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Cheating runner is kicked out of club; Lies exposed as bus driver speaks out.

Byline: Angela Wormald

AMARATHON runner who caught a bus to complete a race has been thrown out of his running club.

Rob Sloan, 32, has been expelled from Sunderland Harriers for bringing "shame" to the group after he was caught cheating in the Kielder Marathon.

Mr Sloan, of Downhill, Sunderland, finished third in the race but witnesses said they saw him board a bus and then get off before the end and rejoin the race.

The runner failed to turn up to a meeting of Sunderland Harriers' executive committee at Silksworth Sports Complex where committee members decided to expel him from the running club because of his recent actions.

A statement from Sunderland Harriers read: "Sloan made a decision to withdraw from the race at just over 20 miles due to fatigue and was spotted by witnesses with his thumb out flagging down their bus.

"Sloan then asked the driver to stop just before returning to Leaplish Park for the finish of the race.

"He was then seen by another witness hiding behind a tree before deciding to run the closing section of the course and crossing the finish line in third place.

"There is also further evidence to suggest that Sloan's performance was impossible.

"Despite admitting his wrongdoing to the Kielder Marathon organisers and the Sunderland Harriers club chairman Kevin Carr, Sloan then denied admitting his guilt to all concerned. His constant denials to cheating have further blighted the situation and brought shame and embarrassment to Sunderland Harriers." Mr Sloan joined the Harriers in June this year.

Organisers of the Kielder Marathon, which was held on October 9, declared that they have evidence he cheated and awarded the third place to Scottish competitor Steven Cairns, who it was originally believed had come fourth.

The Sunderland Harriers statement also read: "We apologise again to the Kielder Marathon organisers and especially to third-placed runner Steve Cairns whose moment of acclaim was denied through Sloan's actions."

Mr Carr said that days after the marathon Mr Sloan had rang him in tears confessing his guilt. But Mr Sloan's wife Sharon later said that her husband now claims to have been "set up".

A bus driver working at the marathon has provided a witness statement, which said: "Whilst working on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at Kielder Forest (marathon) just after the Tower Knowe point I came across an athlete who flagged me down and asked for a lift to the front gates of Leaplish where his car was parked.

"He stated that he had pulled his hamstring and could not continue. He blamed this on the 10k run he had done the day previously. I dropped him off at the entrance of Leaplish gates as he stated his car was just there.

"I can confirm that this was the man I picked up as I have seen his face via the television and a separate picture."

Mr Sloan's Facebook profile features a picture of a T-shirt with "Rob Sloan is innocent. Jog on" written on it.

CAPTION(S):

FATEFUL RUN Rob Sloan (centre, wearing 1883) at the Kielder marathon. Later in the race he would flag down one of the spectator buses, later rejoining the race and claiming third place. Now, his lies have unravelled
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2011
Words:541
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