Six weeks after he was awarded the prize for "fastest pensioner" at the London Marathon, 69-year old Anthony Gaskell was stripped of his title after it was discovered he cut 10 miles off the 26-mile race. The British grandfather admitted to taking the short cut after an investigation revealed that his total time for miles 13 through 23 was below world record pace.
Gaskell claims he was injured after tripping over another runner and insists his faux-victory was all a mix-up. "I have been called a cheat and disqualified from a race I never claimed to have won," he said. "I simply walked through a short cut to the end of the course where my belongings were waiting for me. I had no idea that anyone thought I'd won."
The man who finished second, 66-year old Colin Rathbone, will now be crowned the winner and receive the plaque for "fastest pensioner." Rathbone fan the full race and finished just 38 seconds behind Gaskell's phony time.
The results were investigated after members of a running club became suspicious that a previously unknown marathoner like Gaskell could post the best senior time in a decade. After a search of records from Gaskell's electronic timing chip, it was discovered that he bypassed a 10-mile stretch after the Tower Bridge and turned toward the finish line instead.
Though he insists it was all a misunderstanding, Gaskell is tough to believe when he says he had no idea people believed his time to be legit. After all, Rathbone, the real winner, is getting a plaque. It stands to reason that Gaskell received one after the race too. Even if he didn't try to pass off the winning time as his own, he certainly didn't try to disuade anybody of it either.
But before you call out Gaskell, remember this: Though he may be a cheater, he's still a cheater who managed to run 16 miles at the age of 69. Color me appalled, yet still a bit impressed.