“I know it’s left a mark, and I believe Triathlon Canada has stepped up to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
expensive sport, if we have to start subsidizing extra drug testing, more cameras on courses or more GPS trackers.
“I have a lot invested in the sport and really want to see it clean and healthy,” he says. “At some point, even though it means betraying the connection I have with the sport, I throw up my hands and say, ‘Well, dammit, I’m racing honestly – if they insist on cheating, let ’em. This is just my hobby!’”
No one knows more about how far a distance (or how short a distance) a cheater will go than Jacqueline Gareau, the 63-year-old Canadian who lost the 1980 Boston Marathon to Rosie Ruiz – only to be awarded the trophy a week later after it was proven that Ruiz was a fraud. She had jumped into the race in the last few kilometres, hardly in a sweat when she crossed the line ahead of Gareau’s record-breaking time of 2:34:28.
“It wasn’t my problem,” said a sanguine Gareau, today a massage therapist in Ste-adèle, in Quebec’s Laurentians, and an occasional triathlete. “It was her problem.”
Ruiz has never admitted she didn’t win the 1980 Boston Marathon. Nor has Miller yet admitted she ever cut a course in a triathlon. These are suggestions of a kind of delusiveness that only leaves one feeling sorry for the perpetrator – and a little bewildered. Without an explanation or apology, it’s all so unsettling. Gareau may have missed the chance to break the ribbon in Boston, but there have been other laurels: She was asked back to Boston to be grand marshall of the 1995 race. She’s received kind messages and support from strangers the world over who remember the notorious race.
“People realize that cheating is not all that great,” says Gareau. “You have to live with yourself.”
Avid triathlete Loreen Pindera is a producer with CBC Radio Montreal.
Thomas Lawaetz at Ironman Copenhagen 2015