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. The Real Tom Paine

    If you are a runner, you can remember when you scored a breakthrough time at a certain distance. I competed a lot in my teens and 20s, and I can still remember the best times I ran at every distance I competed at, from 400 meters to a 20K. Its not something you are fuzzy on. If someone is fuzzy on it, then they lied. End of story.

    September 4, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. rlj

    WOW! Didn't anybody know about his total disregard for the truth before he was picked to be VP nominee?

    September 4, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. urouttolunch

    @Jon and Give Me a Break. Everyone I know who has ever completed a marathon remembers their time. Twenty+ years later, they might not remember it down to the minute, but they would absolutely not miss it by an hour, and for sure not in the direction that changes their performance from okay to world class. Apparently Mr. Ryan brought up the subject, too, so one would have expected him to be prepared with some background (pardon the back reference – the whole back part of this thing is ridiculous). This guy is scary.

    September 4, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Josh

    I rode my bike 31 miles yesterday in 2 hours. Or was it 50 miles? Damn headache is stopping me from remembering it well!

    September 4, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. jfc1

    " The truth is that Ryan merely misremebered the exact details about an event that occurred 22 years ago which is perfectly understandable. How many of you remember your exact 1 mile time that everyone is required to run in high school?"

    dude you make it sound like it was just a casual event from his youth, like, you know, "running a mile in gym-class".

    A better question would be "how many of you remember your time in the marathon that you ran back in your hometown for a charity event, 22 years ago, that you then went on a radio station to brag about while campaigning for the Vice Presidency?" See how many yes replies you get to that one.

    September 4, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. pkMyt1

    Yup, just like he miss-stated the math in his budget proposal. So if he was of on his time by over 25% and his budget is off by 25% then .......

    September 4, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. eavesdrop

    Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are proven to be very evasive when it comes to the truth just a few days ago he was proven to lie about the GM closure but refused to retract . I supposed this must be very painful for all the Romney/ Ryan supporters.
    WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY BEEN LYING ABOUT?.................................

    September 4, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Smeagel4T

    Sheesh people, give lyin' Ryan a break. He's been lying so much it's difficult for him to keep track of when he doesn't need to lie. Lying is a psychological auto-response for him at this point.

    September 4, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Canuck

    "ok he make a mistake about a marathon, who cares"

    1. It was not a 'mistake' if you're interested enough to run a marathon of course you remember your time.

    2. You're right nobody cares how long it took him to run a marathon, but it's quite the insight into his character – which people do care about.

    September 4, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. incredulous

    He hurt his back and that impacted his memory? If he's that frail and incompetent he shouldn't be running for office. Of course being a pathological liar would/should also disqualify him.

    September 4, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. jfc1

    ...that's like claiming, on a radio-station, that you gave your wife of 22 years a 5-carat engagement ring when in reality it was only, like, 2 carats. "Oh but it was 22 years ago and my back has gotten hurt since and the pain medication altered my memory...

    September 4, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Christi

    How many marathons did he run? A marathon is an huge accomplishment I remember my time down to the second. I am sorry, he is either an exaggerator or liar. And since when did a back injury cause you to forget monumental experiences in your life?

    September 4, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. No Thanks

    What on earth does a back injury have to do with a lapse of memory? If he hadn't hurt his back, he probably would have run much faster, but he forgot that he hurt his back? Or did the forgotten back injury impair his memory? Or maybe the back injury affected his ability to tell the truth. Gosh, the posabilities are endless.

    September 4, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. GRAMS

    Republicans should not mind paying a little more taxes then the rest of us, to help put the ' Middle Class Back, because the ' Middle Class ' is how they got so rich in the first place.

    September 4, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. zwert23

    "this plant will be here for another 100 years" - Obama

    It wasn't.

    September 4, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |

    Is there anything that Mr. Ryan won't LIE about? It appears that telling lies is in his DNA.

    September 4, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Keep us all on our heels...

    Lyin Ryan... wow, has he ever been able to tell the whole truth. I am sure we will be told not to concentrate on the lying about the time, but to concentrate on the fact that he ran a marathon.

    September 4, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. lolo

    He will probably walk back dating a black woman in college also. @JCF1 if this was a big accomplishment for him to conquer he would remember the exact time. Quit making up excuses for him.

    September 4, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Vic or New York


    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a dramatic narrative that could upstage this week’s Democratic National Convention, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) gave reporters today a detailed account of the fateful day he killed Osama bin Laden.

    Mr. Ryan said that he was revealing his role as the triggerman who felled the Al Qaeda leader to “set the record straight,” explaining that he had remained silent about his mission until now, because “I don’t like to brag.”
    The Republican Vice-Presidential nominee painted a portrait of a Paul Ryan few know, a man who trained for missions with SEAL Team Six while somehow finding time to cut key provisions of Medicare.

    The Wisconsin Congressman said he was doing sit-ups in the House of Representatives cloakroom when he got the call to deploy for his mission to Abbottabad, and hours later found himself face to face with the world’s most wanted man.
    “Osama got one look at me and he ran like a bat out of hell,” he said. “It’s times like that that I’m glad I can run a hundred meters in 9.58 seconds.”

    As for the perfect shot between the eyes that nailed bin Laden, Mr. Ryan called it “just another day at the office.”
    “You don’t want to get too full of yourself because of a thing like this,” he said. “I had a job to do, and I did it. It was very satisfying to see all my SEAL training come together. And it was great practice for the day I got Qaddafi.”

    September 4, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Dave Jaipersaud

    Liars will always be liars. He lies about everything on the campaign trail. Do we want a liar to be a heartbeat away from becoming President? I think not.

    September 4, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Debby

    Oh so this is so silly but the crowd there looks more than the DNC will have.

    September 4, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. DickT

    I've run 16 marathons and I can tell you my best time to the second even though it was in 1984! You don't run one marathon in 4:01 and remember it as 2:50. Anyone who believes that story has never run a marathon. Disgusting! What else has he lied about!!

    September 4, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Bito

    What does a back injury has to do with memory? And considering the statement of under 3 hrs, no less in a GRANDMAS marathon, which would be a world record, goes to show his character as a lier, and that he exagerates events to show how he is superior to others. I remember when i was a kid an ran a 4 mile marathon, I finished 4th, everybody was congratulating me until I told them, only 4 of us finished the race, which means I was last. At least i finished the race, we were about 25 runners.

    September 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. dcase20

    The man embellishes the truth just like any good politician. So let's vote for more of the same. Maybe it'll be different this time. Hahahahahaha

    September 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. desmod

    Like Ryan, i used to be perfectly honest – until my back injury. Ever since then I've totally lost the ability to tell the truth.

    September 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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