Ryan walks back exaggerated marathon time
September 4th, 2012
01:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Ryan walks back exaggerated marathon time

(CNN) – Exercise enthusiast Paul Ryan back pedaled Monday on his claim of a marathon time of under three hours, attributing the mistake to over two decades of time passed and a back injury.

Ryan said in an August radio interview with Hugh Hewitt that his best marathon time was under three hours, which would mean the fit Wisconsin congressman and Republican vice presidential candidate held under seven minute miles for the 26.2 miles race–an impressive feat for even the most avid runners.

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Runner's World magazine raised questions about Ryan's time last Friday, shortly after the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Then Ryan's staff issued a statement to the magazine last Friday where he admitted misstating his time by over an hour, finishing the 1990 Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota race in just over four hours. The GOP vice presidential candidate said his brother pointed out his mistake, in the statement published on the magazine's website on August 31.

"The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin-who ran Boston last year-reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight," Ryan said in the statement, which the campaign confirms was sent to the magazine.

Ryan blamed the fudged personal record on time passed and a back injury in an interview with WTOL in Toledo on Monday.

"I literally thought that was my time. It was 22 years ago," he said in the interview. "You forget sort of these things. I hurt my back when I was in my mid twenties, so obviously my perception of races and times were off."

Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is also an active runner, jumped on the mistake Tuesday linking Ryan's exaggerated marathon time to his character.

"I must confess, I do not do an under-3 hour marathon," Sebelius joked to the Ohio delegation at the Democratic National Convention. "Anyone who starts with the notion that you have to make up your marathon time tells you all you need to know about Paul Ryan."


Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan
soundoff (628 Responses)
  1. jfc1

    I think that's an amazingly amazingly accurate statement about his character. He sure as hell *REMEMBERED* that he'd run a marathon. It sure as hell was important enough for him to bring it up. It's a real shame that he can't also remember that a sub 3 hour time in a marathon would be world-class...when he's spitting out those numbers.

    September 4, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Jackson

    This is no different than all those times he spoke out against the stimulus and said he never asked for any...until someone dug deeper and exposed the lie, since he *did* ask for stimulus money.

    Seems to me if Romney and Ryan are both using the "I don't recall" excuses, perhaps they both suffer from early on set dementia, and are therefore unfit to be running for office.

    September 4, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Franky

    What is the term "walking back" ... you mean Paul Ryan "LIED" about his time.

    September 4, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    Obviously, Ryan isn't running his marathon claim back. It would take him 4 hours.

    The man is the perfect match for Mitt Romney. Both pathological.

    September 4, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Rosslaw

    I sprained a finger today so if I claim to have won gold medals in Olympic track you'll understand why I was confused.

    September 4, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    Republican voters are used to a steady diet of lies via FOX News. They don't care about lies, they only care about what they want to hear.

    “We won't let fact checkers dictate our campaign. We're not going to let truth get in the way.” – Neil Newhouse

    September 4, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Republican

    Very few people do -3 hour marathons.

    Many do 4 hour marathons.

    This was not a mistake. To lie speaks volume to me.

    Speaks even more volume to me that Ryan felt like he had to exaggerate.

    September 4, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. jfc1

    by the way Jon Lovitz called, said that he wants his Internet meme back

    September 4, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Al

    This guy is a habitual liar. He would "NOT" know the truth if it hit him in the ass with both hands. Perhaps Romney and Ryan are in a race to see who can tell the most lies the fastest. I'll bet the race will end in a tie. Perhaps the rest of the Republicans might want to join the same race.

    September 4, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. carly

    Ryan is so pathetic that he even lies about a thing like a marathon. What a team of losers. Romney/Ryan they will lie and pander about anything to win.

    September 4, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Save us all some time and report on what Ryan DIDN'T lie about.

    September 4, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Ken Wilson

    My best marathon time was in 1980 at 3:40:41. I ran 5 of them and I cannot imagine being off by such a large margin for something I – by design – had to devote a lot of time and energy to train for and complete. Contrast that with how long it took me to drive to the race that same day – I have no idea because I had nothing invested in knowing....and I have no problem telling you that I honestly don't remember.

    I'll also remember 20 years from now that I didn't vote in this election because it's like having to choose between poop and puke for dinner – no thank you, I'll pass and just stay hungry (but retain my right to complain about the options).

    September 4, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. tammyk tammy

    How does a back injury alter a person's perception of time and his ability to do basic math? Is LYIN' Ryan sure he didn't suffer a head injury instead? A head injury would better explain his horrible economic ideas and exaggerations. Check your numbers before you spew out false accomplishments. He's not a real math whiz, he just plays one on the political trail. I wouldn't let Ryan balance my checkbook let alone the economy of this country.

    September 4, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. RDA

    Just a flat out lie by Ryan - again. I'm a runner, I have run marathons, and I can guarantee that you can't make so egregious a "mistake" about your time like that unless it's totally intentional. Forget that "22 years ago" nonsense. It could be 122 years ago and you would still know whether you had run a sub-3 hour time or a 4+ hour time. Ryan has serious insecurity and masculinity issues so he felt like he needed to lie to a friendly right-wing radio broadcaster about something that can easily be fact-checked, because is so caught up in wanting to feel like a "real man." That's why he keeps going on about his P90X workouts ad nauseum. And then his brother - who is evidently the real athlete in the family - gave him "a good ribbing" over it. Yeah, sure. More likely he said "Hey Bozo, you're in the national spotlight now. Time to stop lying. If you can." What an idiot.

    September 4, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Vote for Seamus, elect Kolob's next dog catcher

    Eisenhower had Nixon (liar, resigned)
    Nixon had Spiro (lyin judge, convicted)
    Reagan had Bush(read my lips)
    Bush43 had Cheney (sociopath, WMD, skooter affair)
    McCain had Palin (liar and quitter)
    Romney has Lyan Ryan for VP.

    IS THERE A PATTERN FOR REPUBLICAN VP PICKS?
    We got lyin and bottom of the barrel as top two.

    September 4, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. paul

    asmall walking back for lying ryan; a great leap back for every thing he represents

    September 4, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. dcjim1

    He is a lier, plan and simple. This really does reveal alot about this guy. I know hard core runners and this is a real sin. No one ever forgets their time. I will never believe anything that comes out of his mouth again.

    September 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. RAWoD

    Birds of a feather. Mittens will not win. Thankfully, that means neither with Lyin Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. CJH

    "Avid" runners always remember their personal best times; it doesn't matter how long ago it was set. Just another Ryan lie.

    September 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Yuri

    One lie after another keeps poppin' and never stoppin'. Let's go shoppin' for a better pol., instead of this whopper-maker from WI.

    September 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. ScottinPgh

    Was he dodging incoming fire during the marathon? Oh wait, that was LAST election. Is it possible for us to get any candidates from either party who don't lie to us?

    September 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. mk1

    I really wonder how good he is at running backwards because he has so much to back peddle about he will be doing so until election day at this rate.

    September 4, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. dcjim1

    plain (sorry for the typo.....I was worked up). lol

    September 4, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Give me a break

    "I think that's an amazingly amazingly accurate statement about his character. He sure as hell *REMEMBERED* that he'd run a marathon. It sure as hell was important enough for him to bring it up. It's a real shame that he can't also remember that a sub 3 hour time in a marathon would be world-class...when he's spitting out those numbers."

    Its pretty easy to remember something vaguely that you did 20 years ago. It is far harder to remember the exact details. The truth is that Ryan merely misremebered the exact details about an event that occurred 22 years ago which is perfectly understandable. How many of you remember your exact 1 mile time that everyone is required to run in high school?

    September 4, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Elizabeth Flynn

    As a former runner myself, I can tell you that anyone who finishes a marathon is going to remember his or her time...particularly if it is under three hours....or not!

    September 4, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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