Let's add another race with photographic evidence of FM cheating: Long Beach Marathon 2016
. And let's add an eyewitness.
The 2017 race was treated above (see pages 229, Deadesq's key photo sequence on 236, and 241). So we know Ocean Blvd. is a place on the LBM course where FM likes to hop in. Was 2017 his first time? No.
For this sequence, we'll go backward
Here's the same place on the 2016 course, again around a half mile from the finish, where no runner is going to stop and stretch. Here's FM running by:
Where was FM before that? Popping out of #4653's shoulder:
Before that, he was coming into the frame behind #13206:
Before that, FM was here. The rest of the runners are inside the orange cones. Why is FM outside the cones? And what's weirder is it looks like there's another runner in red shorts up on the sidewalk behind FM.
Well, now we know why FM was outside the cones. Here he is jumping into the race from off the street. What is he looking back at?
Moving back a frame, it kind of looks like FM is looking at the guy in red shorts.
There are some partial shots of someone near or behind a tree before this, but they're inconclusive. If we really
want to look at indistinct blurs, there's a whitish maybe-FM blur just above the shoulder of the runner in the blue shirt, and and another blur just behind that. Both blurs are close to the intersection of Esperanza and Ocean, where FM was observed leaning on a car in 2017. (You'll have to zoom in on the image to even see the blurs.)
So now let's go back to the moment when FM runs past, and start moving forward
in time. Here's FM.
See that patch of red behind the bushes? What happens to it? Here it is again, and it's now a shirtless runner in red shorts with his bib on his shorts.
The runner in red shorts is now entering the course from FM's same point of entry.
And here he is at last, #18002, a participant in the half marathon/bike combo.
Now, don't get too excited or start accusing #18002 of being a cheater or FM's accomplice. Maybe he really was on his cool down. Maybe he just happened to see FM and struck up a conversation. He appears to have a fairly common Vietnamese name shared with plenty of other people, including colleagues of FM at KP who are not
Still, it would be very interesting to know why #18002 was waiting around off course, and what he saw, and if he said anything to FM.
Oh, as usual, FM hops back on the course to go through the finish a second time with PB, as they would do again in 2017.