BUS-riding runner Rob Sloan has been banned by national athletics bosses.
He has been given a six-month ban by an England Athletics independent disciplinary panel.
The 32-year-old, from Downhill, made worldwide headlines over claims he cheated his way into third place in the Kielder Marathon, by riding a bus to the finishing line.
He was stripped of the placing, then kicked out of Sunderland Harriers and has now been barred from taking part in any event under UK Athletics rules.
But the ban has been back-dated to the day of the Kielder Marathon on October 9, meaning Mr Sloan can compete in the Sunderland-staged Marathon of the North event on May 6.
Today the runner told the Echo he would take the punishment in his stride and again protested his innocence over the allegations.
“I have never, ever admitted cheating and never, ever will.
“I’ll serve the ban and come out of it stronger for it. I just want to put all this behind me.
“I’m still planning to do the Marathon of the North and I’ll still be out running every day.”
Mr Sloan claimed the rural nature of the Kielder Marathon made it hard for either side to present conclusive evidence as to whether he cheated or not.
“The only evidence there is is my Garmin watch, which tracks me doing 24 miles all day long. It’s there in black and white,.
“It just goes wonky when I go through the high trees, which it did when I ran the Great North Run when I went under the Central Motorway in Newcastle.
“It lost satellite signal, but it shows the 24 miles. It shows every mile, but I don’t want to drag all this up again.”
Mr Sloan has until November 22 to appeal against his England Athletics ban, but said he does not intend to do so.
The ex-Army mechanic said he was disappointed at how much focus had been put on the cheating accusations, and how little on his sporting achievements.
“I won the 10k event the day before the Kielder Marathon,” he said.
“I came 100th in the Great North Run six weeks before that.
“I know the spotlight is going to be on me next year once my ban is up, and I hope to be making headlines for the right reasons.”
Mr Sloan plans to become a charity champ, allowing good causes to cash in on his unwanted publicity.
“I’d very much like to run for charity, and raise sponsorship for Help for Heroes or something like that. ”
Mr Sloan said he hoped to return to club athletics and a number of clubs had been in touch asking him to join.
The runner feels he was unfairly treated by Sunderland Harriers, claiming he told the club he could not attend a meeting, but later found out a disciplinary hearing had been carried out without his knowledge.