Having spent his life as a stalwart in the corrupt political machine that ruled Mexico for decades, Roberto Madrazo has never suffered from a reputation for honesty.
So it provoked laughter here when Madrazo, a former presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was disqualified this week for cheating in the Berlin Marathon.
Madrazo, who came in a distant third in last year’s presidential race, crossed the finish line in Berlin on Sept. 30 with a startling time of 2 hours 41 minutes 12 seconds, easily winning the men’s category for age 55. He grinned and pumped his fists in the air.
But a sports photographer, Victor Sailer, wondered why Madrazo was wearing a jacket, a cap and long tights on a day when most of the runners finished the race in sweat-soaked T-shirts and shorts. Sailer showed his photo to race officials and raised the possibility that Madrazo might have broken the rules.
On Monday, race officials said they had proof that Madrazo had taken a shortcut. An electronic tracking chip in one of his running shoes showed he had skipped two checkpoints and appeared to have run one nine-mile section faster than any human being on record, taking only 21 minutes.
“Not even the world record holder can go that fast,” the race director, Mark Milde, told The Associated Press. (The record for 15,000 meters, about 9.3 miles, is 41 minutes 29 seconds, set by Felix Limo of Kenya in November 2001.)
In June, Madrazo completed a marathon in San Diego in 3 hours 44 minutes 6 seconds, an hour slower than his Berlin time. On Tuesday, a phone call to his office was not answered, and a person at his house said he was not there.