Ryan Retreats From Claim He Ran Marathon in Under 3 Hours

Ryan Accused of Falsities in Speech by Obama Team, Fact Checkers
Paul Ryan’s prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention had delegates on their feet cheering and President Barack Obama’s campaign and independent fact checkers saying Ryan made as many as seven statements that were false or distorted. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Paul Ryan, facing criticism for what fact-checkers said were false or distorted statements in his speech to the Republican National Convention, is now qualifying another claim: his best marathon time.

The Republican vice presidential candidate, a Wisconsin congressman, said on the Hugh Hewitt Radio show Aug. 23 that his personal best for a 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) marathon was “under three, high twos. I had a two-hour-and-fifty something.”

“I was fast when I was younger, yeah,” Ryan said, according to an online transcript of the interview. “I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore.”

After Runner’s World magazine reported on its website it couldn’t find any marathon results by Ryan, his campaign told the publication he ran a race called Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, while he was a college student. Ryan finished in 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds in 1990, the magazine reported yesterday.

“The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin -- who ran Boston last year -- reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three,” Ryan said in comments provided by his campaign spokesman, Brendan Buck. “If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three.”

GM Controversy

Ryan’s most contentious statement during his Aug. 29 nomination-acceptance speech in Tampa, Florida, involved a General Motors Co. factory in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. Ryan said President Barack Obama had promised to keep the plant open, and now it is “locked up and empty to this day.”

The plant actually closed in December 2008, according to the Janesville Gazette, and Obama didn’t take office until the following month.

PolitiFact, the non-partisan fact-checking organization, rated Ryan’s statement as false. Their term of art for such matters is “pants on fire.”

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