Marathon cheat caught for a second time:
A marathon runner who boarded a bus to cheat his way to a medal in Kielder Marathon last year disguised himself with sunglasses and competed under a friend’s name to join in with the Great North Run. Father-of-two Rob Sloan, 32, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, joined the famous 13.1 mile half marathon last month after entering the race under the name of his friend, Ryan Percival.
He had to hand back his Kielder Marathon bronze medal last year after witnesses claimed he hopped onto a bus at the 20-mile point, before jumping off in time to cross the finishing line in third place. The former Sunderland Harrier is already banned from the Sunderland 10K, Sunderland Marathon, Kielder 10k and Kielder Marathon – which takes place around Kielder Water in Northumberland. Organiser and former Olympic champion Steve Cram – known as ‘The Jarrow Arrow’ after the name of his hometown in Tyne and Wear – banned Mr Sloan from the races over his alleged cheating.
Now Mr Sloan faces being banned from any future Great North Run. Race officials say entering under a pseudonym is against the rules, but Mr Sloan is protesting his innocence. The new allegation came to light as he was seen running across the finishing line with sunglasses and at various stages of the route, between Newcastle and South Shields, on the official website.
Mr Sloan, who works as a mechanic, said: ‘I will maintain my innocence. I had won the 10k at Kielder last year by two-and-a-half minutes but I’m not remembered for that; ‘It is difficult to sit at the weekend knowing the race is going on at Kielder and I can’t defend my title. I’m still running and my next race is the Newcastle Stampede.
‘I train every day and run between 100 and 120 miles a week. I’m banned from the races owned and run by Steve Cram, which are the Kielder 10k and marathon and the Sunderland 10k and marathon, but the rest I can enter.
‘I ran this year’s Great North Run but I ran under a friend’s name. I didn’t want the press there asking questions. I didn’t want to get the attention.
‘I don’t want this to be mentioned as I don’t want to be banned from the Great North Run as well.
‘I don’t know if it is against the rules to run under another name, but I ran under friend’s name who is also a runner. I don’t want to get him into trouble.’
Race organisers are now investigating the allegations. If true, Mr Sloan and his friend could both now be disqualified from future events. David Hart, communications director for the Great North Run, said: ‘We have heard internet rumours that Rob Sloan was entering the run under a false name. We are now investigating this.
‘If it is true I am disappointed he has done that. The reason we do not allow people to run the race under a different name is for the health and safety of runners.
‘We have to know who is running the race in case there is a problem. He wasn’t banned from running the race. He could have entered the ballot like everyone else and run the race under his real name.’
Story taken from: Daily Mail Online