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. Anonymous


    Who cares...5 trillion added under obama

    Don't know much about the candidate you're voting for, do you? He's been in office 14 years. Has built up quite a record for himself. Voted for everyone of Bush's pet projects, thus helping to cause the crash of 2008.

    Good luck with Ryan. He's slick on the outside and sleazy on the inside.

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

    cf, did you see Ryan's interview the day after his speech when he was asked about the lies? He went on and on attacking Obama with more lies. There was absolutely no shame, no embarrassment in his reply despite getting caught red handed with some huge lies. The guy really is a pathological liar. Lying is not just a hobby or sport for Ryan, it comes like breathing to this guy. Even when it doesn't matter an ounce, the guy still has to lie because it's programmed into his brain at this point.

    September 4, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Beverly - NYC

    Good one, his back injury made him liar.

    September 4, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Seriously

    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......

    Seriously. Might I point out that this birther crap has been going on now for about 5 years. I guess if Romney is going to make "jokes" about President Obama's birth certificate and pander to the lowest element in the Republican party, then you'll just have to learn to endure it when people question the validity of your candidate. Yes, it's so lame to actually attack someone's character for something they said, but it is so classy, on the other hand, to question the legitimacy of President Obama to hold the office of the presidency and make jokes about his citizenship. If you're going to dish it out, man up and take it. You Republicans seem to be a particularly whiny bunch of whining whiners and lying liars.

    September 4, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Lying Ryan

    So Lying Ryan is at it again.. well at least he is consistent. What did he say at the GOP convention that was true???
    Ok.. somebody??? You know how you can tell he is lying... when his mouth moves... Definitely not trustworthy.

    September 4, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Lying Ryan

    Yep, he Lies like a rug!

    September 4, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. jdoe

    OK, he can claim that he forgot his time, fine. But how does a bad back cause him to forget his time? Sounds like a lie to cover up another lie.

    September 4, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Thomas E. Shafovaloff

    So how many people are going to read the "take back"?

    September 4, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. MBSeattle

    Ryan was talking about running his mouth not a race.

    September 4, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. nintex

    Seems like his running mate Romney's ability to lie is rubbing off on Ryan. You know, "lying for the Lord" – that just makes me sick! I wanted Mormons to be more Christ-like than that. I no longer respect them as anything but a man-made cult that has some extremely weird and icky beliefs that have nothing to do with the Christianity that I know.

    September 4, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Adam Clement

    I don't care what party Paul Ryan is from or what his budget plan states; to lie about, or mistate a maratthon time is total nonsense! I ran 12 marathons between the ages of 31 and 42, and can tell you that nobody forgets their best time. I am 53 years old now, and can vividly remember the hard work, pain, and sense of accomplishment associated with marathoning. I will also never forget the range of times that I had - 3:33 to 4:08. No real athelete, especially one that brags about hard work, would mis-state his/her marathon time. It reminds me of men who fabricate or embellish war experiences. Also, what is with Ryan blaming the mis-statement on his memory? The guy is only 42 years old. How pathetic!

    September 4, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Mom of Two

    As one who participated in sprint triathlons, fun runs, bike/runs etc; you don't "just forget" if you ran and elite pace! Paul Ryan is too used to playing fast and loose with the facts like he did in his convention speech last week and his appearance on GMA this morning.

    September 4, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Patriot

    You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
    Lincoln, Abraham

    September 4, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Romney and Ryan. Remind me again: which is the psychopathic liar and which is the compulsive liar? It gets confusing.

    September 4, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. iTexan

    When you lie so much, it's hard to tell where the lies end and the truth (if any) begins. Ryan became a politician very young (and he is a pretty good one) that lying just comes naturally. If you will notice, he intensely looks people in the eye with a glare when he's lying to them. It's creepy, really.

    September 4, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Just one more of his lies

    September 4, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Lyin Ryan

    I once beat Usain Bolt in the 100m to win a gold medal at the Olympics. And then I woke up and fell out of bed and hurt my back.

    September 4, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Jello

    So, now there's Romney the secret man and Pinocchio Paul - yes, this combo has the signs of leaders to be trusted.

    September 4, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. Time for Real Change!



    Who cares...5 trillion added under obama

    Don't know much about the candidate you're voting for, do you? He's been in office 14 years. Has built up quite a record for himself. Voted for everyone of Bush's pet projects, thus helping to cause the crash of 2008.

    Good luck with Ryan. He's slick on the outside and sleazy on the inside.

    Deficit under Bush for 8 year in office, $4.89 trillion. .6 trillion / year.
    Deficit under Obama for 3.58 years in office, $4.93 trillion. 1.37 trillion / year

    I think I'll go for the other policy and save several trillion dollars, thanks!

    September 4, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. john willow

    RE Keeping it real

    Exactly. I'm a runner. NOBODY forgets their race times, especially for a marathon. To be off by an hour is beyond laughable. Ryan is so pathological he doesn't even know when he's making things up.

    September 4, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    The guy has shown in a short time he is willing to say and do whatever he thinks it advances his interests. Ryan is a pathologycal liar.


    September 4, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. Lizzy10

    Just one more "exaggeration" or made up fact by Rep. Ryan? Normally I would care less about this nonsense, but it seems that all these things add up, they speak to character.

    September 4, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. lizzyrn

    The guy needs to find something he can speak about without fudging facts.

    September 4, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Lar 5

    Ryan lied again today:

    Paul Ryan says 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy in 2011 under Obama, actually the number is 47,806 – Trip Gabriel at The New York Times ”The Caucus” blog:

    Mr. Ryan also cited bankruptcy numbers to make the point that failing businesses mean fewer jobs. “In 1980 under Jimmy Carter, 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy,” he said. “Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy.”

    But he appeared to conflate business bankruptcies and much more numerous personal bankruptcies. Of the 331,264 bankruptcies in 1980, only 43,694 were for businesses, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

    Of the 1,410,653 total bankruptcy filings last year, 47,806 were business bankruptcies, according to the institute. And, again, the numbers are falling. In 2009, there were 60,837 business bankruptcies. In July, the latest month with complete statistics, business bankruptcies were 22 percent lower than a year earlier , and personal bankruptcies were down 11 percent.

    September 4, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Shannon

    He's also saying that he never said the President was responsible for the GM plant closing in Janesville. If this man's lips are moving he's lying. What kind of person supports a man who lies this much....

    September 4, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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