In March, septuagenic distance runner Frank Meza joined Los Angeles Marathon in 2:53:10. It would be a record time for his age group, but it has only been removed from him after LA Marathon officials disqualified the result and decided that a particularly suspicious part of his alleged record-breaking was "an impossible feat during a marathon."  Immediately after Meza set his record in the spring, his result got some eyebrows in the running society. Sleuths at Marathon Investigation and the LetsRun.com forum picked their results and quickly noticed that something was wrong. For example, his marathon times improved rapidly through his 60s, from a 3:1
Meza was featured in Runner's World in 2014 to run the California International Marathon in 2:52:33, although CIM officials noted that Meza missed several timing mats and the divisions he recorded were quite suspicious. Meza was retrospectively disqualified from CIM in 2014 and 2016 and was then banned from the event. His 2:52:47 time at 2015 L.A. Marathon also suspected, and when officials said he was going to run with an official observer next year, he apparently decided to skip the race. As you can see, 5K splits between timing mats from the race all around.
Which brings us back to this year when Meza's age group record brought him new fame along with renewed suspicions. One of his 5K divisions would have been faster than the 5K world record for his age group, which is usually a sign that something is up. A LetsRun user found a picture of Meza who seemed to jump back on the track in front of the Grauman Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Marathon Investigation asked Meza about the strange picture, and he claimed that he was staring at a wall "maybe 20 meters from the street," asking Marathon Investigation to check Google's street view and discover that there was no such wall anywhere from the crowded head. street.
Marathon Investigation then pored over automatic camera photos from before the 25km timing mat, and they seemed to show Meza jump on the track shortly before the mat to register an official time. Meanwhile, Meza continued to claim that he was innocent and simply walked away from the course temporarily to use the bathroom. "I've done it several times," he told Canadian races. "I have realized my problem is that I do not properly hydrate. I have never cut the distance, but I have lost track."
Still asked questions. LetsRun user deadesq continued to fight through and flag suspicious images of Meza on various marathons, and L.A. Marathon organizer Conqur Endurance Group conducted its own investigation. When asked if he had an explanation for the odd 5K time, Meza said, "I don't know. I wish I did." Conqur announced the results of this study late last week, stating that Meza most likely had interrupted the course:
After a comprehensive review of original video evidence from official running cameras and security cameras at retail locations along the race course, the Conqur Endurance Group has determined that Dr. Frank Meza violated a number of race rules during the 2019 Skecher's Performance Los Angeles Marathon, including joining the course from a position other than where he left it. The video proof is confirmed by a credible eyewitness report and our calculation that Dr. Meza's actual maturity for at least one 5K course segment should have been faster than the current 70-74 age group 5K world record [an impossible feat during a marathon].
Meza told the Los Angeles Times that he plans to run 2020 LA Marathon with an official observer and show the world he can break three hours. LetsRun and Marathon Investigation can be done by digging through some of his old race results at the time of the race again.