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. deman

    He also invented the internet, swam the Atlantic, wrote the Bible, speaks 7 languages-and their sub-dialects; leaps tall buildings with a single bound, and has a ten foot slung.

    September 4, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Kurt

    As someone who is an avid runner in a sport where we help one another and are all really competing with ourselves, I find it a real character flaw when an individual lies about their personal bests. To blame it on a back injury or years gone by is taking the cowards way out. Admit it, Ryan, "your ego was writing checks your body couldn't cash." If you'd lie about that, what else would you lie about? You obviously have no idea what running the marathon is all about.

    September 4, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. mmmmmmm...yeah, ok

    @ Ev...you ARE just joking right??? right....???? Did you just arrive from Kolob?? Because EVERYTHING you said sounds like something from someone who just arrived on planet earth.

    September 4, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. CC31

    Both Ryan and Romney are liars and can't be trusted.

    September 4, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. arthur sanchez

    hey anyone who runs or has attempted a marathon knows what a sub-3 hour marathon means, and I can tell you that you never forget whether or not you met that goal no matter how long it has been and a "back pain" would only remind you of the pain in not breaking the goal!

    September 4, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Ericaul

    Do you mean LYIN RYAN?

    September 4, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Vincent

    Oh wow!! Im so shocked and surprised that a politician would exaggerate, or even lie, about something :O

    Anyone who instinctively believes everything any politician claims needs their head examined.

    September 4, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Reggiedw

    Look at what petty nonsense is being discussed here. What about Obama and his $16 trillion debt? What about his 8.3% unemployment which is actually closer to 23%? What about the homes that have been foreclosed on? These are important things to discuss but here we have the liberals/democrats chatting a whole lot of crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is because they do not want to discuss Obama's failed policies!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. hannah

    His family business was begun with government contracts.And the Ryans made a lot of money; he is rich. And now he wants to get rid of all government. He also took social security benefits when his dad died and used them for college, even though his family had the money to send him and now he doesn't want you and me to have social security.

    September 4, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. ChristopherM

    This just illustrates that his pathological need to lie is not limited to politics, but apparently his entire life as well. I'd trust him as far as I could throw him, which I assure you isn't far as I couldn't run a marathon in under 3 days, much less 3 hours.

    September 4, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. GodfatherofSoul

    Im a Dem and i'll give him a pass. It was a long time ago (but I still remember my 1.5 mile time). His explanation is an eye-roller though.

    September 4, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Reggiedw

    Correcting error: 23% should be 23 million people unemployed, underemployed and stop looking for work.

    September 4, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. tundrayeti

    It's really quite sad. Compulsive lying is as difficult for a person to break out of as compulsive eating... Ryan simply cannot tell the truth no matter what the actual truth reflects.

    In this instance, telling the interviewer that he is an avid work-out enthusiast, has run ONE marathon, and now only runs 10K's because his body isn't up to running marathons... That would have endeared him to both the fitness community and made him seem more approachable from the couch crowd... But good politics or not, Ryan simply could not say something that was not a self-inflating lie.

    It's truly sad.

    September 4, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Lyan Ryan and Mormon White Horse Prophesy Romney are NOT to be trusted with this great nation.

    Do not believe a word they say - they will change IF they get power. Dot not TrUST them - they both lie and deceive daily.

    September 4, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Jim

    In Kansas, we know all we want to know about Kathleen Sebelius. She ran as a conservative Democrat to win the Governors Mansion, then governed as a left wing liberal.

    September 4, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. phyllis

    This kind of lying is only the start of lying, if these two liars, and panders, get into the White House..........

    So People listen to what these republicans, are saying, then fact check it really good, because you can't believe a word, they say..........Obama Biden 2012...........peace out..........

    September 4, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Lasz

    If he can lie about a marathon he knows nothing of the investment and commitment a runner makes – to self. If he can lie on this – you can trust him on NOTHING.

    September 4, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Tonyl

    The man is a liar and exaggerator on all issues. He blamed Obama for not enacting the Bowles-Simpson in his speech but he himself was a key vote against it but did not mentioned in his speech. A serial liar. Romney and Ryan a perfect match made for each other. The would be the perfect presidents for Cayman Islands and China.

    September 4, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Mama for Obama

    You mean Ryan lied about something???? The REAL question is whether or not he has actually told the truth about ANYTHING. Talk about LACK of character. I'm still waiting for Mitt to release his tax records. Ryan and Mittons are a couple of used car salesmen.

    September 4, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Mac

    If this is the best the left can come back on Paul Ryan I feel pretty good for him. While I am not an avid runner, the whole notion of " if he mispoke about his time from a race 20 years ago" , what else would he lie about is simply nonsense. I took my own poll among runners about this topic and the overwhelming response was the same. Yawn.

    September 4, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Tonyl

    Ryan believes he is the new blue eyed Jesus for the 2012. He will convert Romney the Mormon boss in to a real neo Christian. Get ready to buy snake oil.

    September 4, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. vince

    i have finished 3 marathons , the only thing I concede to mr Ryan is he has a much more accomplished life of achievement than this writer, that being said , I could live to be 700 years old and not forget my Marathon times , they stay with you and will not fade away from emeory in 20 years , oh and i thank Ryan , I get to comment and write 2 hours 35 minutes and 59 seconds ! my best and my slowest Mr Ryan 3 hours 1 minute , take that !

    September 4, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Discernment


    It is very pathetic for a man who is hoping to be VPOTUS and only a heartbeat from "Commander-in-Chief", would intentionally over such minor issue. RYAN DID NOT HAVE TO LIE ABOUT A STUPID MARATHON!

    From where I sit, Ryan's character is soiled and his credibility is shattered because he has told so many lies during and since his acceptance speech.

    September 4, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Tonyl

    Vote for Romney/Ryan and re-elect Bush/Cheney for another economic crash to finish off this nation's future of what remains.

    September 4, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. TheTruth704

    Seriously?!? This is news?!? Now because he got a time wrong on completing a marathon YEARS ago, he's a compulsive liar?!? Get real people!

    September 4, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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