Paul Ryan Says He Misstated Marathon Claim After Runners World Calls Him Out

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a campaign rally on September 1, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. Mitt Romney will hold campaign events in Ohio and Florida. (Credit: Getty Image)

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan now says he didn’t run a marathon in less than three hours as he recently claimed in a nationally broadcast interview.

Ryan admitted Saturday that he misspoke and unintentionally padded his finishing time by more than an hour. The VP hopeful issued a statement correcting the record following a report by Runner’s World Magazine that challenged Ryan’s claim. The magazine found evidence that Ryan has completed one marathon, in 1990, and finished in just over four hours, not three.

Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last month, Ryan said he had run a “two hour and fifty-something” marathon. As the Associated Press points out, that’s a pace of less than 7 minutes per mile for the 26.2 mile course — an extremely speedy time for recreational runners. NPR provides this transcript of Ryan’s conversation with Hewitt.

H[ugh] H[ewitt]: Are you still running?

P[aul] R[yan]: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or yes.

HH: But you did run marathons at some point?

PR: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.

HH: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?

PR: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.

HH: Holy smokes. All right, now you go down to Miami University …

PR: I was fast when I was younger, yeah.”

“The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin — who ran Boston last year — reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three,” Ryan said in a statement. “If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.”

Nearly every media outlet has since picked up the story and ran with it.

Further, some runners posting on the Runner’s World website are fuming mad at Ryan’s claim, many of them posting their own personal records with date and time.

“Let’s see…..he lied repeatedly in his convention speech the other night, but to lie about a race time? Even more disgusting…….Maybe he ran a sub three the day Obama closed that plant in Wisconsin……pathetic,” one reader posted.

“Someone who blatantly lies about something that is so easily verifiable; a public figure who, of course, is going to get fact-checked, can only be one thing: pathological,” another person wrote.

Others though scoffed at the Runner’s World and other media outlets for spending so much time “fact-checking” a two decade old marathon time.

“Fun to see how much effort is put in to “fact checking” a 20 year old marathon time. For someone who was a racer and turned into a runner, I think it could be easy to forget your race times,” someone wrote.

What do you think? Is the media overreacting to Ryan’s gaffe or does it prove that Ryan is dishonest? Take our poll:

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page image from Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.