A seventy-year-old man has been disqualified from the Los Angeles Marathon months after the race.
Frank Meza was disqualified from the Los Angeles Marathon in March after race officials claim he temporarily left the course during his record-setting run. According to officials, Meza’s run-time during part of the race was “impossible.”
The record-breaking marathon runner has since denied any wrongdoing or cheating in the race, however, video cameras clearly show him stepping off of the course and then rejoining the race again at a location further down the marathon route, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Meza initially clocked in at 2:53:10, which became the fastest marathon run for a person his age, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Conqur Endurance Group, who officiates and organizes the marathon, reviewed store surveillance footage located on the 26.2 mile course from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, which showed the retired physician leaving the race and returning — an action that is not permitted per marathon rules.
“After an extensive review of original video evidence from official race cameras and security cameras at retail locations along the race course, Conqur Endurance Group has determined that Dr. Frank Meza violated a number of race rules during the 2019 … Los Angeles Marathon, including re-entering the course from a position other than where he left it,” the marathon officials said in a statement obtained by the website Marathon Investigation.
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“The video evidence is confirmed by a credible eyewitness report and our calculation that Dr. Meza’s actual running time for at least one 5K course segment would have had to have been faster than the current 70-74 age group 5K world-record [an impossible feat during a marathon],” the statement read.
Conqur Endurance Group did not return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Meza’s record-setting result in his bracket of runners from age 70 to 74 has since been removed, putting marathon runner Dan Adams’ 4:10:07 run in first place for his group.
Despite the video evidence against him, Meza maintains his innocence in light of the accusations.
“All kinds of allegations were being thrown at me,” he told the Times. “It was pretty traumatic.”
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However, the retired doctor has been disqualified from marathon races twice before. In 2014 and 2016 Meza ran in the California International Marathon, which takes place in Sacramento, and was disqualified for irregular splits — meaning the interval times recorded at certain points along the race course, according to the Times.
Meza was banned from the California International Marathon following the 2016 disqualification, according to Marathon Investigation.
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