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. cf

    Paul Ryan reminds me of Jon Lovitz' pathological liar character: 'I ran a marathon in...under 2 hours... yeah, that's the ticket!"

    September 4, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Jewels

    Suspect this may just be like other claims he gives. Oh, we'll help you out with Medicare - give or take a few bucks. thus, ending up with 5 $1.00 vouchers to make it seem like more...

    September 4, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Cindy

    “Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive” Would you buy a used car or insurance policy from this guy? Then why would you give him your social security or medicare?

    September 4, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Frank!


    Really, he keeps on lying and lying. Lyin' Ryan.

    September 4, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. cricket

    ryan is a wee bit full of himself! watch his body language. he seems to think he needs to strut his stuff. for example "i'm catholic and i hunt"! huh?

    September 4, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. RObert Craddick

    He should have 'run' for VP with Ronald Reagan... he would have been about the right age if he remembers like that.

    .I ran pikes peak marathon in 1989 and remember my ascent and down times- that was a long long time ago and I remember my minutes– If he can't remember such important details what will he forget as a VP?

    September 4, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. boocat

    make justifiable fun of Ryan, his lies and deceptions, or write him off completely; either way, I had a faint-hearted hope in Romney, but not any longer, with Ryan on that ticket.

    September 4, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Pete/Ark

    His etch-a-sketch is smaller than Mitts etch-a-sketch....so far.

    September 4, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Seriously


    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!

    Yes, seriously. If the Republicans are going to keep taking Barack Obama's words out of context and building an entire convention around a made-up theme and telling crowds that they are quoting Obama when they are actually quoting Obama quoting John McCain, then you will just have to suck it up and deal with it if your opponents take actual statements of your candidates and use them to prove that they are whining whiners and lying liars.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    Romney/Ryan Are So Last Century

    September 4, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Adam C

    The guy is not good for America, and should definitely not be in the White House. That said, I'm sure he accidentally did state the wrong time. No news here.

    September 4, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Lisa P

    AZ Editor

    We better recheck the Ryan budget figures!!!
    September 4, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm
    What do you mean, "recheck"? They weren't checked the first time! But then they didn't have to be - Ryan's budget was never anything but a rhetorical device for bashing the Democrats over the head because they aren't willing to throw granny (a.k.a. "the human shield" in Ryan-speak) off the cliff. Because they're "cowards" (more Ryan-speak), unlike "serious" "courageous" "intellectual" (favorite Ryan-speak words, but only when applied to himself) 14-year incumbent Rep. Paul Ryan. Of Janesville. Giving Wisconsin a bad reputation since 1998.

    Paul Ryan: part of the problem, not the solution

    September 4, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Paul

    Obama can walk on water!

    September 4, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. Jake

    Seriously? Who cares? To conquer the feat of running a marathon is an accomplishment to be applauded. The fact that Kathleen Sebelius decided to make this political, and attack his character over a race-time is beyond absurd. Not sure why this is even an article on CNN? Come on guys and gals, let's get real......

    September 4, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Pander Express

    So all of his other lies are the result of a couple weeks of time passed and a brain injury?

    September 4, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. ThinkTank2012

    This was suppose to be his record time in the marathon. How can he forget that? How can he misstate his time? I am a runner and I remember my best times in 5km, 8km and 10km with precision because it is such an accomplishment. Imagine this guy run 26.2miles and cannot remember his time? Just think about and you will know he lied about it.

    I write this because I hate liars!

    September 4, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. gdaym8

    He said that?! Well, that makes up my mind, I'm not voting for him. We can't have a politician out there lying or exaggerating now, can we?

    September 4, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Oglethorpe

    Mr Ryan's exaggeration of his Marathon time goes to his inability to tell the truth. Even more evident of his dishonest nature was the lame explanation. He was in his twenties and he had a back injury. It is the first time I have ever read that a back inury in your twenties could cause severe memory loss. If he has such a diminished capacity to recall things pehaps he should withdraw as the GOP's VP candidate. He lied many times in his convention speech also which I assume he will attribute to diminished memory.

    September 4, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Bob Archer

    Despite the excuses made for Ryan by his acolytes, it IS important that he lied about this. It's almost the equivalent of Obama claiming that he played in the NBA 22 years ago, in the sense that it is just so easy to check up on. How did Ryan think he could get away with a howler like that? (And forget his excuse that he hurt his back - and what of THAT? Does he think with his back? - which skewed his "perception" and made him think he "literally" had run that sub-3 hr. time. That's just stupid and is one of the most pathetic excuses for lying that I've ever read.) If he's going to lie about something like this just to try and prove he's a manly man, then there's no telling what whopper he'll come up with at any given time to "get his message across." And we've already seen it, haven't we? At the convention and on the campaign trail he has spewed out one lie after another about himself, about Obama, and about what he will actually do to the country given the chance. Romney ought to think long and hard about this choice, and whether it's worth carrying on with such a blatant liar as a running mate. But then again, who could he turn to as an alternate choice? Herman Cain? Rick Perry? Michelle Bachmann? Newt Gingrich? Romney and his people did everything he could to keep those sad sacks as far away from the GOP convention as possible, to prevent the embarrassment to himself of the public remembering that at one time or another he was polling behind every one of those hacks. No, he's stuck with Little Junior and his Lying Mouth. Good luck to ya, Mitt.

    September 4, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. socalpimp

    Who cares...5 trillion added under obama

    September 4, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. Catherine

    4hrs, 33 min.....4 hrs, 27 minutes. A marathoner NEVER forgets their finish time.

    September 4, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Darrell

    Just think what he might do as a VP in the white House, some would call that a double crosser, you actually want this type of person to represent us, I do not think so, if you lie once, you will lie again, President is doing just fine right now, it was Rommey,s party that got this in the first place, and they know that, they just want the power to unscrew the belt that is choking his coruption empire , we do not want to back peddle now and go back where we were, at least when Obama is smileing its real, Rommey has a knife behind his, I do not trust him or his gooney,s.

    September 4, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. mark z

    my last boston marathon was 26 yrs ago & i can still recall many highlights + the to the minute final time....3:24. Please america, don't trust this too full of himself liar with our fiscal health or will end up like Greece !

    September 4, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Time for Real Change!

    it's interesting how Democrats think that this is a huge deal when Obama is on the record with numerous lies.

    Mother denied health insurance. This was completely false.

    Obama bragged about Shovel-ready jobs: Obama later admitted “There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

    “We have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. … I don't take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won't find a job in my White House.”

    Obama pledged that transparency would be a top priority

    "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

    "I will not sign health insurance reform that adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade"

    Declared that the United States is producing more oil than ever before

    "My father served in World War II".

    "This bill does not have a single earmark in it" Wow, what a whopper of a lie...

    So Democrats, why don't you hold him accountable for these?

    September 4, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. dangr

    It's so unfair to all of a sudden start fact checking a guy like this! You guys are mean I tell you, unfair and mean! Leave Ryan alone! [does best impression of crying meme]

    September 4, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Keeping it Real


    4hrs, 33 min.....4 hrs, 27 minutes. A marathoner NEVER forgets their finish time.


    An American NEVER forgets how many states there are in the United States!

    September 4, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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