Mexico City Marathon organizers investigating claims of cheating

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The organizers of the Mexico City Marathon are investigating reports of “unsportsmanlike conduct” at August’s race following reports of cheating at the event.

The Sports Institute of Mexico City (INDEPORTE) said it is “proceeding to identify those cases where participants … have demonstrated an unsportsmanlike attitude during the event and will invalidate their times” in a statement from August 30. The race itself took place on August 27.

Following reports from Spanish outlet Marca that as many as 11,000 runners had been disqualified for cheating, INDEPORTE published another statement on August 31 expressing “regrets that some media outlets and certain journalist accounts on social media are disseminating incorrect information about competitors with irregular times.”

Authorities from INDEPORTE had initially estimated that there were just over 2,000 runners who did not finish the international marathon on August 27 – whether that number refers to those who deliberately cheated or injured runners seeking a participation medal was unclear.

Organizers told CNN that the final number for competitors who were disqualified for “unsportsmanlike conduct” was 1,807.

Carlos Ochoa, communications coordinator for the organizers, told CNN that the numbers that were widely reported in media are “fake news.”

The method of the alleged cheating is unclear at this stage.

In a statement to CNN, World Athletics said: “It is always disappointing to hear that people choose to cheat in our sport, such as the cheating that occurred in the mass race at the Mexico City Marathon on August 27.

“However, many race organisers use mass timing detection systems in today’s races and their effectiveness can be seen with the race organisers of this event who had the proper checkpoints in place, and have taken appropriate action by swiftly disqualifying all athletes who chose to cheat.”

The Mexico City race has experienced cheating before, with organizers saying in 2018 that 3,090 competitors from the race that year were disqualified – though they did not specify the reasons for disqualification.

The Mexico City Marathon is one of World Athletics’ “Gold Label” races – the second-highest level of prestige for such events, according to the governing body’s regulations. That label refers to the existence of a world-class elite competition at the marathon.

CNNE’s Ana Melgar Zúniga and CNN’s Patrick Sung contributed to reporting

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