The Greatest Cheat in Running History

In the world of marathons, the Comrades Marathon is one of the oldest and most famous. The race takes runners over a 56-mile jaunt along South Africa’s rugged coast. The run which typically takes 11-12 hours, but the fastest runners can accomplish it in under 6. Cheating scandals have plagued marathon competitions for years, and the Comrades is no exception. However, instead of doping, one runner decided to get a little more creative in his cheating strategy. Sergio Motsoeneng was an excellent long-distance runner, but he only managed to finish in 8th place in the Comrades Marathon in 1999. Facing television cameras after the race, he said he would donate his gold medal and $1000 prize to his father back in the village of QwaQwa in central eastern South Africa. Something, however, was amiss. Fellow runner NIck Bester complained that he never saw Sergio pass him in the final stretch. Race officials initially cleared Sergio of wrongdoing after examining the time sheets, but then a newspaper reporter published some questionable photos of Sergio. During the race, in the time that elapsed between the first and second photos being taken, Sergio had apparently switched his watch from his left wrist to his right wrist and inexplicably grown a scar on his left shin. As it turns out, the competitor Sergio Motsoeneng was not one, but two people. Sergio ducked into a porta-potty 45 minutes into the race, where his identical brother Fika was waiting. Sergio removed his shirt, bib, hat, and even shoes, and gave them to his brother, who continued the race. The race organizers figured that this bait-and-switch happened on more than one occasion throughout the 56-mile course. The siblings had organized their own relay. When the deception was confirmed, Sergio and Fika were stripped of their prize money and banned from competing in any ultramarathon for over 5 years. Each sibling cited poverty as their reason for cheating.