One of my competitors last weekend was a Mexican politician. Fifty-five year old Roberto Madrazo came third in the presidential election last year, and ran 2:40 last week, coming in 146th. Which was an impressive improvement on his previous (London) PB of 3:43. According to yesterday's Independent it was the Mexican newspaper Reforma that dug deeper into the statistics. Reforma had its gripes: in 1988 Madrazo's party "won" an election when the computerised voting system went down, and a recent investigation into the man himself found an impressive portfolio of real estate.
Madrazo's splits were a little erratic. He did the first 20k in 1:42:42. (I ran them in 1:23:08). The computer records then went silent, and no 25 or 30 splits were recorded. Nor does there seem to be any photographic or video evidence of those painful miles. And then he reemerged somewhere before the 35 mat, before finishing at 2:40. Which means he ran the last 22k in 58 minutes. Which would be world record ... Even Gebreselassie didn't manage to run his second half that fast.
A glance at the map suggests an alternative explanation. The course loops around so that 20k and 35k aren't so far apart. It looks like Mr Madrazo took a short detour. Perhaps he even stopped for an expresso on Potsdamer Strasse. Then he bypassed a couple of thousand runners for a glorious finish. I suppose it looked like he was struggling with the wall, as he finished with the six-minute miling guys (and a very few gals) at an eight-minute pace.
It seems the race managers have been persuaded: while Madrazo's name still appears with the aforementioned time on the race website, his splits and finishers certificate have disappeared, and his place isn't recorded. My thanks to Reforma: I have moved up a place and now came 630th. But I do look forward to seeing whether George Bush will try to improve on his marathon PB of 3:40.