She was supposed to but she didn’t. She had a Boston qualifying time in the “GO St. Louis” marathon; came in first actually. Yet the one who crosses the finish line first isn’t always a winner; sometimes it’s a cheater. You see Kendall Schler couldn’t win a marathon for real, not with her running ability as it stands with a pace of about 15 minutes per mile. She’d need to be doing more like 6 minutes per mile. Could she train, work hard, and get to that level? Maybe. We can’t know for sure. But instead of taking the honorable, admirable road of self-achievement, she took an easier route to finish first, she didn’t run the whole race. Once Boston found out she cheated, they revoked her spot in the Boston Marathon.
In fact, this isn’t the first time she’s done this. She cheated last year’s Go St. Louis marathon. She may have cheated in other minor races like last year’s Roots n Blues 10K where somehow she managed to improve a previous time “miraculously”.
Many people are curious to know why someone would do such a thing. What is there to gain in these minor races? Is it just to qualify for Boston? Major races like New York and Boston have large purses but it’s practically impossible to cheat in them.
Even psychologists are perplexed. Philadelphia-area psychologist Dr. David Weiman said, “I think it’s difficult to know why people cheat to win. Running is one of those interesting sports where your biggest competitor may be yourself. Although only she can answer for what she did, it’s possible that the desire for recognition/acceptance outweighed the obvious prohibition most people feel about cheating to win. She may have felt like her hard work was not being rewarded with recognition, so she took a short cut to experience it.”
We tried to reach Kendall Schler but her phone number has been disconnected.
Other runners from Missouri, rather than feeling animosity towards Kendall, were just concerned that the real winners get their proper recognition. For the most part, runners are a friendly group with good sportsmanship like Meb Keflezighi, last year’s winner who had a difficult run today, grabbed a fellow runner’s hand this year to raise it in the air as they both crossed the finish line to the cheers of the crowd. Though neither runner was extremely proud of their finishing time, that act created a special moment for everyone.
We can all rise to the occasion and be our best even if we aren’t the winner. This is what Kendall Schler needs to learn. Maybe she’ll see a clip of Meb and realize that it’s not who crosses the finish line first that matters most in this world, it’s who is doing something good, great or small.