Boston’s Blemish and Cheating Charterholders

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The 120th edition of the Boston marathon was held on Monday. The Kazi team wishes to pass on a hearty congratulations to all who participated and an especially strong thank you to all of the volunteers and fans for their efforts – without them, the event would not be possible.

Thankfully, this spirit of the marathon was joyous, competitive, and unifying. The race was one by representatives of 3 different continents. Men’s winner Lemi Hayle of Ethiopia won a tight battle to defeat defending champion Lelisa Desisa, the wheelchair competitions were won by American Tatyana McFadden and Swiss Marcel Hug, and Ethiopian Atsede Baysa broke away from the pack to win the women’s race.

But sadly there was a mark on the otherwise unblemished, clean race in 2016.

For those who may not know, the Boston Marathon requires an extremely fast qualifying time. So when you complete Boston, you’ve not only completed one marathon, but two. In fact, many runners view Boston as a reward. (Fancy that, running for 4-ish hours for 26.2 miles is a reward – I’m convinced the marathon mind is mutant, and I say that as a marathon runner myself.)

Anyway, these participants have in many cases trained for years to cross the finish line in Boston. The culmination of thousands of hours on roads, treadmills, and trails. Injuries they’ve overcome, rain they’ve endured, shoes now soleless. Puns, training books, podcasts, motivational quotes.

So this year, we have these geniuses, who decided to bypass exactly what gives Boston its aura – getting to the start line. They fraudulently manufactured false bibs, ran down Boylston Street like some real wise guys, and collected medals at the end. Good on you. What an accomplishment. I’ll bet you’ll be able to show those medals off without shame.

In some ways it would have been better if this story never came to light. It’s not like it takes away from the accomplishment of the runners with the actual earned numbers, but it takes away from the aura of a venerated event.

Still, why would someone do this? Why cheat in order to run a marathon? Who says, “I want to steal something – oh, why not steal entry so that I can run 26 miles!” Bizarre…

There are other examples of this. The Chartered Financial Analyst program includes 3 intensely difficult exams. Most normal people would not choose to take them; the ones that do generally do so to learn.

However, some people would much rather apply their time and knowledge to bringing in a James Bond-style chest camera to take an image of a test in one time zone and then sending those images to a different time zone. I didn’t even look up SAT stories; I’m too scared of what I’d find.

Congrats once again to all you legit Boston finishers. In the words of Neil Diamond, surely good times never seemed so good.

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