British Marathoner Hopped on Bus to Reach Finish Line Faster

October 12, 2011 - 7:00 AM

LONDON (AP) — A club runner in northern England has been stripped of his third-place finish in a local marathon after being caught hitching a ride on a spectator bus.

Rob Sloan initially described claims that he cheated in Sunday's Kielder Marathon near Newcastle as "laughable," but was forced to admit his transgression following an investigation.

Organizers say the 31-year-old former army mechanic dropped out of the race at the 20-mile mark, only to hop on a bus and emerge from a woodland area in the final stages to make the podium. His time was given as 2 hours, 51 minutes — 21 minutes faster than his previous best in the race.

Dave Roberts, one of the marathon organizers, condemned Sloan on Wednesday, saying "it's as bad as drug-taking in my book."