Paul Ryan takes fitness very seriously. He takes it so seriously there is real demand to see him with his shirt off. But when he told a radio host his best marathon time was under three hours, Runner's World went looking for the truth.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Ryan what he was like in high school. "Were you a speech and debate guy? Were you a bandie? What were you?" he quizzed. Ryan mentioned he was a distance runner. When Hewitt asked for his best marathon time, Ryan gave quite the answer:
HH: Are you still running?
PR: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or yes.
HH: But you did run marathons at some point?
PR: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.
HH: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?
PR: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.
Aa under three hour marathon is, like, really good. But, after his questionable RNC speech, there was demand for a fact check.
Runner's World's Scott Douglas caught wind of Ryan's claim and noticed that, if true, it would make Ryan the fastest marathon runner on a Presidential ticket, ever. " 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," he writes. When a campaign spokesperson told RW that Ryan ran "Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, while a college student in 1991," Douglas found a Paul D. Ryan that finished with 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds. Which, oops.
Apparently Douglas wasn't the only person giving Ryan a hard time about his revisionist history. His brother Tobin, who ran a 3:34 in the 2011 Boston Marathon, acted as the family fact checker:
"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."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.