Skip to comments.Rosie's Run (Rosie Ruiz of Boston Marathon Infamy)
Posted on 04/21/2014 11:22:12 AM PDT by SamAdams76
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally ran in The Eagle-Tribune on April 16, 2000, 20 years after Rosie Ruiz "won" the Boston Marathon. Ruiz, who married and changed her name to Rosie Vivas, spoke exclusively to The Eagle-Tribune a few weeks before the 2000 race. Since the story first ran, former race director Will Cloney has passed away. Ruiz is believed to be living in South Florida and has not run a race since her "victory.''
The voice is very pleasant and professional. It is also unmistakable.
"This is Rosie Vivas, may I help you?"
Then she realizes the caller who reached her at her office in south Florida knows who she really is.
"You've got the wrong person," and the receiver slams down.
No, it really is Rosie. Rosie Ruiz. Our Rosie Ruiz.
Twenty years ago this week, she came out of nowhere to win the Boston Marathon.
Minutes after she was crowned with the winner's laurel wreath, it was clear she really had come out of nowhere.
Men's winner Bill Rodgers asked, "What were your splits?" Ruiz answered, "What are splits?"
Within a week, her title was gone.
"I ran the race," she said in 1980.
"I ran the race," she says now, before cutting short another call to her office.
Rosie M. Vivas she married in 1984, divorced in 1986 but kept her ex-husband's name is still running these days. Running away from the fame, or infamy, she won as Rosie Ruiz.
By most accounts, she actually ran only about a mile of the 26.2-mile course back on April 21, 1980, jumping into the race somewhere between Kenmore Square and Mass. Ave. But no marathoner left a more indelible mark.
"Rosie Ruiz is the most famous runner of all-time," says four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers. "Really, to the general public and the media, everybody knows about Rosie Ruiz. I think it's kind of funny, to be honest."
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As this is Boston Marathon day (a big deal in the Boston area) and the city is pretty much shut down, or rather locked-down, I am faced with a slow day at work. So I figured I'd take a trip down memory lane.
1980 was the year I graduated high school and joined the Marine Corps. It was alway the year we elected Ronald Reagan president and the year the U.S. Olympic Hockey team beat the Russians. So it was a milestone year in my life. But for a few days in April (just before Jimmy Carter's hostage rescue mission ended in disaster), we have a few days of levity with Miss Rosie Ruiz taking the subway to the finish line at the Boston Marathon and initially GETTING CREDIT for the women's victory!
The funniest part of all is that she obviously had no intention of cheating her way to first place, she just wanted to get credit for finishing the race. But because she is such a screw-up, she bolted into the race well ahead of the women's leader and ended up setting a course record. Hilarity ensues as she tries to explain to incredulous reporters how she did it. For instance, one reporter in this video asks her about her interval training and her response is "Interval training? I don't even know what that is."
Her stories quickly unraveled and she was exposed a day or two later as a fraud, but it's amazing to look back on a time when it was actually possible to hop on a subway, jump into the race during a world-class marathon near the finish line, and get crowned as the winner!
I feel bad for the woman who did actually win that race and set a legitimate course record in the process. I have no idea what her name is though even though I looked it up on Google 15 minutes ago. I forgot it already! But we'll never forget crazy Rosie Ruiz.
today there are tracking chips on shoes or bibs with random pass through points in addition to significant race points (5k, 10k 13.1 etc)
How many here have actually finished a full marathon. (how many realize WHY it is called a marathon)
In the Marine Corps, I ran “half-marathons” from time to time. I considered myself in good shape but those 13 miles kicked my butt. Can’t even imagine going twice that far. I have respect for anybody that can run 26 miles without stopping.
The only Marathons I marched/ran were in the Corps, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once.
I had forgotten about Rosie Ruiz until you reminded me of her.
she also won the NY marathon the same way.
how many have run a marathon marathon?
I am 66 years old. Back in the early days of running, before it became a popular sport (between the late 60’s and late 70’s), I ran 12 marathon races in my “yut” and finished all of them between 3hrs 20 min and 3 hrs 45 min. Not fast but respectable for an average guy. My goal was to always finish, anywhere between first and last place. That gave me plenty of flexibility to achieve my not-so-lofty goals. My first marathon was in eastern New Mexico in Portales with 4 inches of snow on the ground and 32 degrees with a brisk wind. Of the only 24 runners in that race, I finished 8th, my highest finish ever. I also raced in over 35 10K races and 8 half marathon races.
I must say that running those 12 marathons was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. For one thing, you can’t train to run marathons by sitting in your easy chair. You had to get out and run long hours and miles to get in shape and to prepare your body and mind for what was to come. I ran every single day of the week, even when on vacations, between 6 to 10 miles a day. When in training for a marathon, I would run several 12 and 15 mile training runs leading up to race day. Many a race was completed by my mind and not the physical. Towards the end, in the last few miles, when your body runs out of fuel, you’re running on mind over matter to the finish line. You have to train your mind to run through the pain you are experiencing. More than a few of the 26+ miles races, I would have the finish line in sight and think to myself, “so close and yet so far”. It was a real chore to finish several of them without just stopping and sitting down on the side of the road. But I never did. I literally had to will my mind to continue, when my body was screaming at me to stop.
When I would cross the finish line, my body hurt so bad and yet I felt so good that I had finished, that my emotions would well up inside me and a huge lump would form in my throat and I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Mostly I would break down into tears. Mostly tears of joy for having accomplished so much but a lot of tears for the aches my legs and body felt when it was all over. I learned that the best medicine for recovery was to take one day of rest and then get back up on the horse again and run the aching and stiffness out by starting my daily runs again. Twice, because of new shoes (dumb thing to do) I got blisters so bad I couldn’t wear my regular shoes or walk for a week without crutches.
Some people would say I was crazy for running those long distances but I adamantly disagree. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life but also the most satisfying. It built character, discipline and toughness into me that I never lost and has benefited me in my life since then. I always figured that if I could finish a marathon, let alone 12 of them, that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to do. I don’t regret any of the hours and miles I put into staying fit and keeping my head screwed on straight. I loved it for over 45 years but am down to walking briskly for 45 minutes a day now and still enjoy it.
Why we watch the Ironman race here every year. What those people do is beyond belief.
I always hated running. "If it does not injure you, it will bore you to death".
Biking was fun though, but that ride up to Hawi and back is still insane, with the marathon to come right after.
Been there, done that, 8 times. 2:48:45 personal best. The marathon commemorates the messenger Pheidippides running 26 miles from the battle site on the plains of Marathon, Greece to Athens with the news of the Athenian victory. Then he dropped dead.
Not that I participated! Hell no, I was a spectator and the most exercise I did that day was lifting glasses of Mai Tai. Those athletes did know how to party though. Ali'i Drive in Kona was a madhouse until the wee hours of the morning.
Funny, I think of Rosie and the NY marathon, not the Boston Marathon.
did you know they still run that marathon every year?
Yeah, the loudspeaker greeting the finishers is easily heard miles up the slope where we live as they continue to greet the late ones. So what if it is midnight, what they did is borderline unbelievable.
< /SARC >