Coroner: 70-year-old runner died by suicide days after L.A. Marathon disqualification

Cassandra NegleyYahoo Sports Contributor
The 70-year-old accused of cheating died by suicide days after the ruling, per police. (Getty Images)
The 70-year-old accused of cheating died by suicide days after the ruling, per police. (Getty Images)

The 70-year-old runner found in the Los Angeles River days after he was disqualified from the L.A. Marathon died by suicide, authorities announced Monday.

Frank Meza died from multiple blunt force traumatic injuries, per the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, and his death was rule a suicide.

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Meza completed the L.A. Marathon in record time in March, but following investigations he was disqualified. Two days later the South Pasadena native was found dead in the Los Angeles River.

A report came in that someone may have jumped from a bridge, per the Associated Press, and he was found lying in shallow water. His wife said he had gone out for a run.

Meza posted the fasted time in L.A. Marathon history for his age group with a time of 2:53:10. Dan Adams was the next closest finisher in the men’s 70-74 age group at 4:10:07.

Marathon groups investigated and determined Meza cheated, a conclusion the L.A. Marathon officials also found. They determined using video footage he left the course and re-entered it at a different spot, deciding to disqualify him on June 28.

Meza, a physician and assistant high school track coach, said he left the course to use the bathroom, but did not cheat. He was also accused of cheating at marathons at least two other times, per a Los Angeles Times profile last month. He was banned from the California International Marathon, per the Times.

His wife defended him after the disqualification, saying it was “all manufactured lies.” The increasing attention took its toll on Meza in the immediate aftermath. He told the Times last month during investigations running was “supposed to be fun. Obviously it’s not fun anymore.”

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