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. kate

    This wasn't a "gaffe" – a mistake in words. This was an actual lie. Anyone who knows anything about running (and I only ran in college 25 years ago) knows anything close to a 2 hour marathon is pretty amazing. And he said "SUB" two hour – even if he was going to be doing some "rounding" it would be a "SUB" 5 hour marathon. I will give politicians a pass on gaffes. Sometimes they say things that just come out wrong or can be misinterpreted. And I'm not a fan of that or taking things out of context. But this was a lie – pure and simple. Taken with all his other lies that he later has to back-pedal or soft-pedal, he's coming across as a used car salesman and I don't like what I'm seeing under the hood.

    September 4, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Romney/Ryan Are So Last Century

    Oh, okay, Paul. You really are the "throwback" candidate. Hurting your back is a lame excuse for continuing to fabricate and embellish the truth. A guy that is supposed to be so smart (as they claim you are) surely would know what time he actually ran a marathon in. He also said he used to run marathons (more than one). When the facts were actually looked into, of course, Ryan had only run one marathon. How does a guy forget how many marathons he has run? It sounds to me like you are just a pathological liar. You want to impress somebody, Paul? Try telling the truth for a change.

    Another one of Paul Ryan's current lies is one he told yesterday to the people of North Carolina. It seems Paul has real trouble with numbers. I thought they said he was a whiz with numbers, but it turns out to be just another lie. You see, Paul was out yesterday doing a speech and telling everyone the numbers of bankruptcies and telling everyone that Carter and Obama are comparable and that Obama needs to be fired like Carter. Paul Ryan was just turning 11 years old when Jimmy Carter was leaving office. Come on Paul, tell us about the trying times of the Jimmy Carter years from your first-hand experience. What an idiot Paul Ryan is.

    The fact of the matter is that in 1980 under Jimmy Carter there were only 43,694 business that filed for bankruptcy, not the 330,000 Ryan has lied about. He seems to have combined the personal bankruptcies of 1980 which were 287,570 to inflate that figure to the lie he has just told America. Another lie, Paul? Why are we not surprised? Not surprisingly, Ryan also lied about the number of business bankruptcies last year. In 2011, there were 1,410,653 TOTAL bankruptcies. Of that number only 47,806 were business bankruptcies and 1,362,847 were non-business bankruptcies. So another lie from Paul Ryan.

    Now Paul Ryan wants us remove Jimmy Carter from office again and hire Ronald Reagan, and he’s trying to compare Obama to Carter and Romney to Reagan. Well now, Paul Ryan, let’s just see what happened under Reagan, shall we? I wonder if Paul Ryan is aware that in July 1982 under Reagan that unemployment was at 9.8 percent? Those are the facts. In fact, unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded.

    Now let’s talk Obama bankruptcies versus the Reagan/Bush years. It’s important to note that bankruptcies are down dramatically under President Obama compared to the Reagan/Bush years. Business bankruptcies hit a record 71,549 in 1991, when George H.W. Bush was president, second only to 1985, under Reagan, when 71,277 businesses filed.

    So when you use the actual numbers instead of the lies that Ryan is using to inflate them:

    Carter 1980: 43,694
    Reagan 1985: 71,277
    Bush 1991: 71,549
    Obama 2011: 47,806

    Thank you Paul Ryan. Based on the real numbers and the comparisons of bankruptcies of businesses, you have convinced me that going from the Democratic president to the Republican president would be a disaster of epic proportions for American businesses.

    Romney/Ryan are so last century.

    September 4, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. jmwh

    @give me a break: My high school mile time was 5:01. My first marathon time (1994) was 2:58:25. My second was 2:55:10. Every runner remembers these things. Ask anyone who's ever run a marathon what their first time was, they will remember to within a few minutes, many of them to the exact second. If Ryan thought he could have gotten away with claiming a purple heart I have not a doubt he would have. Just a lying poseur who's only adult job has been working in government telling the world that government is the enemy. No surprise he has to build himself up somehow, the inner tension must be excruciating.

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


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

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

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

    Embellishment, self-serving and insulting not only to the running community, but all Americans. It is a sneak peek into his character. He now says that was a long time ago and his back injury are the reasons for not remembering? Ask any sub 3 hour marathoner their exact time, 20 minutes or 20 years ago – they will state it proudly to the exact second most likely. He is a sham.

    September 4, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Here is another explanation: Paul Ryan is a compulsive liar and should get help. Fortunately for him it is covered by the exclusive health care plan members of Congress get, courtesy of the American taxpayer.

    September 4, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. richard

    Lyin Ryan is lying about his lie. If he'll lie about something as vain and stupid as this he'll lie about Medicare, Social Security and the budget. In fact, he already has.

    September 4, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Mark

    what Ryan lying, didn't see that coming..!

    September 4, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. kflanigan

    I cannot tell a lie I'm Superman in my spare time---Paul Ryan

    September 4, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. boocat

    Agnew, Quayle, Palin, Ryan...what a tremendous club to be a member of; of course, they all ran a marathon, stealing and lying along the route. I love the humorous, sarcastic comments on this issue... Ryan has become a joke, and many people are using their intelligent humor to combat his stupidity, haha.

    September 4, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. SomeNameHere

    Pants on fire.

    No mas pantelones!

    September 4, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. imvotingforobama

    Ryan is a LIAR!

    September 4, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Larry L


    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!
    Antbody who as completed a marathon remembers if they broke three hours. The fact-checkers showed most of his recent speech to be a purposeful distortion of the truth. He looks like a compulsive liar because he is a compulsive liar. Neo-cons like to revise reality – but independent voters expect their leaders to be better than that!

    September 4, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Credibility

    Ryan lying about his PR sadly appears he will lie about anything.

    September 4, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    @thetruth704 – this plate faced altar boy has lied about the Janesville plant, the budget which HE BLOCKED, he is distancing himself from akin and their coauthoring H.R.3 which is basically an anti women bill and, yes, lying about your marathon time IS LYING!
    It's like he can't help himself. He (and the twit) also lied about why they didn't mention Afghanistan in their speech. The bully bishop didn't have a lenghty discussion about Afghanistan during the Veteran's speech. He mentioned Afghanistan once in a sentence coupled with WMDs!
    These two and their cronies just can't keep their lies straight. Lying shows a lack of morals, character, ethics and it's one of the first things we learn as kids not to do.

    September 4, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. beerzie

    No one who has run a marathon forgets whether they ran a sub-3 hour. This guy's a lying jerk and a PHONY.

    September 4, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Rat Bazturd

    Ryan! You LIE!!!

    September 4, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Branden Davis

    Lyin' Ryan!

    September 4, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. Larry L

    Ryan's compulsive lying is shown when he tries to pretend he doesn't plan to kill Social Security. Make no mistake – Ryan would trash not only Social Security but he would kill Medicare as well. He is nothing more than a pawn for a few billionaires and doesn't give a cr@p about the working folks.

    September 4, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Running

    Who cares if he can't run marathons like he claims? Who cares if he made up a better time to his 1 marathon when he claims to be a marathon runner. I think that regardless of what he said, Paul Ryan has proven that he is good at running..................................................... his mouth.

    Obama/Biden 2012: Yes we are better off than 4 years ago. Let's move FORWARD into this century instead of trying to relive the past and remembering the numbers all wrong.

    Romney/Ryan Are So Last Century

    September 4, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Mark


    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!
    AwwwTruth, stop crying; you bashed Obama for ages and now it gets thrown back and you act like a little school girl – this is ELECTION prime time, Ryan is now fair game for anything. he messed up, period.

    September 4, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. AZ Editor

    OK, the guy is not good with numbers and will fabricate a story to make himself look good. Oh, by the way, Obama was not responsibe for the Janesville GM plant closure Paul!!!

    September 4, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Eric

    Ryan is fast and loose about anything which comes out of his mouth. While exaggeration and hyperbole is the order of the day with his own feats and hyped up "achievements", he dumbs down everything on the Obama and Democrats side with nothing but straight outright lies and lies again.
    He is a born liar, twisting and spinning facts on their heads and we are being asked to elect him one heart beat away from presidency... Are you GOP guys real? You gotta be kidding, really!

    We had one tricky Dick and all of the Nixon's lies which has sickened the whole nation for a few generations. We don't want another one to emulate him so very soon...

    September 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Ram

    He tells lies to impress people to me that is the republican party. There is Mitt making millions and does not tell how he made it, by ruining peoples life. Mitt makes money even when he shuts down factories. He would have shut down the big three a few year back and that would have cost thousands of jobs – if he cannot save jobs do you think he can make those millions of jobs he says he can create. Just like his partner the marathon runner he to is a lier.

    September 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. AZ Editor

    We better recheck the Ryan budget figures!!!

    September 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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