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. Pete

    Remember not taking stimulus and then caught writting letters begging for it?Ryan giving a great speech but FOX republican stratigist saying it was full of lies and inuendoes,how's that for the alterboy,the Ayn Rand diciple that says one thing but believes another.Doesn't Ryan think he's going to be caught about his families struggles when there were none,his father a sucessfull millionaire construction company owner doing many government jobs.Ryan gonna be called out for using his fathers SocialSecurity survivor benefits to go to college when his father was a millionaire by then.His mother struggling when she has two residences,one in Wisconsin,one in Ft.Lauderdale Florida in a gated,secluded million dollar condo on the beach,that's struggling,tell me more facts,sarcastic aren't I!!

    September 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Stan

    ... and there's Romney that will not disprove that he hasn't paid any taxes in ten years. Republicans or Democrats... do you trust that these two are going to do what's best for YOU?

    September 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Tom Wilcox

    I ran 9 marathons after age 45 and believe me, you NEVER forget your marathon time. NEVER! And no, I never ran under 3 hours, but I did run Chicago under 4 hours. Nice try Mr. Ryan!

    September 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    misremembered, misspoke, sure is a whole lot of missing going on in politics today. These words didn't even EXIST when I was in school in the 70's.

    September 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. somebody

    Never in my life have I seen a presidential and vice presidential campaign so comfortable with blatant lies. It's sad and pathetic that people actually support these people.

    Mitt, release your tax returns.

    September 4, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Old-Skool Conservative

    I ran the Marine Corps Marathon twenty years ago and clocked 3:29:27. Marathoners don't forget their times - especially a phenomenal time like sub-3. The man is a conscious liar - and not too bright about it either. If you're going to lie about something like this, at least make it a lie that you can get away with. No one would question 3:30, but when you say sub-3, you're just inviting scrutiny. This is the kind of error in judgement that doomed McCain/Palin.

    September 4, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. UDidntBuildThat

    ooo watch out! this guy is scary. If he cannot remember specific details about his marathon race 23 yrs ago then what else doesn't remember? How long was his 1st party? His grades in kindergarten? You only do kindergarten once, so you must be able to remember your grades!! These guys are spooky boogie men! watch out!!

    September 4, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. cnnmembuh

    I've run several half marathons and have to look up my times to recall what they were. Big deal. If this is the worst they can sling at him, I think he's pretty bullet proof.

    September 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. LB

    Ryan is really a liar, that's the consensus I am getting from everyone. How could Romney have chosen a VP candidate and then let him lie so much. Whenever I read anything about Ryan now I just don't believe it. Once a liar always a liar, Romney should replace Ryan, no one will ever trust Ryan again and it's not going to help Romney to continue with Ryan as a VP. Ryan is going to lose this for Romney.

    September 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. No Thanks

    Wait, I think I've figured it out: Because he is a smart, well educated, good looking guy who really loves his mom, and he also suffered a back injury, he felt entitled to a one hour plus handicap which was deducted from his actual time. But all this happened so long ago, he forgot about this perfectly entitled handicap. So entitlement can sometimes be a good thing, huh.

    September 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Grady

    Ryan may not be the fastest marathon runner...but he can bend and distort the facts faster than a speeding bullet...

    September 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Milky Pirate

    I used to remember my marathon times, but I took an arrow in the knee and can't remember them anymore.

    September 4, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Orchid333

    Mmm...what? More lies from this guy? Stretching of the truth? Misrepresentation of the facts?

    September 4, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Tex71

    "Walked it back"...?
    HE MADE IT UP! Like so many other "facts" that stream from his unguarded lips!

    September 4, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. adam

    You know Ryan is lying when his lips move.

    Ryan is a traitor and his allegiance is towards Israel and Not USA.
    As soon as he joined the Romney ticket, he flew into vegas to pay homage and kowtow to the Casino baron Adelson at the Venetian and NO media was allowed.

    Adelson's promised funding of $100 Million to the Ryan/Romney campaign is to ensure USA fights a proxy war for Israel by going to War with IRAN. Adelson will also get immunity from prosecution for big time money laundering by a Ryan/Romney regime, just as he did with the Bush/Cheney admin.

    September 4, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. redhawk-jayhawk

    jfc-1 – you have obviously not run a marathon. This is not the "one mile run everybody was forced to do back in school." For Paul, who was my fraternity brother at the time, to run a 4 hour marathon, he had to do some serious training – he was not in that great of shape his sophomore year. If a first (and especially only) time marathoner did not break 4 hours, let alone 3, he knows it. I have run 40 marathons and can list my times within 5 minutes for every one of them. I did my first marathon when I was at Miami of Ohio (the year Ryan arrived on campus). I can still remember the time to the minute. Paul told a flat-out lie and he knew it.

    September 4, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. WhereIsPalin

    Get used to it. He'll be walking back a lot of things before the election.

    September 4, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. pants on fire

    How can we trust you with the big things, when you lie about the little things?

    September 4, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. George Beier

    "back-peddled"? Nice pun!

    September 4, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. UDidntBuildThat

    Just wondering...
    How is Ryan a millionaire if his tax return shows he made $300+k/per yr.
    If Ryan's mom lives in a million dollar condo, didnt she earn it when she started her own business at 50 yrs old?
    How would Obama's IRS allow Mittens to pay $0 in taxes according to the ever so truth telling Harry Reid?

    September 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. snowdogg

    OK, so he "mis-remembered" – is this really important?

    September 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. jfc1

    "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."

    That'st the part of it that really kills. Either he forgot how significant a sub 3-hour time would be all while bringing up the topic of a marathon completely unnecesarily, or he just got carried away with himself and lied about it and then realized he was in deep trouble when someone who was not a hardcore Republican pointed it out. I'm not sure which is worse. It wasn't like it was immediately pointed out, he immediately figured it out...it's just a mess on several levels. And you now have to wonder whenever he says anything, making any sort of claim...just how much is he lying about this?

    September 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Barry

    Wether you are Republican, or Democrat, I feel that YOU deserve to see HONESTY as the #1 attribute of the person who is asking for you'r support/vote! Ryan blames his 'mis-stated' time on 'the passage of time', and a 'back inhury'!
    ANYONE who has EVER competed in a marathon DOESN'T FORGET it! With all the access people have to records/history these days, only a fool would think his statement wouldn't be authenticated/challenhed by 'somebody'! To me, that shown the arrogance/stupidity of Ryan! Thinking he could 'throw out' a bold faced lie, and not be challenged! I guess it could make ya' wonder what else he has lied about! It also 'slams' Romney, 'cause he and the Republican party, SHOULD have verified/certified those 'claims'! Firstly you have the RNC throwing a 'hack' like Eatrwood at you, then you have the V/P candidate getting caught in a LIE! For Ryan to think his statements WOULD NOT be challenged, shows an incredible amount of stupidity, and a 'scary' lack of redpect for the system he is saying he wants ro protect! ANY MARATHON RUNNER DOESN'T MAKE A 1 HOUR 'MISTAKE'! It was a deliberate lie! I hope people hold him accountable for it!
    That says a LOT for Romney and his people who allowed this to happine!

    September 4, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Tim

    I've started and completed 17 marathons. Runners don't get confused this much about their times, particularly the difference between breaking four hours, which is common, and three hours which is very difficult. I'd give him a pass if I didn't hear so many inaccurate statements in his speech and others last week.

    September 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. LB

    Good point, I think it makes it essential that Romney now release his tax returns otherwise he seems really bad liike Ryan. I don't understand why he won't release them? Everyone imagines the absolute worst and thinks it's sneaky and dishonest, so at least release them and if it shows that he has paid no taxes for the last 10 years, that's what everyone thinks anyway.

    September 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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