The Token Victory

On April 21, 1980, Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon’s female category with the fastest time in Boston Marathon history.

When Rosie broke through the tape the crowd cheered but a few judges raised their eyebrows.  For one thing, the woman was hardly sweating nor out of breath.  The judges also noted her thighs were a little flabby for a world class runner.

They checked the records for her qualifying run which was the New York City marathon. Her time? 2-hours 56-minutes.  Remarkably, she had just run this race in 25-minutes less!  Hmmmm.

Other runners saw Rosie start but didn’t remember seeing her pass anyone.  The winner said that was because she was so far ahead. Neither pictures nor videos came up roses for her. Race spotters didn’t remember seeing her at all.

But Boston subway riders did.

It seems Ms. Ruiz ran to a subway station, putzed around a bit, then took a train to a stop close to the finish line.  She then ran through the crowd and sprinted a few hundred yards to the finish line breaking the winners tape.

A few days later Rosie was disqualified and her medal awarded to the “second place” winner.  To this day, she contends she ran the entire race and never rode a Boston subway in her life.

Rosie’s run:



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