VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A runner who took 2nd place in the Appletree Half Marathon was disqualified after organizers said she cheated by riding a bicycle.
Video released by organizers of the race shows Emily Clark crossing the finish line on September 15. But race officials said other runners didn’t see her running with the leaders.
Organizers said Clark admitted biking the majority of the race and sent a statement to KOIN 6 News. (That full statement is below.)
Clark admitted cheating in 4 other races — and has since been disqualified in the Eugene Marathon and the Chicago Marathon.
Clark has not returned KOIN 6 News’ calls for comment.
Statement from WHY Racing Events:
“On Sunday September 15th, Emily was registered to race our Half Marathon event and she crossed the finish line as the 2nd place overall woman. The results were contested by some of the other leaders who claim Emily was not part of the leading group so we initiated an investigation. We have multiple witnesses and have now confirmed that Emily rode her bike to cross over the furthest timing mat and then disposed of her bike at some point to be able to run across the finish line in second place. Our course photographers also capture athletes in the order of their placement on course and she is not in the photos running where she should be providing further evidence. We also confirmed that she has been disqualified due to suspicious results at other events including the Eugene Marathon and Chicago Marathon.
We disqualified Emily’s results and updated the standings to indicate the correct order of overall female athletes as follows:
1st Overall – Liz Anjos, Age 34, Overall time 1:24:50 (6:29 pace) NEW COURSE RECORD
2nd Overall – Cheyenne Watts, Age 24, Overall time 1:30:36 (6:55 pace)
3rd Overall – Gabriela Gadeva, Age 33, Overall time 1:35:15 (7:16 pace)
Masters – Allison Waite, Age 42, Overall time 1:47:00 (8:10 pace)
Once presented with the evidence, Emily confessed and prepared a public statement and apology and provided permission for us to post. In her confession letter below, she reports that this has happened at multiple events for many years. In the letter, she explains how and why she has cheated.
As a race organization, we have an obligation to protect the integrity of results and our athletes who complete the race fairly. She has a pattern of doing this and it has affected others’ podium placements. It is clear that past disqualifications have not prevented her from continuing this behavior. We also have an obligation to other races and race directors to assure she doesn’t continue to do this at their upcoming race and negatively affect the results of their athletes who finish the race fairly.
We have compassion for Emily and are saddened that she has felt the need to do these things. Our hope is that the running community in the Portland area embrace and befriend Emily and pour love and compassion towards her and show her that she can feel that sense of belonging, validation and self-worth without having to lie and cheat to get it. The running community is extremely welcoming…whether you are first or last or somewhere in between…you can find your place.
Let’s not shun Emily but instead understand what may cause someone to do this. Emily is not alone in her actions – It happens more often than we would want to believe. Emily’s story can provide some insight into the mindset of someone who justifies cheating to gain a sense of accomplishment. Our hope is that good comes of this and by finally taking responsibility for her actions, Emily has the chance to heal and come out stronger on the other side. I am personally proud of Emily that she made the decision to confess and apologize. That alone takes a huge amount of strength and courage. When she is ready, she will be welcomed back at a WHY Racing Event and we will celebrate her authentic accomplishment.
Sherri McMillan and WHY Racing Events”