Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

The home of world running™

Lives remembered

14 August 2019, 1pm

21 June 1953 – 7 July 2019

Rosie Ruiz, Marathon imposter

Famous for all the wrong reasons, Cuban-American Rosie Ruiz died on 7 July this year, 39 years after her impersonation of a Marathon winner in the 1980 BAA Boston Marathon.

She did not look the part as she crossed the finish line, without showing the least sign of distress, in 2:31:56 – well ahead of the race favourite Jacqui Gareau of Canada.

Gareau protested that she had not been overtaken during the race by any other female. Testimony from spectators who had seen Ruiz ‘jump in’ to the race only a few hundred metres from the finish soon made it look like a clear case of cheating. But this was after she had been ‘crowned’ with a laurel wreath and presented with a winner’s medal.

She basked in her ‘victory’ during a TV interview and some reporters ran with the story that a new marathon star was born. Others were unconvinced. Even for just a two-time marathon finisher she was totally ignorant about the sport – even what shoes she wore (“Brookes Brothers” rather than Brooks the athletic brand).

Then a photographer came forward who had travelled with Ruiz on the New York Subway during her purported participation in the race a few months previously (in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon). In a tradition started in the early Olympic Games Marathons (1806, 1904) she had taken a ride for most of the route and covered only the last few hundred metres of the race, then acted out the same deceit in Boston.

It took a week before Boston Marathon organisers awarded the victory to Gareau but Ruiz would not admit her guilt and never returned her medal.


For further information on our partners, click on the logos above.

Distance Running

Official quarterly magazine of AIMS

Cover of 2023 Edition 3

Latest issue:
2023 Edition 3

Cover: French Riviera Marathon Nice-Cannes, France

Keep up to date!

For the latest race dates please consult the official online AIMS calendar.

You can also subscribe to the AIMS calendar in your calendaring application of choice, whether on your phone, tablet or computer. Simply subscribe to webcal:// in your calendar app.

the home of world running™

AIMS Headquarters | OACA Olympic Complex | Av Spyros Louis, Athens, Greece | © AIMS 2023