So, Paul Ryan, what exactly was that marathon time?

You’re not going to see much on this site about politics. There are plenty of opinions regarding the elections out there without me chiming in here.

But there is an interesting story about the Republicans’ vice-presidential nominee regarding his past claims of a pretty fast marathon time.

Paul Ryan, a GOP congressman from Wisconsin, is noted for many things, including his high level of fitness. Believe me, most American men would do well to be as fit as Mr. Ryan. He takes it seriously, and has for many, many years.

Part of his athletic past is that of being a marathon finisher. He’d told a conservative talk show host that he’d completed the 26.2-mile run in 2 hours and “50-something” minutes. A pretty fast time which would more than qualify for the Boston Marathon and would put him well above the performance of most recreational marathoners. A lot of the folks I know just want to finish, and if they do it under four hours, so much the better.

Trouble is, it isn’t true. According to this report from The, Runner’s World magazine did some checking and couldn’t find any evidence of this. The magazine did show him finishing a 1990 marathon in a shade over 4 hours, square in the middle of the pack of that particular race.

Big, big difference. As in, the difference between being a BM qualifier and a finisher in a local race.

Mr. Ryan later admitted his mistake, saying in a statement to The New Yorker, “The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin—who ran Boston last year—reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.”

Runners are the types who remember their times. Given the difference between the stated time and the real time, well, you make the conclusion.

This isn’t earth-shattering stuff. It doesn’t disqualify him from office or send some sort of message about a sinister, hidden character flaw. It’s more like bragging about a playground fight you had as a kid that was really nothing more than a short shoving match.

But it’s bad form. Trust me, Mr. Ryan, it’s enough that you finished that race (only a fraction of a percent of the American public can boast the same), and we all know you’re in great shape. No need to embellish the facts to impress us. Just don’t tell us you ran a 2:50 marathon until you’ve actually done it.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088


2 thoughts on “So, Paul Ryan, what exactly was that marathon time?

  1. I remember my first marathon in 1979 . . . 6 hours and 12 minutes, Resurrection Pass in Alaska (some 33 years ago). Ok, so I took a nap at the halfway point. The following year I completed it in 4 hours and 7 minutes. I got most improved : ) I have not run one since . . . But do long range hiking. Yes, I don’t think I’d trust a man that has such a faulty memory.

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