“I know it’s left a mark, and I be­lieve Triathlon Canada has stepped up to make sure it doesn’t hap­pen again.”

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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

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