LetsRun.com Founder Weldon Johnson to Take Leave of Absence after Incident at World Cross Country
By Weldon Johnson, founder LetsRun.com
April 1, 2019
After much reflection over this weekend, I am ready to announce that I will be taking a leave of absence from LetsRun.com.
I have not lived up to the standards that I have set for myself, and have disappointed my family and the LetsRun.com community. I will take this time for reflection and to re-prioritize my life with my friends and family.
This past weekend I ran the 2 km “fun race” at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus. It was one loop of the incredible World Cross Country course.
The gun went off and there I was competing on the same grass and course as the best in the world. I even heard the announcer say Paula Radcliffe might be in the field as well. Maybe I could show her once and for all I really could have beaten her at the 2002 Chicago Marathon.
On the first massive hill, sure some six-year-old kids were ahead of me, but they soon faded and as I flew through the beer tent and heard the crowd roar and gave a few high fives, the adrenaline was pumping. I wasn’t going to win this thing, but I was going to put up an honest effort. I’d pace it better than anyone else.
Throughout the course, I heard yells of “Wejo” and “LetsRun.com.” It didn’t get any better than this. I was back racing at a major championship and hopefully for the first time I wouldn’t embarrass myself (In my lone previous world championship race, suffering with a bout of food poisoning at the 1999 World Half Marathon Champs, I finished 105th out of 109, running just 74:58. Had I been in the women’s race, I would have only been 33rd).
The course was a real challenge, and I could never settle into a rhythm, but I had paced myself well and was moving up throughout. The sand on the course was starting to piss me off and I was gassed, but then I saw I was getting near “the roof” and its massive climb. All I had to do was get up and down that and I was done.
I switched into kicking and racing mode. Some joker in what looked like a full track suit was in front of me and I set my sight on him. I was going to get his scalp for sure.
I started going up “the roof” and to my horror, we weren’t going all the way to the top like the pros. We were doing the junior race version and going ⅔ of the way up. What should I do? Ignore the barriers and run up to the top like the pro I once was or stay on the course and beat the jokester in the track suit? I had to beat the jokester in the track suit at all odds. Besides I’m no longer a pro, and really never was one, but I was a warrior, a fierce competitor.
I barreled down the roof and was opening up daylight on this fat sack of excrement. Victory was mine. I started opening it up to the finish. I was in the hurt box, and as my legs screamed with pain, I felt a bit of embarrassment as I glanced over my shoulder to see where the tracksuit guy was. He was behind me. Then I saw a 13-year-old kid just in front of me. Initially I was hesitant about what to do, but I thought of all of you and decided to lean at the line. I got him!
I got my finisher medal and high fived the guy who won the race. He thought I was cool because I recognized him from having run the men’s senior race as well.
Thirty minutes later I had accidentally forgotten to take off my finisher medal and was still wearing it with my media pass. Another media member made fun of me for it, but screw this guy, this is what running media is about these days.
I started to write up this recap of my race and was hoping it might go viral as I played up returning to competition, giving a better effort than when I actually ran for Team USA and finished near DFL at the World Half Marathon Championships and dropped out of the 10,000m at the Pan Am Games.
But then Team LetsRun.com members Kelsey Bruce and Matt Crowe, along with Jonathan Gault, gradually exposed my race to be a fraud.
They showed me video, and to my horror, I looked like a turtle on the course.
It was humiliating. Here I was trying to reclaim my past and they were bringing me down. But then in the video I saw the tracksuit guy. I decided to change the subject and show them I still was a competitor. “There he is! There he is!” I shouted excitedly. “That’s the guy I was battling with on the course!”
Then they laughed and said, “What about the woman in pink?” There was a woman in a full pink outfit right behind me.
“She was in the relay race and I was lapping her,” I said, full of boastful confidence.
But Kelsey, Matt, and Jon zoomed in the video and exposed my lie. There was no baton in her hand. Despite the video evidence, I doubled down and said she was in the relay.
Robert learned about this and suggested I step away from LetsRun.com. He threatened to take this to MarathonInvestigation.com if I didn’t. So my hands were tied. He probably won’t publish this, but now you see his true colors. On our podcast this week he had threatened to start EvilTwinRunning.com as he had become fascinated by the brewing rivalry between the identical Bjergso twins, one who started Mikkeller brewing (the sponsor of World XC) and the other who started Evil Twin Brewing.
LetsRun.com is in his hands for the time being, but this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me.
Video below of LetsRun.com team with Kelsey Bruce, Matt Crowem and Jon Gault exposing Weldon and the woman in pink
Editor’s note: Wejo is still not being honest in his recap above. It was only after we received the photo below from Michelle Sammet with the woman in pink right behind him a half-mile previously on the course did Weldon come clean.
12:01 a.m. update: I have decided to check into a rehabilitation facility for one week and will return the week of the Boston Marathon. I blame my actions on the LRC visitor in the photos below who insisted on buying me a beer from the beer truck at World XC while I was working. Clearly my actions do not reflect who I am.