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How to Win a Marathon From Your Couch

Posted Nov 04 2013 12:05pm

Henry O’Neill led the Dublin City Marathon at the 10k and half-marathon marks, only to disappear from the field around mile 20. How did he run so well and vanish so early? Don’t ask Henry, who was sitting at home during the race and never suited up due to injury.

The mystery was solved by the Running in Cork, Ireland blog and was subsequently picked up by the Irish press. It appears the race organizers held onto O’Neill’s timing chip in the hopes he would show up at the last minute, and when he didn’t, they tossed the chip into the press bus. The bus made its way around the course, just ahead of the lead runners, with O’Neill’s chip dutifully recording each checkpoint for him. When the bus turned off the route before the finish, so did O’Neill’s chances of winning.

The story has strange similarities to an episode of the TV detective series Monk. In “ Monk and the Marathon Man ,” a runner affixes his chip to the underside of the motorcycle of the cameraman who is filming the race. The chip records his progress along the route, providing him with an alibi while he leaves and commits a murder.

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