Monday, August 6, 2012

Missoula's connection to an alleged marathon fraud

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM

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An article in the Aug. 6 issue of The New Yorker digs deep into the story of a Michigan dentist named Kip Litton. There's nothing especially remarkable about Litton, except for the fact that he's accused of cheating in numerous marathons across the country—and the story more or less originates at the Missoula Marathon.

In 2010, Litton placed second in the masters division of the award-winning local race. One problem, though: Nobody ever saw him on the course. As Mark Singer reports in the article (subscription required) and explains in a New Yorker podcast (free), the masters division winner, Kyle Strode, a chemistry teacher from Helena, had some extra time during the summer and went through online photos to recount how the race developed. He recognized many of the masters-level competitors, but only saw Litton at the finish line.

"This naturally raised his suspicions," says Singer in the podcast, "and from there he went about looking at other races and found similar patterns."

Missoula organizers had their own doubts about Litton, and Strode continued to investigate. The running community also got involved. There are websites dedicated to tracking Litton's curious results over the years, immense Litton-related discussion threads in marathon forums, commentaries about the severity of his alleged cheating and, now, a long feature in The New Yorker. And to think, it all tracks back to Missoula.

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