In 2015 I sent the following email to LetsRun (and preserved a copy):
I'm not sure whether or not your excellent site is interested in helping expose a regular age category
marathon cheat. I refer to the case of Frank Meza. He ran California International 2014 in a rather
suspicious time and manner. He was the 65-69 winner with a 2:52, a giant PB over his normal times (if they are even legitimate) which included a low 36 minute last 10km, the flat portion of the race. He was declared the winner of his age category and this result allowed him later to be declared a masters athlete of the year in Running Times, etc, etc.
This matter only came to my attention because I was entered in California International 2014 but was unable to run
due to extenuating circumstances. Out of curiosity, I checked the results to see how I would have fared in my 65-69 age group, had I run. I was coming off a 3:04 at Okanagan marathon two months before, despite a two day 2100km drive to get there from Southern Utah where I was training (Go Cam Levins!) so I wasn't a completely useless runner, considering my age. I was very surprised to see Meza running a 2:52 as I was familiar with his normal results, or what I "assume"
are his results!
A few months later at Los Angeles Marathon 2015, on a blazing hot day when times were slow he did these 5km splits supposedly, leading to a 2:52:47 net time:
20:47 39:50 1:00:18 1:25:19 1:43:53 2:03:15 2:24:43 2:43:13 2:54:15 2:52:47
Note that he took at least a 5 or 6 minute "rest" between km15 and km20. Factor this "rest" out of his result
and take into account the blazing heat and slower times and we have him doing a mid to low 2:40's marathon.
At this point I went back to check his time and splits at California International 2014, and much to my surprise (but glee) he was listed as "disqualified". Apparently he did not appear on the video at the checkpoints.
I contacted the California International people and they said they had disqualified him and alerted the Los Angeles people already. I also wrote to Running Times magazine to suggest they retract Meza being considered a masters runner of the
year. They apparently passed my letter on to USATF masters people who wrote me a snarky email...............
"Appreciate your zeal in pursuing those who you feel have “cheated” in our sport. However, our judicial system and its offspring have a basic precept that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I understand that he has been DQ’d and his results have been called into question in other races. At the national level we have no jurisdiction over local races, so they make the call as to what results they find acceptable.
Incidentally the rankings are not based upon one race, but rather the totality of races for that athlete for that year and he had other results that raised him to that level.
Locally a number of years ago we had the Duke Lacrosse case wherein a bunch of rowdy Duke Lacrosse players were accused of raping a “student” exotic dancer. The gang of 82 Duke faculty, an overzealous prosecutor, subsequently disbarred, all succeeded in branding for life a number of innocent young men, who were later proven innocent. The exotic dancer is now in jail having murdered her boyfriend. Thus, I do not think it is prudent to rush to judgment. Please ensure you have irrefutable evidence before you make these kinds of accusations."
So we can expect Meza to be a 2015 masters runner of the year, and maybe the next Ed Whitlock, or even much better than Ed Whitlock, if this crap continues.
Obviously when a runner cheats at least once he must be considered suspect forever, especially when producing
a time that is truly unbelievable. I hope that LetsRun is interested in pursuing this as your site is excellent at exposing cheats. Keep up the good work! I think it is important that everyone know what Meza does, not just me and a handful of others.
I would like to add that I am not just another jealous runner irritated at losing a "prize". I welcome competition, but real results not phony cheating results like Meza's. Serious marathon age category superstars are being denied
coverage because of people like Meza, and that is a pity.
LetsRun wrote back saying they weren't interested in doing a story and that I could start a thread. Being a lazy person essentially, I didn't bother starting a thread. Over the years when I see another Meza result I start fuming again and have no desire to run. It takes about a month before I calm down and can start running again. Not surprisingly Meza did pop up again at age 70 with a world best "result", or even two of them a couple of weeks apart. Who needs Ed or Gene with this "superstar".
I guess we should be acknowledging the gentleman who is carrying Meza's bib for him in these evenly split races that he is perfecting. The fellow is a pretty decent runner in his own right! In the missing mats races, I guess Meza couldn't recruit this guy to carry the bib on the day, which makes things a little more messy. Forget about Meza proving himself by running an 18:30 five km or a 40:00 ten km as someone suggested. A guy who can do a 2:52 marathon should be running a stand alone 17:30 five km and a sub 37 ten km. Take a look at his recent "race" photos and tell me that body is running those times, haha! If you want to see what a real sub 3 hour age 70 marathon runner looks like, look for a photo of Ed Whitlock or Gene Dykes.