Last April, my friend, Holly, aka Muddy Mommy called herself out on cutting corners in a race. I wanted to write about this then, but did not have the courage. My business partner, Christian, has recently been posting on Facebook some very honest, but ugly things about himself. That also pushed me to write, but I chose not to. Today an article I just read by a friend (who happens to be an obstacle racer) but has nothing to do with OCR, inspired me to finally come clean.
Maybe it isn’t that big of a deal, maybe I have made too much of it all of this time, but it needs to come out, so here goes.
I cheated. I knowingly cheated in a race, and let my time stand.
It was the Saturday race of Atlanta Spartan Sprint of 2014. I had been training hard, it was my home Spartan, I really wanted to do well. I took off in the elite heat and was doing great. I knew if I had a burpee free race, I could put up a great time. Midway through the race, all was going as planned. There were only a few obstacles that even had the possibility of burpees, and I had made them all. Then we got to the traverse wall. (This is the old traverse wall, where you only have to scale across the wall once, not the current Z Wall).
I have made the traverse wall countless times. Once I learned a solid technique, it is something that I complete 100% of the time. My technique is to get as long and lean as possible. The more surface area my body covers, the less likely I am to fall off. I also sort of hump the wall. I keep my groin pressed to the wall as hard as possible so my fingers and toes don’t have to work so hard.
So there I was, stretching out as far as possible, keeping myself long and lean and onto the next hold. There were two blocks left for me to ring the bell. Then I slipped. Without thinking, I jumped back up, touched the next blocks and rang the bell. I looked around and realized no one saw me fall and kept running as fast as I could. Then, it hit me. “Dude you just cheated-go back and do your burpees”.
I didn’t. I kept going. That guilty feeling was gnawing at me a little, but not too much.
I finished the race without any further penalties. Climbing rope, no problem. Spear, no problem. When I went to the timing tent, I couldn’t believe. it. The best I had ever done in a Sprint. 5th in my age group!
As I saw more and more of my friends that day, we were asking each other the usual questions. “How did you do?” “How many burpees?” When I told them my time and proudly said “No burpees”, that gnawing, guilty, feeling got a little stronger. Especially when it was friends who I really respect, friends who typically beat me at other races.
Still, it wasn’t enough for my ego to do anything about it. I was too happy with myself. I mean, I just qualified for *OCR Worlds! That giant 5 in age group made me feel like a real winner!
So I let it stand and then tried not to think about it. Except that I couldn’t. Because there it is for all the world to see. It lives on the Spartan results page. It lives on my Athlinks page. It’s the tell-tale heart of my cheating. As I look at the photo I just placed above, I notice my profile photo happens to be of my son and I. No accidents. Do I want my son to cheat? Do I want to teach my children that it is ok to cut corners in life when no one is watching?
As OCR World’s approached, that gnawing, guilty, horrible twinge started up again, but then I realized that I qualified for World’s anyway with some other races, so “it didn’t really matter”.
This next part is what I have had the hardest time with. The part that I am the most scared to write. Obstacle Racing Media is the company that I helped co-create and that I work on every day. Many times, ORM calls out race directors or others that have cut corners or have been less than above board. So, for me to admit that I have cheated makes me a giant hypocrite, which I somehow measured as worse than a cheater. It means that some people may stop supporting ORM, or if they never did, it would give them more reason to stay away and tell their friends to do the same.
At one point, I had it in my head that when the Spartan Sprint came back around to Georgia, it would be the perfect time to come clean. Sometime after posting my 2015 Sprint results, I could talk about what happened last year. Well, that time came and went and I was still too much of a puss to write it.
So here we are, I am letting it out. It has sucked for me this whole time to live with it, and this post needed to happen.
If friends like Holly, like Melanie, and my partner Christian, have the balls to tell the truth no matter the consequences, then so can I.
I am going to see if I can get my results from that race removed from the Spartan pages and from Athlinks. If I can’t, then it will be reminder of what I did, and something that I never want to do again.
*Editor’s note – I received the email below from The OCR World Championships around 6:00pm EST, the same day this blog post went up. I understand and accept their decision.
In reading your recent editorial on Obstacle Racing Media entitled, “I Cheated”, it has now been brought to my attention that you knowingly submitted results to prove your qualification for the 2014 OCR World Championships that were obtained under false pretenses, having openly admitted to cheating during the race in question.
While I certainly commend you for coming forward publicly at this time to be open and honest with what occurred during that race and your choice to submit those results to us as proof of your qualification, we would be remiss to simply allow this to pass by without consequence. If our sport is to continue to grow and evolve, we must rely on race organizations and athletes to enforce and follow the rules that are set in place.
To that end, due to the fact that you chose to submit qualifying results for the 2014 OCR World Championships in which you knowingly cheated to obtain the given result, we will be disqualifying your result from the 2014 OCR World Championships and you will no longer be listed as a finisher.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Chief Operating Officer