RUNNER Rob Sloan was in tears as he heard people had seen him cheat his way to third place in a marathon, the chairman of his running club has said.
But the controversy clearly hasn’t put him off running – as Mr Sloan was spotted pounding the pavements in Sunderland, yesterdays.
The Echo told how the Sunderland Harrier, from Downhill, was seen by witnesses getting on a bus during the Kielder Marathon at the weekend before rejoining the race to claim bronze.
The ex-army mechanic, who won a 10km race the day before the marathon, had earlier denied any wrongdoing – but he is now said to be “devastated” after admitting he cheated.
Organisers of the Salomon Kielder Marathon disqualified him after finding he had failed to finish the whole course, which is 26.2 miles long.
An emotional Mr Sloan, who was 32 yesterday, spoke to Sunderland Harriers chairman Kevin Carr and told him he is considering quitting the club.
Kevin said: “He is really upset and has admitted his guilt.
“He asked if he will be banned from races now, but the club consists of a committee and until we ask him for an explanation there will be no decision made.
“It’s a group decision and hopefully by the time things calm down he will come and see us about this.”
Mr Sloan was seen by spectators getting on a free bus near the 20-mile mark of the marathon.
He is then said to have climbed off one mile from the finish line to take third place.
Steven Cairns, of Peebles, Scotland, has now been awarded third place and will also be given the £50 prize money.
Mr Cairns, 43, said: ”I was in third right from the word go.
“But I got to the finish line to be told the guy giving the TV interviews beat me.
“I strongly protested (Sloan’s version of events) but he walked off immediately. It’s madness.”
Kielder Marathon organiser and former world champion runner Steve Cram said: “We are 110 per cent sure that he did not complete the course.
“On Monday evening he said to us “I accept the fact that I didn’t complete the whole course.”
Steve, who is chancellor of Sunderland University, also said that statistical evidence recorded by race organisers found that Sloan was the only one to have completed the second half of the marathon quicker than the first half.
“He either turned into an Olympic runner over the last eight miles with no evidence of him being able to do that before, or he used another method to get to the finish line,” added Steve.
Mr Sloan was unavailable for comment.