Runner’s World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations… But The Internet Isn’t Buying It

Not only will anti-cheating websites come after you, but the relentless running forums will, too — discovering issues with her 2016 Berlin Marathon result

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Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 1

Last week, Runner’s World editor Kate Carter was put in the hot seat after she was called out on anti-cheating obsessed site marathoninvestigation.com for accusations of result discrepancies from the London Landmarks Half Marathon and the prestigious TCS London Marathon.


What You Need To Know:

If you’re not up-to-date on the whole Kate Carter situation and the evidence against her, here’s what the sleuths over at Marathon Investigation had previously pieced together, before the latest revelations:

  • The Oxford educated, long-time running journalist is accused of faking multiple race results
  • Marathon Investigation was tipped off about a fishy performance at the London Landmarks Half Marathon. A missing 5K split from the race and a bit of quick math shows that Carter would have had to have throw down one heck of a 15-20K split to finish in the time she claims.
  • At the 2023 London Marathon, Carter missed the timing mat, and early race photos show her bib fully visible, compared to photos from later stages in the race, where her bib is folded, only revealing part of her number. A deeper dive revealed that she may not have been on course in certain portions of the marathon.
  • Suspicions emerged following the London Marathon when Carter claimed on Strava that her GPS died during the race. However, photos from late in the race and from the finish clearly show her watch face, which was certainly not dead.
  • Many in the running community are upset that a journalist working for a trusted media outlet like Runner’s World is perhaps willing to lie about personal race results, which challenges her professional integrity. Carter also worked for the Guardian for many years as a fitness and lifestyle editor. She also holds a Guinness World Record, which will surely now be under scrutiny.

For all the details, read our initial story on these first set of accusations here.


Questions about Her Berlin Marathon Performance

Now, a Facebook group is getting in on the action, scrutinizing the embattled editor’s 2016 Berlin Marathon results.

Speculation is rising that rather than actually jogging the rest of the course, she may have allegedly taken a shortcut to the finish to collect her medal.

Below is a screenshot of Carter’s Strava post from Berlin in 2016, along withthe official “finisher’s certificate” result from the race itself:

2016 Berlin Carter screenshot
Carter’s 2016 Berlin Marathon post on Strava
Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 2
A screenshot of Carter’s official Berlin Marathon results

[Editor’s Note: Carter’s Strava activity was removed AFTER Marathon Investigations made it public]

For a point of reference, here’s a map of the 2016 Berlin course:

Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 3

Berlin has nine timing mats (every 5K, plus the halfway point). As a comparison, below is an example of how the typical Berlin result would show:

Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 4

Carter only recorded a single split in the race, at the half marathon mark, before she crossed the finish line in 3:09:00.

In that race, Carter claims to have stopped her watch, but that she “jogged” the rest. She also says that her chip at the Berlin Marathon was also not working.

In in a comment below her Strava post from the race, a follower asked her why her watch data was missing a significant chunk of the race, which she attributed to a series of injuries and health issues on course, along with it “not being [her] day”:

Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 5
Photo Credit: Imgur

Intrepid anti-cheating watchdogs online also unearthed a series of Facebook posts from 2019, in which Carter ironically defends Marathon Investigation’s work outing cheaters in one thread. And in another she engages with a commenter who muses about how close the halfway mark is to mile 22 in the London Marathon, and how easy it would be to cheat.

Carter then goes into some revealing detail about how her watch allegedly failed, and that she had to “badger” the race organizers to get an official time, submitting “all the evidence [she] could muster.” She reveals that the organizers “accepted the time [she] told them without seemingly investigating at all.” She also suggests that the race photo supplier had sent her marketing emails to buy images of her “all over the sodding course.”

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Photo Credit: Imgur
Runner's World Editor Kate Carter Responds To Cheating Allegations... But The Internet Isn't Buying It 7
Photo Credit: Imgur

Carter Finally Speaks

As a result of Carter’s name becoming the buzz of the running world over the last week, she eventually spoke The Telegraph, saying that she “had never sought an official race time” because she wasn’t “in peak fitness.” But, to her own surprise, she “ran quicker than expected” and decided to boast about it on Strava.

Carter also claims trying to create a manual route of her entire marathon run was a “mistake.”

She then told the Telegraph:

“‘Soon after, I realized this was foolish and removed it from my feed. I also feel it is important to admit that part of this was about my ego. Even in the amateur running world, there is pressure to maintain form and time. My own desire to be seen to be doing well at a time when I was feeling weak and below par resulted in a momentary lapse of judgment which I very much regret.’” 

When asked about questions surrounding the London half-marathon performance, she said she had “very unfortunately and embarrassingly had wet myself and wanted, therefore, to step off the course to try and sort myself out” which she described as “something that happens to many runners.”

She continued addressing the half marathon result, seemingly admitting that she cut the course, and cheated, although without taking responsibility for this or admitting malintent:

“When I rejoined the race, it is possible that I did so at the wrong point on the course, though that was not my intention… I made some stupid mistakes in how I recorded my times on my personal Strava record… [I] was in no way trying to deceive the organizers of either event about my times.”

Runner’s World UK Releases a Statement

Runner’s World UK, Carter’s employer, also provided the Telegraph with a response, reserving judgement but implying that the organization will now be scrutinizing the editor’s behavior on course:

“We are aware of an online article regarding Kate Carter. At Runner’s World, we are committed to upholding the trust our audience and the running community has in our brand, and are investigating these claims internally.”

Runner’s World UK did not address whether or not it has any concerns about the veracity of Carter’s past reporting. It is unclear if The Guardian, Carter’s long-time employer (and the outlet where her husband is still an on-staff journalist) has been contacted for comment.

The Running Nerds Don’t Believe Carter

Despite Carter’s attempts at explaining what, in part, took place to produce such anomalous results, many runners aren’t buying it. The response on LetsRun.com’s message board, the sort of de facto town hall for the running nerd, don’t show any mercy.

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Photo Credit: The Telegraph

Here’s a sampling of some of the reaction to Carter’s results and the statements issued by her and her employers at RW:

“Why do they always double down with the lies. Her lame excuse is even worse! RunnersWorld needs to fire her. This woman has zero integrity.”

“Did she pee on her bib? why was it moved and manipulated? Why lie about the watch dying? Why did she go missing from race photos?”

“Its plausible she wet herself, i’ve done that before, but leaving the course to sort yourself out doesnt make sense, what are you going to do? Change into new clothes you found on a washing line in someone’s back garden.”

“And entering the course at a different point? Its not believable that she did that accidentally. Probably she knew she was cutting the course but justified it to herself because she had lost time finding a bathroom.”

It seems that if we’ve learned anything here, it’s that if you dine out on hot results on Strava, and position yourself as an influencer in the running community only to for it to be discovered that you’re potentially cooking your stats, not only will anti-cheating websites come after you, but that you’ll also have to deal with the ruthless running forums. And the Daily Mail.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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