Turtleboy Investigates

Did A Worcester Woman Cheat To Place In The Firefighter’s 6K Charity Road Race?

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In 1980 a woman named Rosie Ruiz won the women’s Boston Marathon in a time of 2:31:56, which shocked many because it was a course record. But her amazing story started falling apart once people noticed that she didn’t really look like or dress like a runner, no one saw her on the course, the first place woman knew for a fact that she hadn’t been passed, she wasn’t familiar with any sort of running terminology while interviewed, and her heart rate was well above what a normal marathon finishers heart rate would be. The big giveaway was that she didn’t remember seeing any women screaming in Wellesley, despite Wellesley College being known for the thousands of screaming women who form a mile long column in front of the school.

hqdefault (8) Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 11.16.57 AM

But does Worcester have a Rosie Ruiz? Turtleboy Sports has received multiple messages from people who ran in Worcester’s Firefighter’s 6k on Sunday. This was the 15th annual time this race has been held in honor of the six fallen firefighters who died in the Cold Storage Fire in 1999. It’s a good cause and a great community event. A total of 1,127 people completed this this grueling journey on that sunny, 90 degree day. But did all of them run the full 3.7 miles?

Not according to several people who have reached out to Turtleboy Sports in confidence. Here is the map of the course:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.02.53 PM

As you can see the course starts at Institute Park

  • takes a right on Park Ave
  • bangs a sharp right on Grove St
  • passes the mile mark around Tweeds
  • takes a left onto Salisbury St
  • a quick right under the Ernest Johnson Tunnel
  • left onto School Street by the courthouse
  • right onto Major Taylor Boulevard
  • right onto Foster Street by the DCU Center
  • back through the Ernest Johnson Tunnel going the other way
  • left onto Salisbury Street, before following that to the finish line at Institute Park where the race began

The race gets interesting in the Ernest Johnson Tunnel. It’s dark and there are hundreds of people running towards the courthouse, while others are running in the opposite direction. Thus the race organizers put cones there in order to separate runners going in the opposite directions.

I’ve never been to this race, but from what I’m told the race organizers do a world class job. There is plenty of water along the way and volunteers throughout the course make sure people who need help can get it.

With that said, here is what it looks like when you come out of the Ernest Johnson Tunnel:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.14.52 PM

And this is where they would turn left onto School Street:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.23.19 PM

I love when Google Earth satellites catch you doing funny things like this poor fat bastard. Anyway, this is close to where the scene of the alleged crime took place. Our first witness gives his account:

I was running through the tunnel for a second time. While I was in the tunnel I saw a woman wearing a red shirt with a dark hat jump from the outbound side to the inbound side in front of me. She was going very slowly so I immediately passed her and never saw her again. I figured she was dropping out of the race because it was so hot. Then I was surprised to see later on that she was accepting her award for finishing in second place for women.”


The second witness shares a similar story:

I passed her about 400 meters from the finish. It was strange because she was half jogging and half walking, and she had a red shirt on with a hat. Normally people towards the front of the race don’t walk. I was surprised because I knew what place I was in, and I knew for a fact that there were not any women in front of me. I thought maybe she had dropped out or didn’t run the race. But then I saw her collect her awards later on. 

The third witness had this to say:

I wasn’t sure what place I was in, but I knew there were three women in front of me and my friends wouldn’t let me hear the end of it if I lost to three women. Then I looked at the results later on and I found out I had lost to four women, not three. There was no way there were four women in front of me. I’m 100% sure it was three. One of them had to have cut the course. All three women were dressed like experienced runners – two in pink and one in black. 

We also spoke with multiple female runners who finished amongst the top 10 women overall. Three of them stuck around to watch the awards because they received prizes for finishing in the top 3 in their particular age group. Three different women have messages us and told us that the woman who accepted the prize for second place overall was NOT in front of them during the race and had not passed them.

What is being alleged here is that the female runner in question essentially cut off this whole section of the race:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.17.03 PM

As you can see, it is approximately 1.25 miles in total that were avoided. Thus, she was approximately 1.25 miles behind the runner who witnessed her do the U-turn in the Johnson tunnel.

Here are the resultsAs you can see the female winner was a 28 year old named Cathryn Chviruk, finishing 11th overall:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.29.19 PM

The second place women’s finisher was Theresa Pickens. Look closely at the finishing times. The times listed are your “total time,” meaning the time that elapsed from when you crossed the starting line until you crossed the finish line. This is not the same thing as “gun time” which is the time that has elapsed between when the gun goes off and the runner crosses the finish line.

You will notice that Theresa’s time of 22:12 put her in 16th place overall. However, her time is FASTER than the two men in front of her – Barry Lorion and Michael McGovern, both of whom finished 15 seconds slower than that.

So what gives? This is basically proof positive that Theresa did not run the whole race. Every runner has an electronic chip on their bib. The clock on the chip officially starts once they cross the starting line, and finishes once they cross the finish line. During these races the fastest runners generally start in the front.

However, since the slower runners start in the back, it usually takes them between 10-30 seconds just to get to the starting line. Thus sometimes a runner can finish physically in front of someone else, but still complete the race in a faster time because it took the runner longer to get to the starting line.

That is what appears to have happened here. Theresa Pickens started in the back because she is a novice runner. It took her approximately 18 seconds just to get to the starting line. Therefore the two male runners in front of her whose times were 15 and 16 seconds slower, were still able to cross the finish line before her. Got it? Cool.

The next step to get to the bottom of this was to find out what Theresa Pickens normally runs for a 5K, so we could compare it to her time in this race. Although runners times tend to differentiate slightly from race to race, for the most part a runner’s times are pretty consistent. If she was good enough to finish 2nd place overall in a field of 1,127, then she would almost definitely come up in a Google search.

So we Googled, “coolrunning race results Massachusetts Theresa Pickens” and this is what we found:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.40.23 PM

As you can see, the Google spiders picked up various “Theresa’s” and “Pickens'” on Coolrunning, but never a “Theresa Pickens.” Coolrunning.com is a database that holds race results, primarily from Massachusetts since the late 1990’s. Anyone who has run a road race in Massachusetts would certainly come up on this search. Yet there is not a single race result on Coolrunning that indicates that Theresa Pickens has ever completed a race before. But on Sunday she defeated several very accomplished runners. For instance, when you search for the same thing with the winner, Cathryn Chviruk, this is what you get:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.39.00 PM

Nasty. Cathy has run a 1:27 half marathon. That’s pretty disgusting (in a good way). Now let’s Google “3rd place” women’s finisher Stefani Penn:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.40.09 PM

She usually runs 5K’s right around 20 minutes. It would make sense that she finished where she did for this race. Now let’s Google “4th place” women’s finished Emily Malone, a 21 year old from Grafton:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.39.40 PM

As you can see, Emily recently won the Grafton Gazebo 5 mile race in May. Her pace in that race is slightly slower than the pace that “3rd place” finisher Stefani Penn runs, so it would make sense that she would finish 10 seconds behind her in this race.

Generally speaking runners don’t come out of nowhere and defeat experienced distance runners in 90 degree weather. So we went to look at the pictures from the finish line on Massfirepics.comHere are the pictures of Cathryn Chviruk, Stefani Penn, and Emily Malone finishing:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.03.19 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.03.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.03.51 PM

As you can see, their outfits match the description that our emasculated male source gave us. Pink, pink, black. The story seems to make sense. Now here is Theresa Pickens finishing about 20 yards in front of Stefani Penn:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.16.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.16.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.17.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.17.21 PM

As you can see, the first giveaway that our sources are reliable is the fact that she fits the description – red shirt and a hat. But more importantly, you could tell something is amuk because of the same thing that caused people to question Rosie Ruiz – she doesn’t look like a runner. We don’t need to explain exactly HOW we can tell that, but it’s pretty obvious if you look at the pictures. She’s also wearing a Boston Red Sox hat, which no runner of that caliber would EVER do on a day like this.

You can also see in the sequence of pictures that she is getting smoked on the final straightaway, which indicates that the runner wearing bib #15 is much faster than her. Yet they finished at close to the same time.

Now I’m not saying that this woman 150% cheated. But in a court of law, she would probably be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We have eyewitness accounts, Google searches, and photographic evidence. The only thing that could officially put this to bed would be a picture of this runner on the course BEFORE entering the tunnel the first time. If she was up near the top female runners two miles into the race, then she obviously didn’t cheat. So if anyone has pictures that show this, we encourage you to bring them forward to exonerate her and restore her honor.

Likewise if anyone out there has a picture of Theresa Pickens anywhere else in the course BEFORE entering the tunnel for the first time, we encourage to bring them forward. Because if she was a mile in back of the leading female runners as is being alleged, then there’s no possible way she could have caught up to them. A car couldn’t do that without breaking the speed limit.

Look, we debated on even writing this story. We weren’t sure anyone would care so we threw it out on Facebook to see if there was an interest. It got hundreds of likes within an hour and hundreds more comments. A general sentiment we saw was that this was for charity. The purpose of the race is to honor the Worcester 6 and John Davies, by running the full 6 kilometers in their honor. Cheating in an event like this is at best, in poor taste, and at worst, disrespectful to the 1,126 runners who didn’t cheat and the firefighters that they were honoring by running.

So what the hell was Theresa Perkins thinking? I can see if she cut the course because she realized it was too much and wanted to quit. That’s fine. If that was the case it would make sense to walk and jog back towards the finish. But she fucked up when she did two things – 1) crossed the finish line, and 2) accepted the awards under false pretenses.

Ultimately the only people who were affected by this were Stefani Penn and Emily Malone. Penn REALLY finished in second overall, but was given the award for third place instead. At least she got something though. Emily Malone got nothing because there is no award for fourth place. It was stolen from her and she deserves it because she earned it.

We’d also like to point out that one of the reasons we debated writing this was because of the effect it might have. Turtleboy Sports has grown more than we ever thought it would. Over 25,000 people rode the turtle on Tuesday alone. We knew that if we wrote this, then this girl’s name would be severely tarnished.

We also realized that there are a lot of nudniks out there who would be inclined to appoint themselves Deputy Dooshnozzle of the Internet, and harass Theresa Perkins. Don’t do that. Please don’t bother her. The shame is enough. Did she fuck up? Sure. But I highly doubt she’d do it again if she knew she’d end up on Turtleboy. I honestly think she wanted to drop out of the race and then let her emotions take over once she realized people were cheering her on. It was probably thrilling and she thought she could get away with it, so she just played the part.

I’m sure she’ll see this eventually, so we encourage her to come forward, surrender her prize, and do the right thing. But we don’t need the Deputy Dooshnozzle’s of the world to force her out of hiding.

P.S. We reached out to Theresa Perkins to hear her side of the story, not once, not twice, but three times. We still have yet to hear back from her.

Double P.S. We’d be curious to hear from Chviruk too if anyone knows her. After all, if what is being alleged is true, then she would have passed her somewhere towards the end of the race. It would’ve been great theater and the thousands of people who showed up to cheer on the runners would’ve noticed the spectacular finish unfolding in front of their eyes.

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41 Comment(s)
  • dowen0895
    Dick Scratcher
    February 27, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Did any transgendered dues pretending to be women take the women’s prizes?

    Because that’s fair.

    You can even win State Championships by having blokes pretending to be birds.

    • dowen0895
      Dick Scratcher
      February 27, 2019 at 9:46 am

      I meant “dudes”. Obvs. 🙂

  • Meg W.
    June 13, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Wait, Perkins or Pickens?

  • 100$ in beer
    June 12, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Cheating is more admirable than running the Boston Marathon bandit. At least the person had the decency to pay, and register for the race. Aidan Kearney (TBS), your bandit running is more shameful than short cutting a few hundred meters. You’re the true low life with no morals. Quick find Aidan another safe space because this one is being invaded by the truth!

  • Troll Inspector General
    June 18, 2015 at 11:43 am

    This is some Alpha Level trolling! I am in awe of her troll skills.

  • Paul Foster
    June 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    “First off, nice running analysis and stereotype of a “runner.”

    Second, “I’ve never been to this race, but from what I’m told the race organizers do a world class job.” Okay, then how did she get away with cheating?

    Third, “Now I’m not saying that this woman 150% cheated. But in a court of law, she would probably be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Where did you get your law degree, again?”

    • GoneWest
      June 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Anyone else have déjà vu right now?

  • william wallace
    June 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    The issue with starting your discussion with the Ruiz event years ago has nothing to do with it’s lack of credibility as an event or that it is not a comparable story to this alleged act of cheating. The issue with using the instance at all is simply that you are taking an analogous event and using it to support your conclusion of this event. It is even more predominant as the preface to the entire discussion.

    Doing so not only steers the argument in the direction you want by creating a perceived logical fallacy, but also creates the generalization that women cheat in races. It is not appropriate to conduct an argument; especially an alleged one, in this manner. Why then would you choose an issue of a woman cheating if not to draw the conclusion women cheat at racing and thus support the general case the article makes?

    The impression the reader starts with is this generalization. Even if this was not the intent, this is certainly an effect. I understand the concept of using a specific example or supporting event to make for a more interesting and compelling discussion. However you can see clearly the generalization drawn that ‘women cheat to win races’ if you attempt to objectively proof this article.

    • RJ
      June 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Why then would you choose an issue of a woman cheating if not to draw the conclusion women cheat at racing and thus support the general case the article makes?
      The Ruiz story is a local, high profile incidence of cheating in a road race by dodging the actual route. A single, high profile example in no way makes an argument that women cheat at racing, as a blanket statement. That’s just stupid. If that’s what you’re getting out of it, that’s on you.

    • Stop the madness.
      June 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Meh…I am a woman and am not at all offended by the comparison to the 1980’s cheater. In fact, when I first heard about this alleged cheater it was the first thing that came to my mind before TB even decided to write the blog about it.

    • June 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      I feel bad for you that you choose to live life thinking the worst of everything. Be well.

  • MassFirePics.Com
    June 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Wow.. I went there to photo a few friends who were running in the race. Once I got there and saw how many people and how big this race was I decided to photograph more than my friends.(First time ever going)
    I’m shocked to hear of this especially on a memorial race for 7 firefighters who were killed doing their job in Worcester. Very sad and disrespectful if this is true (that she cheated)
    Thanks for the credit for using the pics also.
    Be interested in finding out what really happened.

  • oneopinion
    June 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve run many 5-10ks and the opportunities are there. The biggest race I’ve run more than once is the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston. In that race here’s what happened every year: The anouncer tells people to line up by time. First he tells the 4-5 minute milers to come out, then the under sixes, then the under sevens…. when the under sevens get called its a huge group compared to the first two so a bunch of OBVIOSLY not under sevens line up just to geton the course. I lined up at the back of that group because I was barely sub seven. Once the race starts theres a huge bottle neck because so many people lined up in the wrong group. Like the Firefighter race the Corporate Challenge doubles back and every year I passed a ton of the same people in BOTH directions. It doesnt matter because none of us placed but I saw these frauds log sub seven minute miles year after year. Some of them worked in the same industry as me and I knew them from business dealings.

  • Mike
    June 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    No way she ran sub 6 minute pace for 6K! Especially in the heat. Look at the leg muscles, and the body fat content. Both my wife and daughter were sub 6 minute 5K runners. If I cold post picks you’d see the muscles in the legs, and arms, in a very specific runner oriented definition that’s built up over many hundreds of miles for base training. Then there’s the running form that’s honed over many, many speed training workouts on a track, or at least interval sessions on the roads. This woman has absolutely none of that. After the Rosie incident I managed the Boston Marathon video checkpoints, and it caught several of these kinds of cheats. Sorry, but being a high millage training distance runner myself, married to a pretty elite distance runner, and my daughter was also a high school cross country, indoor and outdoor miler/2 miler champion — I can’t stand to see cheaters, and this one cheated without any doubt.

    • oneopinion
      June 17, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      I accidentally did thumbs down. The page moved or something. I meant thumbs up.

    • BobnMic
      June 18, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Mike – that was the first thing I did was compare Rosie Ruiz’ and Theresa Pickens pictures here in this article. What is the first thing you notice in the two pics that are similar? That the both of them are not physically conditioned long distance runners. Otherwise you would see less body fat and more muscle mass and definition like the other three real female runners depicted.

      And nobody but nobody runs a marathon wearing black crew length socks. The only time anyone would be running wearing black socks is if you were a guy about to get married but decided to bolt out of the church wearing your tux, black shoes and said black socks because you had a radical change of mind…

  • COB
    June 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Man, I would love to tongue-punch this chick’s fart box! 😀

  • Victoria
    June 17, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I ran this race twice in the past three years- both times pregnant. Believe me, that extra “K” is killer, especially on a 90 degree afternoons. Now, I also have an incredibly talented fiancé who ran the race. When I was inside the tunnel going In the first time, I witnessed the first eleven runners coming back through, after completing their circle and on their way back to finish. I count, so I can yell to my fiancé his place and tell him to run faster. In the tunnel, as I was counting, there was ONE female I counted. I saw my significant other at place 11 and told him to move his ass and get in the top ten.

    I say again… One female. I witnessed the top eleven people and only one was a woman. Now. The person who she happened to jump in front of (who was a top ten finisher and badass) said this happened in the tunnel. If this was true… She was running slower than me. I want to reiterate that I was running on a 90 degree day, while pregnant. My pace by the end of the day was 10:30. I finished with a 38:02 time and was pretty pleased to just finish without giving up or cheating. If she was behind me in the tunnel, before she jumped into the other lane to finish in the top twenty, that means her pace was slower than 10:30/mi and slower than a big fat pregnant lady.

    I have finished top of my age group before; even got a top woman overall place once (when not incubating a human and training). It was a move me to tears moment each time. seeing your hard work and training pay off. So anyone who takes that away from someone else by cheating…. There’s something very sad and very wrong with her. I hope she does the right thing.

  • Yes
    June 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Is there anywhere on the planet more utterly meaningless, and completely off the radar of the civilized world, than Worcester, MA? My goodness. Being from Worcester is like being from nowhere, absolutely nowhere.

  • Hoov
    June 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Cue T&G Article in…. 5…4..3…

  • rumpis
    June 17, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I agree you may have something here…but was the first story in the beginning really necessary? You will give honest, strong women a bad rep and create an stereotype if not careful…you have power TB, and with that comes journalist/ blog responsibility, which is needed even more so online. I mean you come across like you are out to get women runners and seeing if they are cheating, (and the fact that she is a person of color doesnt help your case) when in all reality, I think you are on to something good here (which is true most of the time).

    But back to the story at hand yea….i mean look at her shoes even. They are not really runner shoes and they look so clean. Also she barley looks tired like the rest of the people, not just women, but people…. Im curious how this will play out.

    • Young Townie
      June 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      A little overly sensitive, rumpis? The Rosie Ruiz story is given because it is the most famous example of someone cheating in a road race. It is just a coincidence that Rosie Ruiz happened to be a woman. Anyone who reads this story and gets the vibe that TB is trying to discredit women runners has a few issues that probably need to be dealt with.

      • rumpis
        June 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        exactly my point…he is trying to create a vibe, which can also create stereotypes. I have take a few college level writing classes and this is a big no no, especially in this day and age of social media. It has nothing to do with sensitivity, just responsibility as a write, especially one with power….

        He has a good enough case it not necessary.

        • Frankie
          June 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm

          Way to make it about race at two comments in.

          Also: Using college level writing classes to push PC SJW agenda => +1

        • June 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm

          If you can provide us an example of a man who cheated to win the Boston Marathon we are all ears

        • Lee Nguyen
          June 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm

          First off, nice running analysis and stereotype of a “runner.”

          Second, “I’ve never been to this race, but from what I’m told the race organizers do a world class job.” Okay, then how did she get away with cheating?

          Third, “Now I’m not saying that this woman 150% cheated. But in a court of law, she would probably be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Where did you get your law degree, again?

          • June 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm

            Shut the fuck up.

          • Lee Nguyen
            June 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm

            Thank you for that comment Turtleboy. How old are you again?

        • Wabbitt
          June 18, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          “I took a course in college” is literally at the top of the internet know it all checklist.

          • Aidan is the turtle
            June 12, 2016 at 2:14 am

            Lee Nguyen, TBS (Aidan Kearney) graduated South High in 2000 so he’s about 34 years old. Please don’t call him out though, it compromises his safe space! btw, Aidan these comments are posting with a date from 2015. Can you please fix your outdated website? Thank you kindly in advance

    • rumpis
      June 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      …and those socks…Im no pro at running but she is definitely a noob when it comes to the sport….with the witness statements, these pics and other evidence you will collect, I think she is busted.

      Also, check out her facebook page….not a single pic of her running in sight…most of my runner friends clog my newsfeed with their accomplishments and acts of non-laziness

    • June 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      So it’s okay if We call out cheaters. But they can’t be women or people of color. Make sense

      • rumpis
        June 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        I mean do you always want to look like you are going after women and people of color? That what it seems like as of late…I know its not your motive, and i love your articles, but its looking that way.

        And yes its better to point out if they are cheaters…or dishonest, etc.

        • Jafreese
          June 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm

          Maybe she just “identifies” herself as a runner and we should all accept her for that

        • RJ
          June 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm

          So should it be ignored? He didn’t create the story, he just wrote about it. If she cheated, she cheated, and it has nothing to do with her gender or her skin color.

        • June 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm

          We want to make it look like we’re out for cheaters. We’re colorblind and genderblind when it comes to who we expose. Apparently you are not.

    • Sissy Hankshaw
      June 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      not trying to be a dick but the Rosie Ruiz story is huge in historical context…there’s really no way to write an article about someone cheating in a road race without mentioning it. Someone would’ve brought it up in the comments anyway. I really don’t think it has anything to do with race or gender, just history.

      • Sissy Hankshaw
        June 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm

        I should also add, that as a fatass, I find running to be more of a spectator sport best enjoyed with a bloody mary in hand so what do I know.?

  • Jafreese
    June 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve run this race before and it is top notch. Were those the official pics from the photograph company for the race? If not then find out which photograph company was used for this race, you should be able to look up her bib number and get shots of her in different locations along the route.

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