A man was arrested and will face fraud charges for cheating his way into second place of Kenya’s Nairobi International Marathon.
Police and race officials said Monday the man, identified as 28-year-old Julius Njogu, hid among a group of spectators before joining the race near the finish.
Njogu claimed second place in a sprint finish Sunday after breezing past another competitor in the final stretch at Nyayo National Stadium. He was in line to claim around $7,000 in prize money before being caught out and disqualified.
Officials said they became suspicious because Njogu showed no signs of fatigue and was not sweating when he had supposedly just run 42 kilometers (26 miles). They discovered that he’d run barely one kilometer after emerging from a bunch of onlookers and joining the leading group of runners just outside the stadium.
Through the final few meters, Njogu jogged easily past a weary-looking Shadrack Kiptoo to cross second. Joshua Kipkorir won Sunday’s men’s race in two hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds. Elizabeth Rumokoi won the women’s title in 2:29.32.
Television images showed Njogu arguing with race officials, and even removing his running shoes in an apparent attempt to show organizers blisters on his feet to prove he’d run the entire course.
“I followed the leading team from start to finish and I didn’t see him,” said race director Ibrahim Hussein, a former Boston and New York Marathon champion. “He will not be recognized and I’m so disappointed that one can cheat in this modern age. He didn’t finish second.”
In 2013, two athletes were disqualified at the Nairobi marathon after also attempting to cheat their way to podium finishes in the women’s race.