A boss at a leading running magazine is embroiled in a cheating row after posting misleading marathon times.
Kate Carter, the acting commissioning editor of Runner’s World UK, has been accused of “unethical” behaviour after anomalies were spotted in her performances at two major events.
Ms Carter, an influential figure in the running community who holds the world record for the fastest marathon in a full-body costume, said she “deeply regret[s] these errors in judgement” but insisted “I am not a cheat”.
Runner’s World UK, a Hearst magazine and one of the biggest running publications, has launched an investigation.
In one incident, Ms Carter, 47, manually drew a map for her 4,000 followers on Strava, the activity app, which made it look like it was a GPS map of her running the London Marathon course last year in three hours and nineteen minutes.
In fact, the mother-of-two had incorrectly shown herself running the old 2019 course in that time. She did not wear a race chip as most competitors do, meaning there was no official record of her taking part.
In another discrepancy, Ms Carter, who is married to The Guardian’s chief sports reporter Sean Ingle, left a gap in her London Landmarks Half Marathon times after failing to register a split at the 15 kilometre mark.
This brought down her average time for part of the race, and her recorded finish time was one hour and 32 minutes, ranking her the 42nd woman out of more than 10,000.
Afterwards on her Strava account, which was public until the cheating accusations were raised, she blamed her watch and claimed that she missed the splits because her “Garmin [watch] died completely”. However, photographs appeared to show that her Garmin was working.
The discrepancies were brought to light by Marathon Investigation, an American blog run by Derek Murphy, who claimed to have been tipped off by a source who raised concerns about “unethical” behaviour.
In a lengthy statement to The Telegraph, Ms Carter said the London Marathon had confirmed she had no case to answer and that she had never sought an official race time as she was not in peak fitness.
But she then ran quicker than expected and wanted to upload it to her Strava account: “This is when I made the mistake of trying to create a route manually based on my time.” she said. “Soon after I realised this was foolish and removed it from my feed.”
“I also feel it is important to admit that part of this was about my ego. Even in the amateur running world there is pressure to maintain form and times... My own desire to be seen to be doing well at a time when I was feeling weak and below par, resulted in a momentary lapse of judgement which I very much regret.”
Addressing the half marathon anomaly, she said she had “very unfortunately and embarrassingly had wet myself and wanted therefore to step off the course to try and sort myself out” which is “something that happens to many runners”.
“When I rejoined the race, it is possible that I did so at the wrong point on the course, though that was not my intention,” she added, insisting that “I made some stupid mistakes in how I recorded my times on my personal Strava record” but that she “was in no way trying to deceive the organisers of either event about my times”.
A spokesman for Runner’s World UK said: “We are aware of an online article regarding Kate Carter. At Runner’s World, we are committed to upholding the trust our audience and the running community has in our brand, and are investigating these claims internally.”