Marathon Cheater Busted



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Nobody is perfect, says banned Comrades man February 06 2004 at 03:55AM By Craig Bishop and
Staff Reporters

People sometimes do the wrong things for the right reasons. That was the explanation given on
Thursday by Andre van de Vyver, the Comrades marathon runner who was caught cheating and banned for
life by the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA).

"We live in a world where nothing is perfect and things do go wrong," he added as justification for
running the 2002 Comrades Marathon with his own timing chip attached to one shoe while that of his
son, Willem, was attached to the other.

Father and son were subsequently banned for life by the CMA for their deceit.

'We have never heard such an excuse' They apparently did it to retain their sequential Comrades
numbers, 4990 and 4991. They feared the son would lose his number, 4990 – that it would lapse if
he did not run.

This was rejected by runners and CMA chairperson John van den Aardweg. “Nonsense. We have never
heard such an excuse. Race numbers are kept for several years,” Van den Aardweg said.

“What on Earth were they trying to achieve? They were only cheating themselves. It goes against
the very spirit of Comrades, where you only run against yourself,” he said.

Esselen Park Athletic Club chairperson Malcolm Honeywill also dismissed the reason. He said the club
had initiated the investigation by alerting the CMA to their fraud in the 2002 and 2003 ultra-

“Two of our runners ran with him (Andre) in 2003, and spoke to him, and he (Willem) was not
with him."

Andre was well known for running for charity “We don’t need people like that,” said Honeywill.

He added that the pair also faced a ban from provincial meetings.

Father and son have recorded identical splits for the 1999, 2002 and 2003 race, while they recorded
differing splits and finishing times in 2000, proving that both had run that year.

It was found that last year the father had worn his son’s ChampionChip – the magnetic chip tied
on the shoelaces, which is recorded at five timing mats along the course of the race. Both men
achieved identical splits throughout the race.

Official photographers Action Photo captured photos of Andre completing the race, in a time
of 10.14.22, while there were none of Willem, whose ChampionChip nevertheless recorded a time
of 10.14.23.

One of the finish-line photographs clearly showed Andre wearing two ChampionChips.

Photographic evidence for the 2002 marathon proved that only Andre participated that year.

There was no photographic evidence for 1999, so the two men were disqualified for 2002 and 2003.

The CMA decided on a lifetime ban on the basis that the Van de Vyvers had committed a
multiple offence.

Willem said on Thursday that he would appeal against the ban.

Former Esselen club captain Kobie van Eck said he did not believe the Van de Vyvers cheated. “This
shocked me right down to my toes. I have known Andre for 10 years, and it is not in his or his
son’s nature to cheat.”

He said Andre was well known for running for charity.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on February 06, 2004
Being banned for life from a marathon is about as serious as receiving a lifetime ban from Chucky
Cheese's. The shame of it all.