Running with fabulists
Thursday, 6 September, 2012 — long-reads sports ethics
From the August 6 New Yorker, Mark Singer covers an improbable marathon runner:
…The Missoula course, which is mostly flat, passes through rangeland and forest, crosses two rivers, and in its final miles offers a tour of the city’s tree-lined neighborhoods. Early in the race, [Kyle] Strode broke ahead of his usual rivals, and never saw them again. The second masters runner to cross the finish line, Mike Telling, from Dillon, Montana, trailed Strode by nearly four minutes. At the awards ceremony, however, they learned that Telling had actually placed third. The official runner-up was Kip Litton, age forty-eight, of Clarkston, Michigan. Litton, who had been at the back of the pack when the race started, began his run two minutes after the gun was fired. He had apparently made up for lost time.
What's great is how Singer's reporting – online and in person – help develop the story. He also has eyes and ears for detail:
As Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” played on the Wendy’s stereo system, he elaborated: he had never deliberately done anything wrong, never left a race course and reëntered at a different point, never received money through Worldrecordrun, and never posted anything on LetsRun; had no idea who the anonymous people might be who posted in his defense, and no clue who might have posed as a nurse claiming that “Dr. Litton’s child has been given just a short time to live.”
This was seriously fascinating.