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Lies, Damned Lies and Lies About Athletics

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As a confirmed, lifelong average athlete, few things irritate me more than people who lie about athletic accomplishments.

I've run seven full marathons, all of them slowly. My fastest was 3:45 in New Orleans in 1990, when I was 19 and too young to know I couldn't run even that fast, and my slowest (and last) was 4:28 in Cape Cod in 1999, after which I asked my wife to shoot me as I fell across the finish line, and vowed to never run another one. (I've kept that vow, for the record.)

The rest, obviously fell somewhere between, but none under four hours, which is the marathoners' Mendoza line. Respectable times for a "Clydesdale," but none of them blazing. I can live with those times. I finished every marathon I started, never DNF'ed. They were all grueling, and they taught me a great deal about myself, both the training and the racing, and now whenever I'm in the middle of something I think I can't finish (a book, for instance, or a bad semester) I think about one of the tougher ones-- like when I was the only runner I could see, in front or behind, for the last 10 miles of the Omaha Marathon in 1998, running on a windswept Interstate overpass in late October-- and I remember that I can hack whatever this latest trouble is.

That's the story I would tell if I ever ran for vice president. But I would NEVER exaggerate the accomplishment. Why would somebody DO that? I can understand lying about "having sexual intercourse with that woman," or taping White House conversations. But this? Why bother?

If I needed any further evidence that this guy was slimy (and frankly, I didn't) here we have it. This is bad, people. Like that guy in college you overheard in bars lying to get laid. Forget the deficit, jobs, all those pesky social issues. If you are one of those imaginary swing voters, the choice is clearer than ever.