Sunderland bus marathon cheat faces Great North Run ban

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A SUNDERLAND marathon runner who famously cheated his way to a medal by boarding a bus is facing yet another ban.

Rob Sloan, 32, had to hand back his Kielder Marathon bronze medal after witnesses saw him catch a bus at the 20-mile point.

Now the former Sunderland Harrier, who was given an athletics ban and permanently barred from all events organised by Kielder Marathon founder and Olympic medal winner Steve Cram, is being investigated for breaking the rules at the Great North Run.

The dad-of-two allegedly entered last month’s half marathon under a friend’s name, disguising himself with sunglasses.

Mr Sloan, from Washington, who works as a mechanic, said: “I will maintain my innocence.

“I had won the 10k at Kielder last year by two-and-a-half- minutes, but I’m not remembered for that.

“It is difficult to sit at the weekend knowing the race is going on at Kielder and I can’t defend my title.

“I’m still running and my next race is the Newcastle Stampede. I train every day and run between 100 and 120 miles a week.

“I’m banned from the races owned and run by Steve Cram, which are the Kielder 10k and marathon and the Sunderland 10k and marathon, but the rest I can enter. I ran this year’s Great North Run but I ran under a friend’s name. I didn’t want the Press there asking questions, I didn’t want to get the attention.

“I don’t want this mentioned as I don’t want to be banned from the Great North Run as well. I don’t know if it is against the rules to run under another name, but I ran under a friend’s name, who is also a runner, but I don’t want to get him into trouble.”

Race organisers are now investigating the allegations. If true, Mr Sloan and his friend could both now be disqualified from future events.

David Hart, communications director for the Great North Run, said: “We have heard internet rumours that Rob Sloan was entering the run under a false name. We are now investigating this.

“If it is true I am disappointed he has done that. The reason we do not allow people to run the race under a different name is for the health and safety of runners.

“We have to know who is running the race in case there is a problem. He wasn’t banned from running the race. He could have entered the ballot like everyone else and run the race under his real name.”

Mr Sloan is already banned from the Kielder Marathon and 10k, and Marathon of the North and 10k events in Sunderland, all of which are organised by “Jarrow Arrow” Steve Cram.