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

    Ryans Hope?????????????

    September 4, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. byron

    disregarding the fact that you may like Ryan or not, how in the world is a back injury going to be the reason why you may forget things?

    September 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Dana

    So what was the time exactly?

    September 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. RGD

    Ryan's character is questionable if he have to make up stories like that. There were no less than five flat-out false statements in his speech at Republican national convention. A clinical term for such a person is "pathological liar" which is appropriate for him and unworthy choice for Vice President. GOP can do better than him.

    September 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    So, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, a man who is supposed to be a numbers guy and a fitness enthusiast, can recall an obscure detail in the tax code that helps to support his viewpoint, but yet cannot remember a life-changing event like a marathon personal best? This is not an ommission, this is an outright fabrication. EVERY marathoner I have ever met can remember their best time down to a tenth of a second because its something they are proud of. For some obscure reason, Ryan felt compelled to inflate his accomplishments in this area: the question is, why? I don't think he made an honest mistake repeatedly over 2 decades: he knew damn well what he did. Another example of the GOP playing fast and loose with the truth on something that shows their real character ( or lack therof). I can tell you this much: I can remember my personal bests from track and road racing, and I ran those times almost 3 decades ago. Actually, if had just admitted he ran an marathon in just under 4 hours, it would have fit into his Everyman narrative, but no, he could not do that.

    September 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Omar Little

    That explains a lot. Maybe Romney also has a bad back, and it was 20 years ago, which would explain why he can't get the facts quite right about Romneycare in Massachusetts.

    September 4, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. p

    There goes Ryan lyin' again.

    September 4, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Yonni

    Keep walking (running) back Ryan you have made several nonfactual statements most of your life but especially within the last two weeks. If you walk back for all of the lies you told, you might go back to the distance obscurity. Lucky for us, we might not hear your lies any more

    September 4, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. george

    Forget the time? Load of BS. My best time was was almost 30 years and 50 maratons ago and I remember my time to the second. Everyone that I know who ran one marathon remembers that time.

    September 4, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Rick CT

    OK, a marathon time is not something one should forget. I did a 2:59:03 in Montreal in 1981. I didn't have to look that up despite over 30 years having passed. Here are some other facts that are perhaps a bit more important. Unemployment is 8.3% today, it was 7.8% when Obama took office. The rise is unemployment is despite the drop in the labor force participation rate from 65.7% (a level that have been achieved or exceeded in each month going back to Bush 41) to 63.7%, the lowest level since the early 1980's. The drop in the labor force participation rate friom 65.7% did not start until July 2009. The growth in GDP during this recovery is less than half the rate from the last major recession in 1981-82.

    September 4, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Palin was ignorant but she wasn't a liar.....
    Actually she was both, but I see where you're going with this.

    September 4, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. RichardL

    What BS Ryan is. A distance runner especially one that has run and completed for time a marathon....never forgets their time. Also, sub-3 hour and sub-4 hour are milestones that one does not forget.

    September 4, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Jersey George

    Biden's truths and Ryan's lies will come out during their debate. Biden will have Lyin' Ryan back peddling all night.

    September 4, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Horus

    Ryan stretch the truth? You don't say. C'mon Ryan...back injury leads to memory lapse? Please. I've had both rotators reattached, knee surgery, and chronic lower back pain but I remember my fastest mile time from 40 years ago. I remember my max lifts during the weight training years. 'fess up. YOU LIED. Just like you lied or twisted many things you said in your convention speech.

    September 4, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Has Ryan ever been caught telling the TRUTH? Being a liar appears to be a requirement for the Romney ticket!

    September 4, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Now it's about integrity!

    He "mispoke"... What a pathetic example of a leader.

    September 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Da Marathon Man

    I remember my best 100 m dash, 400m and long jump results - from 35 years ago. Nothing to brag about, but those were MY personal bests. I don't want to remember my 1000m and 1500 m times, they were lousy. So I won't even go into details...hahaha

    September 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Independent_me

    Ryan is very comfortably lying...
    He has brazenly lied about Obama taking over $700mil out of Medicare when he darn well knows that Obama SAVED that amount for the program by cutting waste. He also lied about Obama taking the work requirement out of Welfare when Obama simply gave the states the right to modify the program PROVIDED they INCREASED the work for welfare requirements.

    For a Party that talk so much about Faith, God and all that – they seem to rely a lot on lying... I guess the Ten Commandments is so beyond last century that it doesn't matter anymore?

    September 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. L

    Since his back is hurt, does that also mean that he's hazy on budget numbers as well? Romney should have picked his brother as a "running"-mate.

    September 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Darron R. Brown MD

    No one ever "forgets" their own marathon times. Honesty appears to be an issue for this candidate, such as his story about President Obama and the GM plant that he won't admit is erroneous.

    September 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Samsdad

    Why is the even remotely newsworthy?! Please focus on issues!

    September 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Ambrose Smith

    I stubbed my toe last week. But I climbed Mount Everest in record time! (Sub 3 hours!)

    September 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Lyin Ryan should be an Olympian


    At least he's not fibbing about Fast and Furious.
    As has been pointed out before, when one starts a post with "at least" they have admitted guilt and defeat (you also did this with the birth certificate: proving that you subscribe to some wacky conspiracy junk). So now that we have you on record as being in agreement that Paulie Lyin is a habitual liar, why do you support a proven liar that has serious character flaws? Is it because his opponent at the top of the ticket has dark skin?

    September 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Ryan Prevaricates

    If Ryan had just apologized and said, "hey, I made a mistake and I flubbed the answer", nobody would care much, but as usual a member of the GOP has to have an excuse (My back hurts!). Nice coming from the "personal responsibility" camp. I had 2 babies, 28 and 23 years ago. I remember the exact time they were born and both their weights down to the ounce. My back also hurts but I don't use my back to remember stuff so I guess I am safe.

    September 4, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Paul

    No avid runner would "forget" their PR for a marathon!

    September 4, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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