Not to beat a dead Pheidippides (the Greek soldier who ran what’s considered the first marathon in 490 B.C. and then promptly collapsed and died), but Ryan’s lie about his marathon run can’t be dismissed as a simple error.
Ask some dedicated runners what they think. We did. We contacted one in another state, someone who is not an activist or a political professional. We simply asked him what he thought about the situation. The response:
"I don’t buy his comment that it was an honest mistake. He knew exactly what he was saying when he said it. That’s why the running world called him out on it. Anyone who has run a marathon – no matter how long ago – will undoubtedly remember their finish time, probably down to the minute or two and possibly down to the second in many cases. I’ve run a lot of marathons and finished several ironman events. I can tell you my approximate finish times for each race give or take a minute or two. You simply don’t forget these things. Anyone in the running world would tell you it’s an extremely difficult feat to run a sub-3-hour marathon. The average marathon finish time is over 4 hours. Not many people go under 3. I’ve never done it. I’ve come close at 3:08. But even a 3:08 is considered a long way from going under 3."
"It takes a lot of nerve to hold oneself out running under 3 hours when you haven’t. That Ryan said he did is not surprising. After all, he’s in the business of exaggerating. That he thought he could get away with it is the shocking part."
In the scheme of things, it’s more important that he’s lying about policies that will affect our lives – Medicare, his budget, health care, aid to the poor, abortion, the national debt – and lying about things like the GM Janesville plant in an effort to get him and Mitt Romney to the White House and get them more power over our lives.
This lie about the marathon, while not directly about us, is very much about Paul Ryan's character. It wasn’t a memory lapse. It was a lie.
And when he’s willing to lie about this, nothing he says can be trusted.
The marathon lie signals more huge whoppers buried in his past -- and coming down the road. As with Pheidippides, we’re the ones who will suffer (hopefully to a much lesser degree) if he gets away with them.