Kendall Schler, the first woman to cross the finish line this year's GO! St. Louis Marathon, was celebrated as a great runner for about 20 minutes before being exposed as a mediocre cheater who apparently jumped back into the race after the final checkpoint.
Race officials told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "nothing about [Schler's] story made sense." She arrived without the bike that follows the lead runner, and had her race number on her leg instead of in the approved position on her back. Her split times couldn't be confirmed, either, because she'd removed the timing tape from her number.
She briefly got the benefit of the doubt because she had finished third in the same marathon last year, making her victory at least plausible. But after some investigation, the race organizers determined that finish—which qualified Schler for the Boston Marathon—was fake, too.
They gave her a chance to provide photos showing she finished the 2014 race, but she never did. The only photo of Schler during this year's race was a Post-Dispatch shot from early in the race, before she apparently jumped out and reentered near the finish.
Her race times and her Boston qualification have now been vacated.
Schler's scam could have gone undetected if she hadn't fake-won the whole thing, which meant a lot of extra attention, including finish line photos with Jackie Joyner-Kersee. There was a $1,500 prize, too, but she was found out before she had to decide whether to accept it.
Nancy Lieberman, who organized the race for GO! St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch she thinks Schler didn't intend to steal the entire race, she just botched her timing and accidentally jumped in ahead of the leader.
The real winner was Andrea Karl, a Wash U. doctoral candidate, who ran 26.2 actual miles in 2:54:28.
Kendall Schler's previous Half Marathon per was 2:38 per Athlinks. Nobody goes from that to winning a large Marathon race.— Lulu (@veryspoiledcats) April 17, 2015