The Boston Marathon was the first marathon in the U.S. and part of one of the most notorious marathon scandals [source: History]. During the 1980 Boston Marathon, Rosie Ruiz left the pack of runners and took the subway to a stop about one mile (1.6 kilometers) from the finish line; she "won" the race with a final time of 2:31:56 [source: Mass Moments].
Ruiz's time was pretty sketchy from the moment she crossed the finish line. She had barely broken a sweat, and her time had improved by more 20 minutes from her previous race [source: Mass Moments]. Even more questionable was that no one at any of the race checkpoints had spotted Ruiz in the fastest group of runners. After some spectators said they saw Ruiz re-joining the race after her subway jaunt, investigators disqualified her. They also disqualified her from the New York Marathon, after witnesses testified that she'd pulled the same stunt in that race, a qualifier for the Boston event.
When Ruiz stole the laurel ring -- the crown that the Boston Marathon winners get to wear -- she also stole the spotlight from the real winner of the women runners: Jacqueline Gareau, who finished in 2:34:28. The city held a special ceremony to honor Gareau weeks later, but it was not the same as that moment of victory after a hard-run race [source: Running Times].
Even after the Boston Athletic Association took Ruiz's medal, she insisted that she hadn't cheated and continues to do so today.