Ryan walks back exaggerated marathon time
September 4th, 2012
01:08 PM ET
10 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. moakley

    Gordyb is right. I know my best 5K and 10K times. And the 10K time was 15 years ago.

    September 4, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. moose

    Oh god here we go straight from reagan era I forgot I just don't remeber I think anyone that runs a marathon would remeber it is a great feat and I respect him for it but come on that number if you are proud of it should stick with you

    September 4, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Marc S

    Once again, lie enough times and you begin to believe yourself... Anyone who is serious enough to even attempt to run a marathon understands the distinction between 3 and 4 hours. Anything under 3 hours (especially 22 years ago) is a world class time. He lied about the time, just like everything else because his campaign won't subject itself to fact checks and truth. If the President said he once beat Michael Jordan playing basketball, how fast would Republican pundits question his integrity? How do these guys keep getting away with this stuff?

    September 4, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. ray

    this moron lies witout any guilt. these people on the right will lie for any and everything and the morons at cnn and the right wing net works let them gets away with it

    September 4, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. B.

    You want to see misstatements, take a look at his real -voting record and compare with what he is saying now..

    He and Romney are the flipflop twins ! False Conservatives.

    September 4, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. William Carter

    He is absolutely lying. I am an avid marathon runner. I have run over 30 marathons and can tell you to the second that my best time is 2:58:20 and it was a few years ago. You just don't forget that sort of thing and I don't believe for one second that he did either.

    September 4, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. beevee

    Is this guy a pathological liar? He may thinking it as an exaggerated statement, but it is a lie to impress the voters. What else will they do to cheat voters if they are elected. I know, they show the middle class and the poor empty promises, send jobs overseas and make their rich friends richer.

    September 4, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. M

    Now is Ryan to also "walk back" his false claim on his ?budget? proposals? His credo seems to be "Spend less, but borrow (national debt!) more!"

    September 4, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. buck cameron

    How to "walk back" a lie? Tell more lies, doh.

    September 4, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. ChiTownArt

    No baby, I can pretty much remember everything I did 22 years ago, except what I ate on a given day. Unless Ryan ran 365 marathons this year, it should be no surprise he doesn't know who Ayn Rand is, if he accepted stimulus money, or that there is no distinction in rape though he co-authored legislation with Akin of Missouri. It simply has to be hatred for Obama if Republicans and those that lean Republican remotely believe anything Romney or Ryan says.

    September 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Dan Cline

    Wow, Paul Ryan, his high school's Most Likely To Brown Nose, stretches the truth....what a shock.

    September 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Kenneth Janowski

    I ran the LA Maraton in 1987 and 1988. My time in 1987 was 4:23 and 4:18 in 1988. My God, you don't just forget things like that and I'm 76 years old.

    September 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Reggiedw

    Obama had lots of things about him that we do not know. I am sure if we knew them, people would not vote for him. So what if Ryan made a mistake in his marathon time....does CNN do not have anything else more important to report?

    September 4, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. joshua

    I guess a lie would be telling everyone you were born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia for 11 years while you try and peddle your book, but when it becomes inconvenent to be president, you forge a birth certificate. I guess what Ryan did is sorta like that.

    September 4, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. PikeRover

    Every person I know who has ever done any serious running knows their best time for a particular distance, where it was run, the weather that day, the shoes they were wearing and where the went to celebrate afterward. No Mr Ryan, you tried to pump up your time and got caught.

    September 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Kweso

    Tell me more of those Ryan lies to make me think about the truth.

    September 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Searcher

    I know my 10K times from 25 years ago ( a little over 50 minutes). These guys just hate to be caught in lies. Maybe they should just tell the TRUTH. It's easier to remember.....

    September 4, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Independent, in Texas

    Hmmmmmmmmmm......could this be the first of many falsehoods?

    September 4, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. johnmenacherjr

    Why would this surprise anyone who has watched Ryan. Just remember he's an outsider in Washington to after he's only been there since 1998 , Newcomer ya ok – just saying...

    September 4, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. mabear87

    I am 66 and I remember my 5K, 10K and half marathon times within a minute from races I ran between the ages of 27 and 62. How can a supposed budget/math wizard not know his times and miss by such an extreme exaggeration. Just say he lied, the same as his comment about the Janesville plant that Bush contributed to closing. How can anyone vote for either of these two people who offer no details of their programs, support the rich, and just lie, lie lie. Pretty sad to be a Republican unless you make one million per year.

    September 4, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. bricotrout

    of all the numbers and stories he made up during his convention speech, THIS is the one he is willing to admit is a fib??? keep going ryan, any OTHERS you want to walk back now?

    September 4, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. realitybites

    Lyin Ryan

    September 4, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Eric

    It's not even close. RRR beats BHO & Crazy Uncle Joe in physical fitness– and fitness for office.

    September 4, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Walter

    For god's sake, who cares! Americans have lost more of their income during the "Obama recovery" than we did during the "Bush Recession"! Quit trying to protect your beloved Obama and point out facts people are truly interested in.

    September 4, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Still waiting....

    And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the reason why we, the American People, need to see Romney's tax returns. It's called verifying the patriotism, honesty, and character of our candidates. If one can lie/ exagerate about something so simple, what else would they be willing to cover up?

    September 4, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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