Running is a very popular sport and fitness regimen, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that an awful lot of celebrities and public figures are runners. But if you attract media attention and you have ever run a road race, you would do well to check your results on Athlinks.com.
Athlinks bills itself as the world’s largest results database for endurance athletes. “If you’ve been racing, we’ve got your results,” they say. And who can argue?
When vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan claimed to have run a sub-3 marathon in his youth, Athlinks was the first stop for those who doubted him. The site’s results get spottier the further back you go, but are usually as accurate as any results posted on a race web site.
When the Gen. Petraeus scandal hit, and it was reported that he and biographer Paula Broadwell often went running together, both Runner’s World and the Wall Street Journal consulted Athlinks to check their race stats. Broadwell ran a 1:36 half-marathon last year, offering an object lesson in the dangers of running around with fast women.
Still, you want to be careful when consulting the Athlinks database. It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish runners with the same name and close to the same age. And if you’re looking for someone famous, well, they may have used a pseudonym. Actress Julia Roberts, for example, twice used her married name to run the Santa to the Sea half-marathon in Oxnard, California.
Athlinks will also rein in the non-famous. Barroom braggarts and competitors looking to gain an edge now know that race-stalkers can easily verify their claims to super-speed. And you want to be careful about lying about your age. Your Athlinks history will show that you’ve been 39 since 2003.