Mexican politician runs into bother

Berlin marathon disqualifies former presidential hopeful after “superhuman” time.

Berlin marathon

The world record was broken in
Berlin – but not by Roberto Madrazo [EPA]

Roberto Madrazo looked like he finally had something to celebrate.

The 55-year-old, who finished a distant third in last year’s Mexican presidential elections, was pictured grinning from ear to ear after he completed the Berlin marathon last week in a remarkable time of 2:41:12.

The run was so remarkable that it placed Madrazo 146th out of the estimated 40,000 competitiors who started the race on September 30 and first in the 55 and over category.

But it seems it was a little too remarkable. On Monday, race organisers disqualified Madrazo for apparently taking a short cut – his electronic tracking chip indicated he skipped two checkpoints in the race.

His time was only 36 minutes slower than the world record, set by Haille Gebrselaisse during the race but even the great Ethiopian would have failed to match the Mexican’s alleged time of 21 minutes to cover the 15km between the 20 and 35km marks.

“Not even the world record holder can go that fast,” Mark Milde, the race director said.

In a photograph taken as he crossed the finish line, Madrazo is shown grinning and and pumping his arms in the air.

But the former candidate of the once dominant IPI party is also wearing a wind breaker, a hat and long, skintight tracksuit bootoms – too much clothing, some said, for a person who had just run for almost three hours in 16C weather.

Suspicious outfit

Madrazo’s outfit caught the attention of New York-based marathon photographer Victor Sailer, who alerted race organisers that they might have a cheater on their hands.

The world record for 15km is 41 minutes 29 seconds, by Felix Limo of Kenya – almost twice as long as Madrazo’s mid-marathon time.

Suspicion of Madrazo’s time was already rife in Mexico last week, especially given that his time was nearly an hour faster than his previous best.

Madrazo finished third in last
year’s presidential election [EPA]

His reputation at home was already less than squeaky clean.

In 1996, Mexico’s attorney-general confirmed reports that he had spent tens of millions of dollars more than the legal campaign spending limit in his winning 1994 bid for the Tabasco state governorship.

While under investigation on those charges, Madrazo told police he was kidnapped for seven hours, beaten and threatened with death by unidentified assailants.

Police could not find evidence of any such abduction, and many saw it as a sympathy ploy.

During the 2006 presidential campaign, opponents plastered walls with posters reading, “Do you believe Madrazo? I don’t either!”

Milde noted that Madrazo may have intended to drop out and taken a shortcut to reach the start-finish area.

“I don’t know if it was his intention or accidental: I try to believe in the good of people,” Milde said.

Source: News Agencies