During an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last week, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was asked about his best marathon time. Seeing as Ryan is extremely fit and has apparently only run in one legit marathon in his life, the question shouldn’t have been a particularly tough one answer.
“Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something,” Ryan said, fairly adamantly.
Under three, high twos. A very impressive time. Well, scratch that. It would have been very impressive if it were true.
After noting that if Ryan’s stated time was accurate “he'd be the fastest marathoner to be on a national ticket. John Edwards has run 3:30; George W. Bush has run 3:44; Sarah Palin has run 3:59; and Al Gore has run 4:58,” the good folks at Runner’s World investigated this matter and found out that Boy Wonder hadn’t actually run what he said he ran.
When it became apparent that this marathon thing wasn’t going away, Ryan’s campaign released the following statement on behalf of their candidate:
"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. 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."
So there you go. Now we can move on, right? Right? Not exactly. Despite Ryan’s clarification (read: admission of guilt), Runner's World did some more sleuth work and uncovered the following:
A spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign e-mailed Runner's World today to say Ryan ran Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, while a college student in 1991.
When asked about Ryan’s finishing time, the spokesman said, "His comments on the [radio] show were the best of his recollection."
Ryan's name does not show up in the 1991 race results provided by Grandma's. Runner's World checked 11 years of results for Grandma's Marathon, from 1988 through 1998, and found a finisher in the 1990 race by the name of Paul D. Ryan, 20, of Minneapolis.
Ryan's middle name is Davis, and he was 20 in 1990. The finishing time listed was 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds.
Four hours and one minute. That’s a pretty far cry from two hours and fifty something minutes. And it’s not like the number was off by an hour or something, it was a completely different time.
At the end of the day, does this matter? Of course not. Not even a little. Every man on the planet has lied about his athletic feats or something equally trivial for something far less noble than becoming the vice president of the United States (read: impressing women). But it’s still pretty funny. And that’s as good a reason as any to bring it up from now until November.