M60 New York Marathon ‘winner’ quietly deleted as cheat

Thanks to Annette’s Seite webmaster Robert Koop in Germany, my masters track Euro-buddy, an Italian gent has been exposed as a cheater at Sunday’s New York Marathon. On Monday, Robert wrote me: “We think that the Italian M60-NYCM-Winner Ermes Luppi (ITA, 2:39:53h) could be a cheater. Our source tells us that last year Luppi ran only one marathon in the time of 5:24:41h.” I passed along the allegation to several people, including NYCM press officer Sara Hunninghake, who replied: “Thank you, I will forward on to our scoring office.” Then yesterday, Weldon “wejo” Johnson of letsrun.com noted Luppi’s time and another post revealed the mark had vanished from the results. The NYC Marathon folks haven’t put out a press release to acknowledge this, though. I guess they’re a little embarrassed about being punk’d — again. (Rosie Ruiz practiced at NYC before being caught at Boston, remember.)

Robert Koop also told me: “Mr. Luppi is the owner of a sports shop at Modena (Italy) with its own running club (!) called LUPO SPORT. Lupo is the Italian word for wolf.”
The NYC Marathon says it hands out prize money to age-group winners, but I checked the prize money page and couldn’t figure out how much Luppi made — or was forced to give up.
Here’s a photo of Luppi that Robert sent. And here’s a link to Luppi’s Web site.

On the Track & Field News message board, some excited but suspicious chatter greeted the M60 winning time of 2:39:53 — since it was near age-group world record territory.
Now that Luppi has been zapped from the 2008 results, it would be nice for someone to write him and check out his side of the story. I’m too shy.
(Besides, my Italian is rusty.)

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November 6, 2008

8 Responses

  1. Ken Stone - November 6, 2008

    Rosa Marchi, an Italian running and track reporter, writes:
    Dear Ken, I wrote him today and Ermes confirmed that he didn’t run in
    NYC Marathon. I saw that now he doesn’t compare in the official results.

  2. Colorado Running - November 6, 2008

    Wow, pretty shady.

  3. Quick Silver - November 6, 2008

    Not particularly shady. Someone else used his number. It happens in every road race everywhere. What percentage in New York, 1%? 5%? And how many people would that be?
    It only causes trouble (usually unintentionally) when, for example, a man runs with a woman’s number and suddenly finds himself on the prize list.
    Quick Silver
    Hong Kong

  4. Emmanuel Tardi - November 6, 2008

    The problem with these big races is you MUST inscribe you one year before the race . But , if you cant go ( sick , problem in job ), the organizators dont want to come back your money (200S for NY Marathon ). So , you must sell your number to other people !

  5. Gary Grobman - November 7, 2008

    No, it is not true that you MUST sell your number to other people if you can’t go. This is simple fraud.
    But it raises a question for me to ask:
    Would anyone have any objection to a USATF requirement that for any sanctioned competition, registrants must show a government picture ID when they pick up their race packet for any championship or for when there is prize $$? This would eliminate at least SOME fraud, as those who have entered and are participating in an unethical/illegal scheme to permit someone else to use their race number may not be in the same city during race packet pickup. Everyone needs this kind of ID to get on an airplane–so why not require it to get your race packet? I have a problem with the honor system at most races where anyone can get a race packet by simply saying you are picking it up for someone. I know you can’t do that for the Boston Marathon. I have to sign for my packet and show my packet pickup confirmation card, but I am not asked to show any picture ID. I am sure this cuts down on a lot of problems, but not when the competitor who registered is cooperating with the person competing under the false name. For Masters competitors (I am one),this would also help eliminate, or at least reduce, the possibility of a younger athlete competing under the name of an older athlete.
    BTW, I am the newest member of the USATF Ethics Committee and will be at the annual meeting next month. If there is a consensus to deal with this issue and some creativity on what might work, I am in a good position to do something about it!

  6. Debbie - November 8, 2008

    The NYC Marathon does require you to come to the expo in person and show ID in order to pick up your race packet. They will not give it to anyone but you. Of course, that doesn’t stop the legitimate entrant from giving it to someone else afterwards. I’m guessing that other ways around ID check have been figured out, but they do try and control the bibs.

  7. Karen Ferlito - November 9, 2008

    Check out the photos for 42567. That is Luppi’s number. It is obviously not a 61 year old. He is running most of the time with another runner with bib 3027. 3027 is an Italian as well.

  8. Ken Stone - November 10, 2008

    Links to the original results (and past NYC marathon clockings by Luppi) are here:

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