Completing a marathon via the subway, to selling cocaine: Rosie Ruiz

Ed Angeli
Managing Editor
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Rosie Ruiz: the ‘marathon’ runner to first con New York, and then deceive the whole of Boston. Impressive, but not commendable, as she was crowned the Boston winner in 1980.

With a past which consisted of riding the subway to clock a 24th-place finish in the New York marathon, Ruiz went one further to gain an advantage across the field in the Boston marathon a year later; not run the first 25 miles.

A professional liar, Ruiz managed to achieve a place on her first marathon in New York, by claiming for a “special dispensation” after she missed the deadline; the Cuban-born athlete claimed she had a ‘fatal brain tumour’.

Her Boston deception was reportedly noted at the time. Where marathon runners are usually/always finish the 26-mile race in a state of despair, unable to stand, and looking like they’ve been dunked in a swimming pool by their ankles; Ruiz had barely broken sweat, hair unmoved, ready to start the celebration of deceiving the whole of Boston.

1980, Ruiz finishing the Boston marathon - Image Source: Twitter
1980, Ruiz finishing the Boston marathon – Image Source: Twitter

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The fact Ruiz had run the race in 2 hours 31 minutes – the third-fastest time to ever be run in the women’s category – and 25 minutes quicker than her previous time in New York of 2 hours 56 minutes, led people to raise their eyebrows, and start challenging Ruiz as to how her time improvement was so dramatic.

The first ever woman to compete the Boston marathon, Kathrine Switzer, was one of Ruiz’ first sceptics; particularly obvious when Switzer asked Rosie for her mile breakdowns, splits and intervals; Rosie simply responded with:

“What’s an interval?”.

The American had no idea, as she’d only run half a mile after hopping onto the final one; she could have at least made up some splits, rather than telling the world she doesn’t know what an interval is.

Ruiz in the press conference after the race, denying she cheated in the race and wearing her winner's medal - Image Source: TRBIMG
Ruiz in the press conference after the race, denying she cheated and wearing her winner’s medal – Image Source: TRBIMG

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If Ruiz’s illegal activity and fraud in sport wasn’t enough, the American then went on to steal $60,000 for the company she worked for in 1982. And, in similar fashion to her marathon exploits, she managed to go one further the next year by getting herself arrested for selling two kilos of cocaine to an undercover policeman according to the New York Times.

She was jailed in Miami on a three-year probation, and it was alleged that the street value of the narcotics she and two other women were selling had a street value of $440,000.

From a marathon cheat, to a drug dealer; Rosie Ruiz remains as deluded as ever as she continued to plea her innocence at running the whole Boston marathon only as recently as 2000.

Course cutter, to drug cutter.

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