It turns out that a recent half-marathon in the city of Shenzhen wasn’t entirely run in keeping with the principles of fair play and good sportsmanship with hundreds of runners caught cheating by taking a shortcut through some shrubbery.
Surveillance cameras busted a total of 237 runners cutting through a bush-filled median, rather than running another one kilometer or so up the road and taking a U-turn. For the cheaters, the shortcut shaved two or three kilometers off the 21-kilometer race.
However, that wasn’t the only nefarious activity going on at the half-marathon. Organizers said that 18 of the runners were wearing fake bibs while three were imposters who ran the race in someone else’s place. Bringing the total number of cheaters up to 258.
Those cheaters will now face lifetime bans. They have also been scolded by state media editorials, calling them “shameful” for having so grossly disrespected the spirit of marathons and athletic competitions.
However, this is still only the second biggest marathon scandal of the month in China following what happened at the Suzhou Taihu Marathon where a Chinese runner’s chance of victory was ruined by volunteers trying to hand her the Chinese national flag just ahead of the finish line.