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. Paul

    In 1994 I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 3 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds. That was the closest I ever got to breaking 3 hours. I have run 37 complete, 1 DNF and I can't tell you all of my times, but I can remember my PR. If you are a serious runner and you would have to be to run 3 hrs, you do not forget your best times, no matter how much your back hurts.

    September 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I know the guy is a first class liar but I'll give him a pass on this one simply because the economy and the progress of the country is alot more important than a marathon. Let's talk about defict and the eocnomy and Mir Robmoney's tax returns and less on marathons.

    September 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    GOOD GRIEF!!! I gave birth and don't remember the exact time or the baby's weight and length and THAT is a momentus occassion. I ran my one and only 1/2 marathon and don't recall the time. It is the EVENT that matters, not the details, which can be looked up later. Get over it, Democrats!

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

    To all my marathoners....You never forget your time!!! (maybe off by a few minutes)..but not 1 hour!! A sub 3 hours is a excellent. Lying Ryan strike again. A totally a disrepect to all of the runnings!! I have ran boston, and several other marathons 15 years ago and I still remember my time. This really show his character

    September 4, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Texan2

    If you can lie about something so trivial, what else will you lie about?????

    September 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Vote for Seamus, elect Kolob's next dog catcher

    TAX RETURNS, let's see the liars' TAX RETURNS.

    Must be hiding lies in those, could go to jail if caught. Keep them hidden.

    September 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. TJ

    At least Ryan ammended his lie. Not like obama who told many, many lies during the 2008 campaign and now refuses to address any of them. How about all the hope and change he touted. How about the transparancy his administration would have. How about cutting the deficit in half in his first 4 years(then he doubled it in that same 4). How about cutting out pork, then immediately passed the Porkulus bill right out of the gate? How about closing Gitmo? Not accepting public funds for campaigning? Cutting Unemployment? I guess you see real quickly that nobody can beat Obama in the lie department even if they tried. The great deciever in chief has Jimmy Carter very happy as he is now far from the worst president ever.

    September 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Tom

    Um, "back peddled"? Seriously? That's all I saw.

    September 4, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So people are surprised about Ryan trying to invent his own facts again? This guy wouldn't know the truth unless it stuck in his throat.

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

    cheney taught his party well-WMD,S in iraq and their going to use them on america

    September 4, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Doug Coleman

    "...I hurt my back when I was in my mid twenties, so obviously my perception of races and times were off."
    Obviously. Last time I hurt my back it completely erased my mind. Did a total reboot. Even erased thoughts I haven't even had so if I get caught fibbing (again) I can easily explain.
    Or maybe it was the pills Rush Limbaugh gave me.

    September 4, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Phil

    Ryan is supposed to be the numbers guy... NOT.

    He's more like...the fudge guy!

    September 4, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Jim (retired AF colonel)

    I ran my only marathon in 1987. To this day, I remember the exact time (4:53) and I believe any marathoner knows whether they ever came in under three hours or not. He's a liar, plain and simple.

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

    Today, Rmoney said that he ran a marathon under 2 hours but he wouldn't be releasing his record about it.

    September 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC


    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?
    Not remembering the first marathon that you ran as an adult is like not remembering your wedding night.

    September 4, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. snods-are-us

    People remember important things in their life. Like the first kiss, the first baby, the first car, the first time you held down a classmate and had someone cut their hair off, the first marathon time... ohh, but not the guys who want to steal your healthcare and social security!

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

    Anyone who has trained for and run a marathon knows that an honest mistake would be " about three hours" when it was actually 3:25. To offer "under three hours" when it was over 4 hours is a huge difference. No honest runner would make that mistake. Not a mistake. A lie. Under three hours is an elite time. Over 4 hours? Workmanlike.
    Like saying "cutting Medicare benefits over 700 million dollars" when it's actually
    reducing the rate of projected rise" and not cut at all.

    September 4, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Cant change the facts

    Republican doing what he does best. Exaggerate, Lie, then Walk it Back.

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

    "No one would question 3:30, but when you say sub-3, you're just inviting scrutiny."

    LOL 3:30 would mean times under 7:30/mile vs under 7'/mile. I'm sure a lot of people would question him either way.

    Dude the real problem is that it's a marathon. Its enough of an accomplishment to just finish it, not to mention to run at world-class speeds. Thousands of Americans run a marathon in their lifetime, some often more than one, many one each year. No matter what you run people are going to "question your veracity" if you claim a time much lower than your actual time.

    And if you get caught doing it and can't just come out and own up to getting it wrong...badly? That's just fuel for the fire.

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

    Yeah and the day after the marathon he ran a sub 4 minute mile. MAN he's good..............at making up stories.....
    Maybe he should stop running and start thinking about what he's say.

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

    I bet Kip Litton is a Tea Party Republican.
    Has the same approach to marathon times as Paul Ryan.
    Google him up!!

    September 4, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. mike

    back injury = forgotten marathon finishing time???? and interesting that he "forgot" it in a way to make it look like he was faster than he really was

    September 4, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. jfc1

    ...it's like saying that you got an "A" in Econ101 or BMGT101 or Accounting 101 or whatever, when you really got a "C". There's no way around it.

    It's classic resume-padding combined with the standard backtracking when you get caught in a lie. A big one.

    September 4, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. PS

    Paul Ryan may not have run a marathon in under 3 hours, but he did back peddle in record time. BTW what does a back injury have to do with forgetting your marathon time?

    September 4, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Richard

    Anonymous you get over it. We are not concerned if you don't remeber that info–my mother had four children and she remembered the smallest details. I know most people are not very quick on the uptake, its okay for you, not for a VP! Since it makes no difference to you the kind of liar this man is you must be a republican. Its called character which seems to elude Mr/s Romney and Ryan. Two peas in a pod who have been and wil be caught lying over and over again. That's all they can do, they have no plan other than giving more of the middle class money to the rich. Talk about distributing money from one class of people to another.

    September 4, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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