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. Sf

    Of course a couple of days from now republicans will saya its obamas fault that he 'misspoke' and that the media is hurting his feelings by bringing it up and talking about it over and over and that we should be talking about the economy and how everything's obamas fault...ur right ryan, we should be talking about more important things, and that does NOT include you!

    September 4, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  2. CS Madison

    Liked the comparison I heard recently that Palin's marathon time was 2 minutes better (3:59) than Ryan's real time (4:01).

    September 4, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. DNas

    I am a running coach. ANyone that puts months of training and their heart and soul in a marathon will not get a 4 hour marathon and a 3 hour marathon confused over any period of time unless they are simply losing it. Not bloody likely!

    September 4, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. Linda

    How do you misstate your time by an hour? Then blame your misstatement on time passed and an injury. I guess now we are at the point where he doesn't know what he says is fact or fiction.

    September 4, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  5. privateergm

    This guy is just incapable of telling the truth.

    September 4, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  6. fullclarity

    Seems to have a memory problem or a truth problem .. which one?

    September 4, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. whatareyouhiding

    Facts don't really matter to the GOP. Sad but true.

    September 4, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  8. bob

    I ran a marathon 32 years ago and still remember the time, who I beat, what I did the night before and how awful I felt when I finished. Sorry to say Lyin Ryan's real time was better than mine. But at least I didn't lie about my time.

    September 4, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. SE

    Having run a marathon over 25 years ago I can tell you no one forgets their time – his suggestion that 20 years may have dimmed his recollection is not credible. Sounds like he got caught in an embellishment (lie).

    September 4, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  10. Skipper

    Certainly this wasn't a harmful lie, abut it does say something about his character and the ease in which he states mistruths.

    September 4, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  11. Larry Gray

    As a 3:03 Boston alum. I am insulted. I feel as though Ryan is like one of those cheaters who enters the race at the last mile yet claims to have run it all. The effort to do what he said he did is something that once done, is not forgotten.

    September 4, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  12. kse

    This is just stupid. Who cares about a misspoken or made up time in a marathon. There is so much more to talk about.

    September 4, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. tanzer

    What in the world does having a "back injury" have to do with lying about a runnng time. I am an orthopaedic back surgeon and trust me, your memory has NOTHING to do with back pain. I have never seen such a lame excuse for a blatant lie

    September 4, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. Jeff

    If you think this is important and are using this to justify your vote for Obama, you were never open-minded enough for it to matter to begin with. If you think he couldn't have forgotten his time because you ran a marathon some time ago and remember your time, it's perhaps because that was your greatest accomplishment in life. For him, it wasn't.

    September 4, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. Rick4710

    I ran a marathon 10 years ago and still rememebr the time down to the second and have had a back injury along with numerous other soft tissue injuries over the years since the. He also blamed Obama for the closure of an auto plant that occured under the Bush administration.

    September 4, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. musomesa

    I could not at the top of my head tell you the times of all the marathons I have run but I don't see how you forget the best one (in my case, 3:36).

    September 4, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. Joe Plain

    Like his GOP fellows, they all lie so much they cannot tel where the truth is anymore.

    September 4, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  18. JW

    This is just another of many of Mr. Ryan's fibs, it seems he just makes up whatever he thinks his fan base wants to hear. I've never run a marathon, I have ran several 5k, 10k races in high school about 25 yrs ago, I have had several injuries as well in my life but funny how I still remember those times. The shoulder and knee injuries mysteriously did not affect my brain and my memory.

    I guess if you're running for office in the Republican party it really doesn't matter what you say on any topic; just make it up the blind Republicans will eat it up.

    Now tell us about how when you were mowing your lawn on summer break from college that you knew you'd marry a girl from a wealthy family to help you pull off some really great investments in Oklahoma!

    September 4, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  19. John

    Are we sure he really does the P90X workout?

    September 4, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. Emmittkitty

    Anyone who has run only one marathon in their life doesn't forget their time!...by over an hour? Ryan is a two-bit liar....period!

    September 4, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  21. Sidewinder

    Ryan's lack of clarity here mirrors his trickle down economic theories. Neither has seemed to work well, have they? Nice excuse with the back injury...is that what you will use for continued failed GOP economic policy? Ohhh! My back hurt so I destroyed the middle class...ooopsie!!

    September 4, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  22. Bilbo

    OK, what year and what race Ryan? Answer that

    September 4, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. Thatguy371

    Back problems don't effect memory. Being in the GOP effects memory. Wanna try again?

    September 4, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. Pat in IL

    He has already shown us that he'll say anything he wants, true or not, for an attempt at political gain. It's even more bizarre that he wants to pump himself up with small, personal things like a marathon he ran 22 years ago. What a jerk.

    September 5, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  25. Viking59

    I still remember my 10K time from 1988 and how great I felt that I didn't finish last. I trained hard for 6 weeks prior to the event and I was carrying more weight than most runners do. I felt great after the run and I had lots of energy. I remember almost every moment of the day.

    Back injuries probably affect your memory considerably if you are medicating with Vicodin, Ocycontin or any other opiate. Maybe a fact check is needed – running is notoriously bad for back problems.

    September 5, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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