A RUNNER who cheated his way to third place in a marathon by jumping on a bus has found his ideal career – working for a bus company.
Former Sunderland Harriers member Rob Sloan, of Downhill, shot to national infamy when witnesses said they saw him hop on a bus during last year’s Kielder Marathon before getting off and rejoining the field near the finish line.
He finished third in the race, baffling other competitors who said they had not seen him near the front during the 26-mile event, in Northumberland, on Sunday, October 9.
The day before the marathon Mr Sloan had stormed to victory in the Kielder 10k race.
Organisers said that Mr Sloan called them to confess his guilt, but he denies ever saying such things and has protested his innocence.
But now the 32-year-old says he is enjoying life as a bus engineer with Go North East.
“It’s quite ironic really, but it’s been brilliant working here,” said Mr Sloan, who used to be a mechanic in the Army. “I’d say it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
“I got it because of my reputation for being a good mechanic.
“The people I work with have all been very supportive and good company as well.”
Mr Sloan has also kept up his fitness by running home from the depot where he works, in Stanley, County Durham, at the end of each shift.
He will make his return to competitive racing in the Pier-to-Pier Sunderland Strollers race this Sunday.
The six-month ban awarded to him by UK Athletics over the Kielder Marathon incident came to an end last month.
He would have been allowed to compete in last week’s Marathon of the North or Sunderland City 10k if he made a public apology, which he decided not to do.
Mr Sloan said: “What would I be apologising for? I wasn’t prepared to go down that route.”
More than 900 other runners have entered the event, which will start at 10am start on South Shields Pier.
The seven-mile route ends at Roker Pier, in Sunderland.
Mr Sloan said: “I wasn’t allowed to enter the Sunderland 10k or the Marathon because Steve Cram wouldn’t let me so entering this race is the natural thing to do.”
Despite possible negative feedback he says he is hugely looking forward to getting back into competitive running.
“It’s a route I really enjoy.
“I’ve got no idea what the reaction will be.
“I hope it isn’t a bad one but there’s nothing I can do to control that.”