translated by Brett Larner
The city government in Tokorozawa, Saitama announced on Jan. 18 that three people including two podium placers at last month's 27th Tokorozawa City Half Marathon had been disqualified for offenses including cutting the course and swapping bib numbers. It was the first time that cheating had been discovered in the event's history.
According to a spokesperson, organizers received a phone call regarding the splits of the men's 60-and-over half marathon division winner saying, "Something is wrong with his second-half 10 km split." When officials contacted the winner he initially denied any wrongdoing, but on Jan. 10 he visited city hall and admitted, "I cut part of the course."
In a separate incident, a city official found online comments pointing out that there was a man running with a woman's bib number in online photos of the race. The official contacted the woman registered under the women's 39-and-under bib number, who had finished 2nd in that division, and she admitted that a male friend registered in the men's 39-and-under 5 km division had switched bib numbers with her and run in her place. The woman ran with the man's bib, finishing 266th in his division.
The organizing committee made up of city government officials and others decided to disqualify all three people and asked that they not run the race again in the future. The City Sports Bureau commented, "We plan to add more timing mats and take other steps to help prevent cheating in the future."