A runner who recently confessed to cheating at multiple races, including one where she rode a bike for part of the course, is under suspicion of course-cutting again this week after she clocked seemingly implausible split times at Sunday’s Chicago Marathon.
A spokeswoman for the 26.2-mile race confirmed to the Daily News on Wednesday that Emily Clark’s results are under review, though she wouldn’t offer a specific reason.
Clark, who denies cheating at the Chicago event, crossed the finish line Sunday after almost four hours, at 3:59:08. But the red flag came after she drastically changed pace midway through the race.
The woman, who operates a counseling clinic in Oregon, was running at 12:16 minutes a mile at the half-marathon mark and then somehow ran at 6:13 minutes a mile between the 25k and 30k marks, according to official results posted on the marathon’s website.
Her split times are consistent with course-cutting, as noted by the Marathon Investigation website, which uses analytics to expose marathon cheaters.
“Her splits were wildly uneven and implausible,” Derek Murphy, who runs the website, wrote Tuesday. “The most glaring are her sub 6:15 minute per mile 30k and 35k splits. There is only one logical conclusion — Emily once again cut the course, just three weeks after her confession and apology.”
Clark was disqualified from last month’s AppleTree Half Marathon in Vancouver, Washington, where she had been the second-place female finisher, the Marathon Investigation reported. It turned out that she had biked the majority of the course, according to a statement she shared with the website at the time.
The woman had initially claimed the woman on the bike was her “twin sister,” but later confessed to disposing of the bike before running across the finish line, The Columbian newspaper reported.
Clark’s statement went even further as she admitted to making two cuts in the Chicago Marathon course in 2013 and cheating again in at least three other races. She blamed her actions on an anxiety disorder.
But the woman attributed Sunday’s inconsistent splits to two asthma attacks she claims to have experienced during the race.
“This meant I had to stop and sit on the side of the course for a chunk of time and that I had to walk at other times,” she told The News in an email. “The friends who were out there to support me can attest to that. I was badly wheezing and used their inhaler at the halfway point.”
Clark, however, acknowledged that her results do seem suspicious.
“While I understand that such inconsistent splits and the recent article lead to suspicion, the truth is simple and I have friends who can attest to it,” she wrote.
The Chicago Marathon spokeswoman, Cindy Hamilton, said Clark has until Oct. 25 to respond to a request for details so event organizers can “reconstruct” her course experience. If they cannot validate the information, Hamilton said, she will be disqualified.