The Worst Race Cheats of All Time

10 fantastically sordid tales of deception and underhandedness in the purist sport of running

Running, particularly distance running, is a notoriously pure sport. It's all about mental and physical fitness—a pure and simple race from here to there, with no real skill required. To win races, you need to put in the training—hundreds of lonely miles pounding pavement and trail. If you don't, you're only cheating yourself. Or so they say.[slideshow:654]

Still, in the history of the sport, plenty of cheaters have tried to game the system and been caught (even more have probably gotten away). With the famed Boston Marathon approaching April 15, we're reminded of infamous cheater Rosie Ruiz (above), who burst across the finish line of the 1980 edition with nary a recollection of what the course was like nor a drop of sweat on her brow. Her fake victory, though terribly unfair to her more qualified counterparts, was oddly inspirational. Here was a heretofore nobody who, with virtually no effort on her part, briefly elevated herself to the highest levels of an incredibly elite sport. But Rosie wasn't the first.

We've rounded up 10 fantastically terrible race cheats from running. Some, like Rosie, are straightforward—hitching a ride or cutting the course; some are sneaky—swapping spots with a sibling, hiring an imposter or handing off a timer chip to a faster runner; some are practical jokes; some are accidents, and still others are simply mysterious.

Click through to the Worst Race Cheats of All Time Slideshow.