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Racergirl
RE: Robert Young fakes run across America
A recap:

- Markus and other ultra runners have suspicions about RY from mid May onwards, as evidenced by FB posts openly posted on RY's pages by Markus and others from those dates. Markus and others are now vilified, Cassandra-like, every time they attempt to question RY or his team or sponsors on social media.
- Asher goes to run alongside one night, doesn't find RY, and the RV reacts suspiciously by driving away - Asher takes video footage which shows no runner within a reasonable distance of the RV. Subsequent video evidence does not provide conclusive proof that RY was with the RV, or even close to it, but there is a question mark about a walker who is seen in CCTV from a later time stamp. Waters are muddied by statements from the team about driving to get food prior to returning (at 7mph), or losing RY (repeatedly), or driving to rest stops at 7mph before returning, or speeding away from a threatening attacker.
- Asher starts to investigate the times and tracking, not helped by mixed messages saying the tracker is in the RV or is on RY (which I ascribe to the team and their supporters not being clear which is the Open Tracker in the RV and a GPS watch or similar tracker on RY)
- The team openly admit RY has, on more than one occasion, run without them being alongside or within sight. Sometimes because he set off early, once when the RV broke down. They have a paper log which they ask independent witnesses to sign, in accordance with GWR requirements, and are attempting to record a minimum of 10 minutes of video a day. Again, this seems to be in accordance with publicly available GWR requirements from other transcon attempts for other athletes but as no-one has seen the requirements specifically released by GWR for RY's explicit attempt, this is speculation - as is the supposition that the RV must be behind RY at all times. A copy of the GWR requirements as released to RY is needed.
- RY's team release blurry screenshots of a TomTom account - originally 71 photographs but one was taken down off FB subsequently. Claims are made by the team that he has no TomTom account, no Strava account, no internet, no GPS, no Garmin account, no ability to upload data and swiftly countered with evidence to the contrary.
- The kml file with the tracker data is taken down - but it transpires this was done by Open Tracker and not by RY's team for data size purposes.
- RY's photographs and pace from the earlier part of the run, in adverse weather conditions and at altitude, seem implausible to say the least. This seems to be borne out by by extensive data collation and maps put together by LRCers and Ulisters, combining the available tracker data, screenshots of TomTom data, and the team's own photographs and updates on their blog and FB.
- Runners who have previously encountered RY at other events describe a charming man with an unorthodox running style and pace, but they make no gain by making these claims and have race results and Strava records which match the times they ran with him. These are generally not at odds with RY's currently evidenced bizarre running pace and style, although doubts remain about a race when he beats the organisers (who were in a vehicle) to the finish line, and about a string of sub-6 minute miles run through the Rockies and in desert conditions with no verification.
- A number of the claims in his book and on his website turn out to be inflated, or unverifiable, although some contain a grain of truth which has been manipulated and expanded. He did serve with the Royal Corps of Signals, but probably not as the triathlete he paints. His "10k PR" turns out to be a 7k as part of another event, for example. This is currently repeated with his claims about being tailed by crews from ESPN and "CCTV across America", who turn out to be short-term visitors and members of his PR team and extended family. Although not a defence, one has to ask how much RY is aware of which has been placed on his website and said in his name by Dustin or other spinners or PR. His apparently conflicting claims of being a couch-potato prior to 2014 and a gifted triathlete in the early noughties could be down Dustin as his ghost-writer putting a spin on the truth to try to sell more books. 'Experienced triathlete carries on running' doesn't sell as much as 'unfit overweight dad suddenly becomes miracle multiple marathon runner'. And RY seems to have no bought into and believes his own propaganda.
- Since being joined by experienced ultra runners his pace has significantly slowed and he is showing signs of severe physical distress. Laz et al note he is personable, charming, but the whole team seem amateur and out of their depth with lack of planning and insight into the task they took on. They have made demonstrably unsafe decisions such as which roads to run on with lack of foresight and knowledge of traffic laws.
- RY and team have made a number of repeated invitations for runners to join them - sometimes expenses paid - but never respond to requests to take them up on this. Ditto offering the phone numbers of witnesses to the situation in Emporia. This could be because the team of 2 supporting RY are overtired, overstretched, and way outside their knowledge or comfort zone - or it could be because they are trying to paint themselves as the afflicted reasonable guys under uninvited pressure. Not a fruitful line of questioning any further.
- RY's social media supporters now seem intent on making him a martyr by insisting he continue to run - seeing Laz's statement about pulling him if he had been one of his races as some kind of twisted endorsement. Of course, should RY end up hospitalised or seriously injured, the publicity will state that this had nothing to do with the pressure put on him by these supporters, and everything to do with comments on this forum.
- He is raising money for a UK charity which is well regulated and where donations appear to go straight to their bank account, and for two US charities where the waters are somewhat more murky. In addition he has made GFM pages to ask for support towards his living and running costs, leading to accusations he is defrauding the public in all his financial requests, and scamming his sponsors into the bargain.

Is that a reasonable fair summary?

So, where do we stand? His early inflated claims, which sold books and served to whip up sponsorship, are now backfiring spectacularly. His supporters have closed ranks and do not appear open to reasoned discussion given that there is little current hard evidence surrounding the first three weeks of the run. He seems unlikely to complete the crossing in the record timescale, unless he falls back on the "minimum default" distance instead of his choice to run 3000 miles. His team's repeated threats, diversions and spin are serving to muddy the waters rather than simply clarify what started off as some very simple questions. Unfortunately the duck test (walks like, quacks like, swims like) indicates he may well be a duck, and not a bird of paradise in disguise.

As small clarifications and pieces of evidence come out, I find myself believing he has cheated - and cheated naively because he either never thought he would be caught, or in his own mind justified everything he was doing - but pitying him his current pain and for not having the mental strength of character to recognise when his body is on the brink of serious collapse and be able to choose with stop. The mental effect of admitting deception and falling from grace would, for him, be more psychologically catastrophic than any physical breakdown. If he were to engage with a psychotherapist I expect he would gain significant insights into his current character based on his past history - but any sort of analysis would be strictly private and out of bounds for us voyeurs - AS IS any discussion of his past relationships, children, or political leanings.

Me? I'm in the "he's cheated, he's a naive pillock, but karma is a b*tch" camp. What I do not want to see, as a compassionate human being, is him physically harmed by this episode. What I would like, but will never see, is either a confession from him to past misdemeanors and the true previous race results or a full release of the relevant GPS data including cadence, heart rate or other indicate that a human being ran what he claims to have completed.

I feel truly sorry for him, on many levels. I will also put my money where my mouth is: if the data is released and exonerates him - whether or not he completes this challenge - I will make a £50 donation directly to the UK charity he supports, but through the charity's own website.

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