A prominent ultrarunner with multiple titles has been disqualified, banned and stripped of prior wins after a race investigation found that he cheated by hiding in port-a-potty.
Officials from the Across the Years ultrarunning events announced on Facebook Wednesday that they conducted an investigation into four-time event winner Kelly Agnew after suspicions arose that he had been cheating.
“At this year’s edition of the Across The Years multi-day footraces at Camelback Ranch, we disqualified participant Kelly Agnew after witnessing him registering laps without running the complete loop of the course,” the Facebook post reads. “He missed the remote timing point on the half way point of the course on laps 11, 14 and 17. He was witnessed circling back at the start/finish staging area after completing a lap, spending over 7 minutes in a portable restroom and then “completing” the lap and going on for his next without actually running the mile plus loop.”
— Derek Murphy (@MarathnInvestgr) January 9, 2018
Officials asked Agnew to turn in his race bib and chip and leave.
The Across the Years events are grueling timed races in Phoenix that go on for 24, 48, 72 hours or six days. Runners are permitted to run, walk, stop and sleep as they please as they compete on a looped course. The person who covers the most ground in the allotted time is the winner.
Race timer Mike Melton spoke about his investigation into Agnew with marathoninvestigation.com, a blog dedicated to exposing cheating in long-distance racing.
“The process Kelly used at ATY to circle around and come back through the timing mat without having done a complete loop was so blatant and obvious it could not possibly have been anything but deliberate,” Melton said. “No one would have claimed he or she had done a valid lap had this happened to him or her.”
Agnew was a winner of four Across the Years races in previous years. He won the 48-hour events in 2014-16 and the 24-hour event in 2017, but suspicions had surfaced about his times in those races that prompted this year’s investigation. He won the 48-hour event in 2014-15 by more than 55 miles despite stopping after 41 hours.
“This is not the first time he has been reported missing laps at our event and other events especially on the fixed time circuit,” the Across the Years statement reads. “Upon further inspection of our remote timing data from past events, he has been retroactively disqualified from the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 Across The Years runs.”
Beyond Limits Running, which organizes timed races similar to Across the Years, responded to the Agnew news by retroactively disqualifying him from prior races and revoking his eligibility this year.
Agnew has not spoken publicly since being disqualified.