be to all.

  44. OMG. they are only fooling themselves. tsk, tsk, tsk.

  45. Atty, nice blog. We always hate cheaters. We just hope that this issue won't happen again, especially for cebu milo elimination( i'm from cebu). What I love most about your site is, we have the same goal: get my better half to join me on the road for a full marathon. Keep running! :)

  46. Just to add to the sentiments here. Hay.... so sad and frustrating to read and hear about these tales of cheating in a marathon.

  47. Bilib ako sa nag relay! They don't deserve the sport they would rather go home and plant kamote! Hang the Cheaters!!!

  48. Unfortunately it does not only occur in Milo. It happens in almost every marathon. I remember people getting busted at the NY City marathon by taking the subway or taking a cab. Why they do do it? Who knows. Quite frankly thats on them for cheating only themselves.

  49. Cheating in a recreational race is like paying for a buffet meal and packing more food to take away. Sa tagalog.....SKWAKING!

  50. Running is one sport that should theoretically allow one to test one's limits and all of that... If you cheat yourself, who can you ever trust? I don't think them cheaters were runners -maybe they were just forced to run by the system! Not much different from all the young girls and boys who venture into the flesh trade here and yonder to survive! Thus, change may be needed in the system, not just on the individual persons! However. without your post, these perspectives wouldn't have come to light! Therefore, my congratulations!

  51. and BTW, cool off EU (no need for you to publish this) hehe

  52. My name is Mark Fer V. Castillo(marky_mark)
    RE:@ Erick Guieb Case

    He only did 21km last sunday ...

    magkatabi kmi sa parking around 0500H na(1hour na nakakalipas for a 42km),her wife Let ask me kagad "Mark anu kulay ng bib mo ? sabi ko dilaw pinakita ko" nagkamali ng bigay sa bib ni erick
    dapat yellow 21k lang cya eh.Sabay sabay kmi ngpunta sa starting line together with there kids
    chat pa with other runner like team logan near the startingline ...

    just like wat Mikes Sarandona say above ... it's all true! "I can say that he is very passionate about running; a generous person in giving support and advise to others new to running or triathlon; and devoted family man."

    God Fearing din i'll add.. tama c Erick God is the Witness to all our races God sees everything

    ive witness all this sharing his talent giving advise ... and a devoted family man. Seeing them run together with Let even big event like BDM102km is just 2days na man.

    nobody will believe those who know erick ...

    tama din sabi ni sir Rico "I hope everyone realizes too that the enemy is the cheater, not our fellow runner. Peace be to all.

    God Bless to all !

    Erick is on of a good friend a good running,

  53. Milo Marathon should put their act together and fix this mess!
    First I read from Mr. Guieb status message in FB that despite his request and email to the organizers they still gave him the wrong bib and category. So he did his job, the management did not! they are the biggest marathon in the country and been doing it for a long time, disappointing that they still do not have control of this things.

  54. well said...
    sna mahiya cla & wag na nla gawin sa iba pang Run...
    they're the reason Fun is taken out of these Marathons

  55. julius,dont worry! as they say, THE TRUTH REALLY HURTS!

  56. those who are using 42k timing chips and run only in 21k are jeopardizing the result of the full marathon, being an old timer in running, they should have known that.

  57. Runner 40661 took his "free milo drink" tab first before he handed out his bib to another runner. :D

  58. two runners, one bib! runner 40661!

    walang hiya!

  59. in fairness si runner# 40221!!! And daming pictures sa photovendo ha! Panalo! yun nga lang cheater! At in fairness talaga nagawa nyang matapos ang full 42km marathon using what they call the dreaded "basketball" shoes. HAHAHAHA

  60. This is a great blog.. I don't understand the sense of lying to yourself.. or perhaps they did it for the rewards (eg finisher shirt, singlet, medal, etc). tipong pang-yabang lang..

  61. si runner 40661 biglang pumayat, siguro nasobrahan sa dehydration.hahaha but seriously, i hope these people will be banned in joining races

  62. what's the point of these cheaters running the marathon? No sense at all, wala naman sila mapapala sa ginawa nila. May premyo ba? Freebies lang pala habol nila. Nakakahiya...tapos nabuking pa... Sana hindi na lang sila nag-marathon.

  63. This will be my first time to join a national marathon on Sunday, July 31 and the people who cheated in your blog is a big disappointment and not helping at all for a beginner like me...