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. spiral

    Are you telling me any of you have not forgotten the exact details – especially the exact time- of something you did 22 years ago? I didn't realize so many Americans had photographic memories..
    ------------------------------------------
    if he didn't remember, then he should have said he didn't remember, but he was asked and he clearly responds "under 3, high 2's". it's a pattern. the dude is a liar

    September 4, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. chunk a chunk

    I'm sure it sounded good when he said it...that's all that really matters, right?

    September 4, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. DrPete

    I hurt my back when i built the pyramids too.

    September 4, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Real Patriot

    If people will lie about things that don't matter--God knows what they'll do with the critical ones.....

    September 4, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Zeke

    Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. – Luke 16:10

    This country we live in, yeah, it's one of those "much" things.

    September 4, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. CURIOUS

    Will Ryan come clean and admit that he has not accomplished anything for the middle class American in his 13 years in office?

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Wrenn_NYC

    Okay... I can understand how 20 years of time can mess with one's memory.
    That's all he needed to say.

    But to also blame it on a back injury?? 'cause, you know, we all remember with our backs.... Sigh.

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. jw from Arkansas

    Ryan is viewed as a numbers guru by the far right , yet he gets his marathon time off by more than 30% He's a liar, pure and simple, using the old bait and switch to fool middle class and poor working Americans to vote for him.

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Killbucket

    Find the interview where he says he runs marathons (plural).
    He's very clear about what his time was, and even backs it up by saying he was fast then.
    If there's any "confusion" in his mind, it is happening now, not 22 years ago when he got an owie.
    Zero credibility. Can we try Sarah again?

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. David

    The fact is there is only one man who can run this country and he is steady and ready. Move over Obama it is Joe Biden's time. Look at his record and you will know-HE IS THE TRUE BORN LEADER. If we want our country back Biden will do it right.

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Demigod Vadik, CA

    This is so reminiscent of something Putin (od Russia) would do...

    ...Putin finds long lost ship and treasure in the black sea...

    ...Putin does 1000 push-ups a day...

    ...be like Putin (picture of him shirtless hunting and fishing)...

    ...do you know why righties always accuse Democrats of being Marxists and Communists???!!!...

    ...because the righties embody and secretly embrace all those dictatorship qualities...

    September 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Political correctness

    It is NOT "Walking back". It is NOT "disingenuious". It is not "mis-remembered". It is what it is: a LIE, and shame on CNN for not calling it what it is.

    September 4, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. G Smith

    ...."Lying Ryan"....If he lies about things now...it's simple...where does it stop? ...it doesn't!

    This is not the first time he's been caught lying ...Ryan lies... Romney flip flops...Not a great combination to lead this country forward....

    September 4, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We can do this ALL DAY LONG from now until November 6th. Count me out.
    Ryan and Romney are blatantly lying. I can put up with a little bending of the truth but these two and their cohorts are out and out lying with the silent sanctioning of the press.

    September 4, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. SMDH

    Man, CNN is grasping

    September 4, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. UDidntBuildThat

    Kinda like the Sebilus sending out a memo telling states, "work requirement, shmork requirements, just give the darn welfare for free to everyone", then lie that that is not what happened. Read the memo for urselves and read the law. the Obama fact checkers lie as well. Fpr eg., 1st Dems say Mitt Romney did not give specifics about his plan to fix the economy, then in next breath state that economists say Mitt Romney's plan for the economy will add trillions of dollars to the deficit. so which is it? If Romney was not specific, how can anyone assess anything? Obama admin and their surrogates when put on the spot will lie to your face, make up facts and not even bat an eye. See doozies fr Wasserman-schultz, Obama, Cutter, Axelrod etc.

    September 4, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Rick

    If Paul Ryan can't even tell the truth about running a marathon, why would anyone trust him to be part of running this country

    September 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Gary Thompson

    I have run 4 marathons. A marathon is grueling, requiring months of training. All marathoners know their time to the minute. I could never forget mine and especially my best time (3:46). There is honor and respect among runners about times. Paul Ryan flat out lied about running a sub-3 maraton, and this was a PERSONAL lie, not just a political lie (which he is also good at). He "forgot"? What? Sorry, that does not fly.

    September 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. sharon

    Is he really being attacked for forgetting his running time for twenty years ago, or is the press simply attacking him for ANYTHING because the economy is struggling after nearly four years of Obama. Plenty of stories on the economy and the 'fiscal cliff' to discuss, or how about stories on the deficit and spending?

    September 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. DrPete

    If this guy is the avid athlete he says he is, there's absolutely no way he would be off by an hour-plus remembering his personal best marathon time. "two fifty-something" is an OK answer if you can't remember if you ran a 2:53 or 2:56, but there is no way an honest person who actually ran a marathon would just accidentally lop an hour off in their recollection of the event.

    If Ryan's memory is that bad, then maybe there's some medical reason he shouldn't be VP. Or he just likes to tell tall tales. Either way, a pattern is emerging that's not a good one.

    September 4, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Sashatree

    Lyin' Ryan. So what ELSE is new here? Ryan and Mitt and everyone else affiliated with the GOP have a stranglehold on the word MENDACITY! THEY'RE A BUNCH OF LYING LOWLIFES WHO DO NOT DESERVE TO HOLD ANY PUBLIC OFFICE!

    September 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I was a sprinter in high school.....it's rained, hailed, and tsunamied a lot since those days, but I STILL remember my best times in the 100 YARD, 220 and 440.
    Give it up Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Miguel

    This is a story, really, I cannot believe that this is a story, ok he make a mistake about a marathon, who cares, there is a president who used drugs, and nobody asks about this, but to run a marathon in three or four hours is important for people to asked, this is a great example of journalism today

    September 4, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Wrenn_NYC

    Well. Ev.... Romney did all that without taking a salary...

    See... I don't believe in altruism, much. It rarely exists. The cynic in me wonders... what did Mitt get out of it?

    September 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Daniel

    It just gives us an insight into his character.

    September 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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