Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Outing of Kip Litton

Something tells me that the old quote: "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" is one of Kip Litton's favorites. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Litton, he is a dentist in Davison, MI who has been claiming to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis by trying to run a sub-3 hour marathon in every state. His website was WorldRecordRun.com, but has been taken down after Delaware Marathon race director, Wayne Kursh, discovered that the donors were told to make their donation checks out to his website and not any charity. Cheers to Mr. Kursh for being the first race director to publicly out Mr. Litton on the World Wide Web.

This got the ball rolling for all of the anonymous sleuths over at the World Famous LetsRun.com Message Boards. While you have to sift through 90% of the trolling over there to get to something worth reading, this is a vast thread that is worth a look, as you can watch the layers of the onion continue to peel away to reveal a very flawed individual. From all of this detective work has also spawned an excellent collection of clues that are a little more organized over at the Study of Kip Litton Running Performances blog. If you have some time to kill, read up over there for some fascinating info that is updated daily (or more).

James Hogue aka
Jay Huntsman aka
Alexi Indris-Santana
One of my favorite books (and documentary) that I have read over the past 10 years was "The Runner" by David Samuels. It was a great account of con man James Hogue's adventure from high school runner to college dropout to high school runner (at 25 winning the Stanford Invitational) to Princeton scholarship award winner Alexi Indris-Santana to jailed criminal. In similar fashion, one of my favorite films this past year was the "documentary" Catfish, which was essentially about a filmmaker getting duped into believing an imaginary girl liked him. It that was all based on the imagination of "artist" Angela Wesselman.

I believe Kip Litton is almost a combination of these two personalities with his trickery and creation of an imaginary world. "How does he do it?" is the question everyone wants answered. Has he ever been busted on course? Not to my knowledge. Has he made some large errors to get people on his trail? Most definitely. What Kip does every race is cross the starting line 4-5 minutes after the leaders. That's when the fun begins. He finds a way to go over most of the chip mats at sometimes odd intervals, yet never seems to show up in any race photos until the finish. My favorite was at the Providence Cox Marathon where they did get a photo of him at the start (note the woman starting with him) and a photo at the finish. Notice anything strange? He's wearing 2 different kinds of shoes! Not bad to have time to change shoes and still run a 2:52 marathon. For all the grief James Hogue got for trying to relive the glory days, at least he was indeed running the races!

        

Angela Wesselman aka
 lots of people on Facebook
The Catfish comparison is a new one, but it looks like Mr. Litton has fabricated at least 3 races to further his "cause." Like Angela in Catfish, who created an entire community of people (with facebook profiles), it looks like Mr. Litton created the West Wyoming Marathon, the Pine Hills 5k and the Sandy Springs Half Marathon (and their competitors with Athlinks Profiles) out of thin air. This was reported last night and the first 2 sites have already been taken down. How was this figured out? Well it turns out these 3 races, along with his dental practice website and his former running website, WorldRecordRun.com, had the same web host. It is a larger hosting company, but the similarities and the crappy websites make it obvious that something is fishy (hey-o!). He has also submitted the West Wyoming Marathon to MarathonGuide.com. Good one Kip.

Now is the time I wish that when I was a film major at UNC-Chapel Hill, we actually did digital filming, editing, etc. I was the last class to actually use 8mm and 35mm film before the upgrades. I also used to play records and CD's when I was a DJ at WXYC, but that's how it was! The saga of Kip Litton would be an excellent documentary and might even make Kip famous (or infamous) beyond the running boards. I do hope he comes clean one day and I don't mind if Sports Illustrated or ESPN pays him for it. I just want to hear how he did it and why.

Thanks to Study of Kip Litton Running
for this one!
One thing that does bother me a little is that Kip is 1-0 against me. Turns out he "ran" the Boston Marathon last year in 2:52:12, besting my 2:55:04 by 2 minutes and 52 seconds. This is a day after he ran a 5k "PR" of 17:17 in the BAA 5k. I was hoping I would get another shot at him this year, but he doesn't appear on the entrant list. Seems odd after he has run it many years in a row. There's gotta be a story there, and I hope to one day hear it (although possibly he didn't sign up in time). So Kip, if you are reading this, please find an avenue that will pay your mortgage for a while and let us know how you did it (or just email me). Until then, we are going to continue posting videos like this of you walking across the finish line in 2:55 at the PF Chang's Arizona Marathon. Head down as usual and hopefully feeling dirty inside (like this one below from the Gasparilla 5k).

We almost raced again at Boston 2012

Information on the New Yorker article, published July 30, 2012

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42 comments:

  1. This guy is clearly a psychopath. He knows he's cheating and maybe it's some kind of perverted game for him. But who knows why?

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    1. Do donations mean nothing to you....

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  2. BTW, here's another fun fact -- Kip was thrown out of dental school for a semester from U of M for... (wait for it) cheating!

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  3. Your story is mostly correct. Wayne Kursh didn't have anything to do with asking Kip to take down his website. That honor goes to Scott Hubbard, a local runner from near Kip's hometown who witnessed many of his cheating exploits firsthand. The major outing of Litton began when he was disqualified simultaneously from the Missoula Marathon and the Mickelson Trail (South Dakota) Marathon due to a runner at the former and the race director at the latter race realizing that he hadn't been observed at any of the checkpoint locations along the course. I wish the person who posted the note about dental school would elaborate. That rumor has circulated for a year now with no substantiation or solid underpinning. If true, it would be especially damning, but I can't think for the life of me how one could obtain any evidence that it was true.

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  4. Technically he's a pathological liar and or/a sociopath. Odd note. I ran in high school with the son of a guy who cheated at the NYC Marathon in the mid-80 - same deal - pre-chip. I don't get the reason for it all - very strange.

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  5. Ummmm...are you serious? How does he have different shoes on? Who gave them the shoes? Where were they stashed? Ever hear of overwhelmingly circumstantial evidence? He cheated, just like Oscar did at Boston 20 years ago. That man is not running 2:52 at Boston unless he is being aided...by not running the full distance! Scott Hubbard didn't witness his cheating, he just ?'ed his odd split times like dozens of people have. Making up races that don't exist, is that not solid underpinning? What more evidence do you need?

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  6. What started with legitimate questions became a farce long ago. Several writers have delved into this and found no wrongdoing. Anyone that knows Dr Litton has known this from the start. Backing evidence has been systematically removed from online forums & blogs. Litton has an impeccable reputation in his community as a devoted father, excellent dentist & compassionate humanitarian. It would have been more believable by choosing a target of lessor character. Its time to stop trying to take down one of the finest families anywhere.

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    1. HA? Are you kidding? Backing evidence remains online at http://KipLitton.blogspot.com and at LetsRun.com

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    2. Thanks Kip, that's a moving defense.

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    3. I enjoy your exploits! You ae not much of a runner, partner, but you win the gold medal for charades...

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    4. Kip, why don't you use your name when you defend yourself on these websites?

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    5. He uses his "fast shoes" for the second half of the run. Wise

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  7. "Several writers have delved into this and found no wrongdoing." But what about the RDs (more than just one) who have disqualified him? What about his victories at races that never existed, such as the West Wyoming? And who cares about his reputation as a father or dentist? Nobody's claiming he's bad at either of those. They're claiming (and proving) that he's a cheat.

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  8. I have known Kip for nearly 30 years. I have had the opportunity to get to know him & his family on a deep level that few ever would (unlike online, where people judge by what an anonymous runner allegedly said). In all that time I have never had a single moment when I questioned his morals or ethics. I would trust him implicitly with my life, and have- he has never disappointed me or my family. When I heard about this absurd saga I felt compelled to contact many of our mutual friends including some that were at a lot of the races in question. Kip has been forthright and completely transparent with all of us and not a single one of us believed this hoax could possibly be true. Several witnesses have had easy explanations for some of this malicious fodder. Of course you won't find it in the online bashing blogs anywhere. Some of these accusations fly straight in the face of actual facts. Shedding clothes, less photos & sweat level as evidence of cheating reeks of desperation. If you spent a fraction of the time actually getting to know Kip as you have spreading outrageous garbage that doesn't ring true, you'd appear more credible.

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    1. Kip,

      Pretending to be a supporter of yours is really a bit pathetic

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    2. this post is complete bullshit. Kip has been disqualified at 8 different races across the United States.

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    3. Hey Kip! You are over the top!

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    4. I had an affair with Kip, I can attest that he cheats in every aspect of his life.

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  9. "unlike online, where people judge by what an anonymous runner allegedly said"

    Do you really think he's being lambasted because one anonymous runner said something about him?!? He's being raked over the coals because he cheats! As evidenced by:

    Disqualification by RDs
    No photos - not "less" - none on courses where he would've been a race leader
    Manufacturing races
    Changing outfits DURING a race

    With you, he's a nice guy, and that's fine. How nice he is is completely irrelevant to how blatantly he cheats.

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  10. Whether for financial gain (for himself or a charity), or for egotistical reasons (he wants to be someone he simply isn't)....he's a damn cheat.

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  11. That's crazy! I ran the Gasparilla 5k the year he did and it says he beat me by like 20 seconds! Well guess i placed 1 spot ahead then i really thought.

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  12. I haven't read everything about him, but has no one tried to shadow him in a race?

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    1. A friend of the site alerted me: "Kip was going to run a race up this way, but the race directors announced they'd be keeping a biker on his tail during the race to make sure he didn't cheat or got DQ'd if he did, so he dropped to the half marathon. He'd already been banned from the other marathons in the state." This was in Maine.

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  13. Just so Mr. Price is aware, Litton's expose just got published in the August 6 edition of the New Yorker. Even with all that I've read on the web, the story has new information.

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    1. oh yes. i'm very aware. there's a book's worth of material here...

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  14. His body shape looks quite different in certain photos. I think it's two different guys. Why else would the clothing and shoes be different during the same race.

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  15. Obviously a cheat, but I do love the "two different guys" theory. I agree that his appearance seems to vary quite a bit. But then, we can all look crappy mid-race. That presumes, of course, that we're actually racing, which isn't so clear in Kip's case. This is fascinating, as a psychological study.

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  16. I dont get it...why dont u just send a runner-agent to follow him during the race and confirm he ran the whole thing honestly...its not that hard to secretly follow someone knowing the exact path he will take...no ?

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  17. It seems to be hard to pin him down as to when he will show up. And you do have to have a volunteer who is good enough to trail him (he must after all be able to run at least moderately well -- he does do SOME running) but is willing to actually give up the competition just to trail him.

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  18. I read the article in the New Yorker. I find the cheating by Kip Litton strange and perplexing, but the obsession to catch him and hound him is just as fascinating. I understand how frustrating it must be to have a cheater in races. But, I think instead of obsessing over this guy, why not just find a way to fix future races so that he and others can't get away with cheating again? Most people race for personal satisfaction of the accomplishment. He can't take that away from any of the legitimate racers.

    I am sure there is a simple fix out there. Races should have a single hidden time tracking device along the course. Or, you could make a rule that anyone who has the bib hidden under clothing is automatically disqualified. I am sure there is a way to fix this loop-hole Mr. Litton has found.

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  19. How would you feel to find out he's your dentist?

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    1. That's what I was thinking. I would not want this guy drilling my teeth, giving me shots, just assuming he's following standard, safe protocols. And who would take their kid to this fraud?

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  20. What a lonley sad bunch of losers this running community is. This is like a bunch of coyotes circling a lame rabbit. So what if Kip Litton cheats, who the fuck cares!!! Enough is enough! Let it go will you. There's lots of cheaters and liars out there in the business and medical world. They get called out and found out and humiliated. Game over. Move on people. This is no reason to crucify the man. I'd rather have a dentist that cheats at running and is a good dentist than the other way around.

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    1. The point being cheating in something that, for many, is a huge part of their life, is a relatively big deal. Given there is no revelation of how exactly he cheats, it makes it that much more pertinent to the running community.

      He deserves his lambasting and being made the butt of jokes if not only for his cheating, but his attempt to make money out of it (as he did). For shame Mr. Litton.

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  21. "So what if Kip Litton cheats, who the **** cares!!!" I suppose if he'd cheated his way to a 4 hour marathon, then very few people would care. However, Kip cheated his way to place in his age group. And in some cases, he stole first place in his age group. I can say from personal experience that it took me 5 years to place in my age group. And when I did, it was one of the best days of my life. If someone had stolen it from me, I would've been just as angry as some other posters.

    "This is no reason to crucify the man" I wouldn't say that this is accurate. There are many people who've spoken ill of him, and a few ad hominem attacks. But except for the New Yorker reporter, I don't know of anyone who's approached him personally or at his business. So while he's been spoken poorly of, he has been unaffected outside of his marathons. I would not call this a crucifixion.

    "I'd rather have a dentist that cheats at running and is a good dentist than the other way around." But you're implying that you can only have one or the other. Isn't a reasonable expectation to have BOTH? That is, isn't it reasonable to have a dentist who's good AND tells the truth?

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    1. Amen, brother. Well said. I'm in year 3 of a long quest to qualify for Boston and place in my age group at some race or other. I'm working my freaking ass off for it, and I'd feel the ringing the neck of the guy who would cheat to take it away from me.

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  22. Someone always tells somebody else their darkest deeds...find that weakest link and puzzle solved.

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  23. He used a bike. he covered up his bib, acted like a spectator and carelessly wandered (took a camera maybe to look like a spectator) out onto the course at specific times on the chip pickup mats. Back on bike... off to next checkpoint. He only had to trot along and join the race in the last two miles at which time he would begin to disrobe and uncover his bib.

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