September 2011


Brenda… McVinua was working as a volunteer in the “chute” near the finish line, and was impressed with the former vice-presidential candidate’s form. “She wasn’t even breathing hard. You could tell she’s an athlete. If you didn’t know better you would have thought she’d just run around the block once or twice.” – Storm Lake Pilot Tribune

Photo posted on Gretawire 04 Sept 2011

Because this photo struck some of us as odd, 184 commenters joined me in actively pouring over all the available photographs chronicling the events of 04 September 2011 in Storm Lake Iowa. This is what I (we) believe really happened at the SLRC Jump Right In & Run Half Marathon on 04 September 2011 and why.

What we know w/comments in italics:

Sarah Palin had been under scrutiny in the blogs for more than a month for her increasingly gaunt physical appearance. Rumours surfaced from an anonymous commenter at The Immoral Minority claiming to be linked to Sarah’s inner circle of loyalists and claiming that he/she had personal knowledge of Sarah being so obsessed with her weight and appearance that she was binging and purging food and taking non-prescribed diet pills. (For the purpose of this narrative, it matters not that these rumours prove true or false, only that Sarah knew the rumours were circulating. It is Sarah’s personal writer Rebecca Mansour who unwittingly outed Sarah as keeping up with the Alaska, anti-palin blogs.)

Sarah was registered to run in the SLRC race before her trip to Iowa on 02 September 2011. She was registered under her maiden name, Sarah Heath. Running in the event was not something she or Todd could have arranged at the last minute, it was scheduled in advance. How far in advance, we don’t know, but SLRC rules did not allow for impromptu entries. This provided ample opportunity to survey the course and grounds.

Sarah and Todd stayed at the Kings Pointe Hotel (see yellow #1 in the map below) the night before. They would not have needed to check out until after the race, meaning they would have had access to the room during the race.

Todd picked up her running packet early. Sarah would not join the other runners until closer to the 7:30am race time, but we know she was recognised as a gentleman identifying himself as Teledude later wrote on his pro-palin blog that his wife, a participant in the race, recognised Sarah at 7am and called him from the course on her cell to urge him to drive out to get a glimpse of Sarah and Todd. He was instructed to not say anything to others as Sarah didn’t want it known she was there. The race was personal she’d purportedly whispered to the woman, thus assuring her silence.

Three races were run simultaneously that day. The half marathon, a half marathon relay and a 5k run/walk. The half marathon runners lined up on one side of a grassy meridian while the 5k runners/walkers lined up on the other side. All the races began at the same time, the centre meridian dividing the half marathon racers from the 5k racers for several metres.

Hours after the end of the Jump Right In & Run half marathon race, after winners had been determined and medals handed out, the photo at the top of this post was published on Gretawire, a blog belonging to Greta Van Susteran of Fox News Channel and offered as a news release that Sarah Palin had in fact, earlier in the day, run in the SLRC race and even took second place in her age group. It was noted that Sarah had fooled everyone by registering under her maiden name (Sarah Heath) and not even the race officials recognised her until after she crossed the finish line. Her official time of 1:46 (13 consecutive 8 min miles) would be published the following day in the official .pdf results posted on the SLRC website.

On Monday this photo emerged of Sarah walking across the finish line

The red jumper and white headband were gone. For five days these would be the only photos posted anywhere online showing Sarah as an active participant of the race. Privately taken photos of Sarah and Todd after the race (the 2nd place medal strangely looped over her arm) showing Sarah posing with race organisers and participants surfaced by Monday night on the flickr account of one of the organisers. By now Teledude had posted his one photo of Sarah standing with him and his wife with the chute in the background.

The official photographs posted for view and sale on the SLRC website appeared five days later. There were two photos taken of Sarah placing her, in both shots, with the 5k pack, and both appear to have been taken at the beginning and early leg of the race. There are no photos of her at any of the water stops or anywhere else along the route even though there was more than one official photographer taking photos that day, that the number of registered runners was relatively small and that most other runners can be found in multiple photos, throughout the entire half marathon course.

There are photos taken that show Todd behind the finish line, beside the chute. He’s holding a rolled-up bright red fabric, the same colour as Sarah’s red jumper. It was reported that Todd ran interference, hurrying Sarah through the candid photos taken after the race with other runners and locals, ostensibly to get her aboard an awaiting plane.

This is the (7 mile long) map showing all three race courses:

What we think we know w/comments in italics:

I (we) believe the initial photo posted on Gretawire is a composite of different photos taken by Todd at the beginning of the race and emailed directly to someone in the Palin camp to be merged into a single image showing Sarah pulling away from the back of the 5k pack, presumably to show her darting ahead and join the other half marathon runners. Todd was seen, recognised and spoken to in the starting area of the race and he could have stood in one spot and clicked different views of the 5/k runners as they went by. (No one ever stepped forward to claim photo rights to the only photo shown round the world of the famous Sarah Palin running a 13 mile race – and no exif info was ever retrieved from the image.)

On the map above, the half marathon course is shown in blue, the relay in dark red and the 5k in bright red. Sarah could easily have stayed on the 5k course, unnoticed, wearing the red jumper and wide headband as she bobbed in between the runners who had already seen her wearing them at the start. She could have ducked into the toilet (green T near yellow #3) and removed her visor, headband, numbered bib and red jumper, waited for Todd, strolled back to the hotel or blended in with other bystanders, confidant that none of the 5k runners or walkers or any passers-by would have taken any notice of her without the identifiable running togs.

She might have even stuck it out long enough to run the first half of the 5k course, ducking into the hotel as she passed by the parking lot.

I’ve not said this before because it sounds so James Bond-ish it’s almost embarrassing – on the other hand, this is Sarah, for whom nothing is too outrageous, so forgive the slight melodrama but here’s a thought… It is possible the wide headband had a purpose. The compression-bandage sized width and thickness would have covered and held in place a Bluetooth earpiece by which Todd could have helped her leave the course without being seen. Sarah could have let him know when she was approaching a pre-arranged spot and waited for him to tell her no one was looking. An earpiece – admittedly a far-fetched idea on my part- would allow any number of scenarios, each rife with an opportunity to cheat.

But even without fancy gadgetry, Todd and Sarah had ample time the night before to walk the track and make a plan. They had plenty of time to select areas that would seem convenient to slip out of and back into the race. If they didn’t communicate via electronics, Todd could have planned to meet Sarah at a predetermined point. He could have given her his big blue jacket and shielded her from sight until it was time to walk back to a point near the end of the race where she could just slip back in. No longer in the red jumper and headband, no one would have paid any attention. Todd could have dumped water on her shoulders to hide the fact she wasn’t over-heated and sweating. Then Sarah could have run a short distance to clock-in at the finish line in just under two hours – exactly one-half the time of her record run back in ’05 for exactly one-half the distance.

According to the article in the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune linked above: Sarah reportedly said “Boy that was fun!” as she crossed the finish line. And according to their eye-witness, Brenda McVinua, she wasn’t even out of breath.

Wow. What a great image for a mother of five and White House aspirant!

Food for thought: If Sarah’s record-breaking run in a 2005 marathon of 3:59:36 (26 consecutive 9 minute miles) was legitimate, she might have assumed she could go half the distance six years later, with little or no training. (If it wasn’t legitimate, she might have used the false time as a measure for how fast she needed to finish half the distance to appear legitimate.)

Whether she and Todd Googled half marathon schedules or called in favours, she was registered to run in the SLRC race before her trip to Iowa on the 2nd. In a small race, in a small town and registered under her maiden name her presence would not have been expected, allowing her to blend in with the other racers until she was ready to reveal her identity.

Appearing in a half marathon would conveniently dispel the rumours of Sarah being unfit physically. The irony of running a race in the month of September would certainly not be lost on her and would probably signal renewed hope and energy to those supporters she’d just disappointed less than 24 hours previously by not announcing a 2012 candidacy.

I’m sure some of you are going to make me wear the Bluetooth comment. No worries. I learned a long time ago that in order to get to one truly good idea you have to wade through about a hundred really bad ones. But before you start the head-shaking and mocking, humour me for a few seconds more. Go back and take another look at the half marathon course. While you’re looking, mull over the fact that Todd is photographed in the finish line/chute area holding the red jumper which Sarah is neither wearing nor holding as she crosses the finish line. If Sarah ran the full half marathon, how did Todd know where – in 13 miles of track over 7 miles of ground – to pick up the red jumper and headband? If they pre-arranged a pick-up, how did Sarah know – before the race – when she would need to take it off?

I didn’t know this before the SLRC race but according to real marathoners who commented on my early questions, runners routinely use disposable clothing specifically so they can pitch layers as they warm up and not worry about losing items of value. Why didn’t Sarah just toss her red jumper? She’s a millionaire after all. She could have tossed her jumper and bought a dozen more in the hotel gift shop an hour later.

And why was Todd holding the jumper, all bunched up in a wad to begin with? Why would he walk around with this in his hands for 30 minutes to an hour – or more? Why not just put it in their room or leave it in the car? Either would have been conveniently close by. It crossed my mind that perhaps Sarah didn’t toss the red jumper during the race because if she’s not a real runner – like me – she might not have known that’s what other runners do. It’s more likely that in an effort to fake participation, she would have deliberately given Todd her jumper to purposefully hold onto the ten or fifteen minutes before re-entering the race so no one would question where it went….

Running With Sarah: Did she or didn’t she? (Summary Part 3 to follow)

[Back to Summary Part 1]

I have to run… Sweat is my sanity. A great frustration I had during the campaign was when the McCain staff wouldn’t carve out time for me to go for a run. The days never went as well if I couldn’t get out there and sweat. – Sarah Palin  Runners World Aug 2009

It’s a bit back to front I admit, but after the dust settled on the week-long photo-opsy of the Gretawire picture and while putting together a summary of sorts to close the book on the subject, yet another puzzling observation surfaced, this time popping out at me from *a comment previously overlooked in my endeavour to deal with just the photographic evidence on hand. But I believe the train of thought evoked by this comment belongs at the front of this piece rather than at the end as it speaks directly to the validity of Sarah Palin’s public record as a runner, and I think it would benefit anyone reading the summary to be aware of these facts – and they are documented facts – while digging through the preponderance of anomalies discovered in photographs the Palins offered as proof positive that Sarah earned her silver medal at the Storm Lake Running Club on 04 September 2011.

For the record – there is no public record of Sarah Palin being an avid, dedicated runner capable of setting records and winning top medals.

Among Alaskans, Sarah’s name is associated with a marathon remembered as Running with the Devil but the remembered date varies between 2001 and 2003. I’ve performed searches on archived run results from 2000 to 2004 and neither her married nor maiden name appears in official results of archive searches associated with this event.

The name Sarah Palin surfaces in running circles for the first time in the 2nd Annual Curtis C. Menard II Memorial 5k/10k run in 2003 held in Wasilla AK. Sarah ran with Todd, Bristol and Willow in the 5k run.

Their recorded ages and times were:

Sarah Palin, 39, 23:50.30
Bristol Palin, 12, 39:19:40
Willow Palin, 8, 43:53:30
Todd Palin, 38, 55:28:50

Sarah’s name next appears in 2005 where her recorded time of 3:59.36 set a record in the Humpy’s Marathon. There is no public record of her training for this race, nor have any anecdotes of her training in private ever emerged (that we can find) in Alaska newspapers (not even in Wasilla where she had been mayor for several years).

In 2009 Sarah publicly announced her intent to run in two separate charity events, both of which she exited in the early laps claiming both times the press she’d attracted threatened to ruin the integrity of the race for the other runners. (It’s fair to note that both of these charity runs would have been photographed anyway, with or without her presence.)

Save a single episode in high school where her participation in a basketball game earned her the nickname Sarah the Barracuda, no college, university, high school, private gymnasium, community sports club or local joggers ever came forward during the 2008 campaign with photos or anecdotes of Sarah as an athlete, much less a dedicated, top-notch runner. Surely the McCain campaign would have jumped at the chance to pony up such a story…

Other than these four events (a 5k run in 2003, marathon in 2005 and two incomplete charity runs in 2009) there are no photo-based stories backing her (many) claims of being a serious runner who for her entire adult life has run “at least 3 miles” per day (whenever she can). She has, however, been paid handsomely for more than one photo op-ed which touts her as such.

To maintain a body so disciplined one can – on a moment’s notice – step into a race without the usual physical preparation, even 15 and 20 years after high school, and after having birthed 4 or 5 children to set record times and rake in top medals – one must surely be a profoundly superior athlete. But those of us who have followed Sarah for the past three years just find this explanation – odd.

And if that thought isn‘t curious enough on its own, some of us also find it odd that there is no documentation of Sarah’s lifelong journey as an avid runner. None. No team photos from her days in college, no community runs organised as mayor of Wasilla or even as governor of Alaska. In Sarah’s own words I have to run… Sweat is my sanity.

This is the age of IPOD. Where’s the candid footage of Sarah doing all this running?

Raw talent only goes so far. Athletes who excel in their sport make certain commitments to train, practice and participate in local, state and national events. There is evidence Sarah Palin may indeed have the raw talent but there’s not one shred of evidence she’s made the commitment or puts in the time necessary to turn that talent into record-breaking, medal-winning athletics.

Not without cheating.

*From AKShutterbug (whose comment below made us look beyond one race and into the entire history of Sarah Palin the runner. I have not been able to confirm the validity of this comment – but after looking through Sarah’s sparsely documented public record I have no reason to doubt it.)

 “Actually she faked the run in ’05 too. A few years ago when I was looking into the “Humpy’s” race in Anchorage she supposedly ran, I noticed something very interesting in the results. A very good friend of mine (who has been running marathons for years and spends a tremendous amount of time training) was listed as having finished one spot ahead of her. So I called her up and asked her if she knew that she had finished just ahead of Sarah Palin and her response to me was just laughter. She said that Sarah was never in that race.

 Sarah has some weird obsession with making people think she is a runner. When she came here to Valdez in ’07 to announce what that years PFD was going to be, Sarah stepped off the plane with spandex and running shoes on. Her handlers kept insisting that she wanted to go running with our HS cross county team but it was only 10am and the kids were in school. Her handlers kept berating the Mayor until he finally called the school and managed to get most of the team excused from 8th period so she could go “running” with them. They all met out on the track, Sarah posed for a few pictures with them and then left. She didn’t lift a shoe and after making everyone jump through hoops for her, it ended up being nothing more than another photo op. She’s a complete and total fraud”

[To Summary Part 2]

(had to…)

In any normal California bar/lounge/restaurant that serves alcohol, Bristol Palin would never have gotten out of the bullpen without a club bouncer jumping between her and the drunk heckler, another standing in the heckler’s face holding him at least by the arm and a waitress poised to dial 911 on her cell. You might even have witnessed a bartender or two jumping over the bar to make sure the heckler got nowhere near any female patron.

The employees of places that serve alcohol are very protective of their female clientele. If women don’t feel safe in your club they don’t return. Without the women, the men who spend money don’t come back.  All in all, it’s pretty bad for business if a club doesn’t go the distance to keep their female customers out of harm’s way.

If that’s not enough to convince you the Bristol/Heckler scene was a put-on, try this: California liability laws are tough. Clubs/restaurants literally cannot afford the legal trouble caused by a single bar fight. Any physical confrontation is a potential lawsuit. The owners of this club would have sacked their bouncers for not running interference. It’s why they’re there – to stop trouble before it happens.

No male employee in any club I ever worked for in California would have ever allowed Bristol to get in the face of a man so drunk he screamed YOUR MOTHER’S A WHORE loud enough to be heard across the room. The guy would have been led out the door by at least two big bruisers before she’d had a chance to get up off the floor.

Put your penis away Bristol – we all know it’s fake. No need to keep waving it around…

[Click following images to enlarge then use view/zoom or [ctrl+] to enlarge more]

Palin, Red Bandana Guy and Beard Dude seem to be almost in the same horizontal row of runners.

So – why were there not more of these runners in the Gretawire photo?

Also too and… note the style of curb on the meridian. This is the same meridian that is the backdrop for the Gretawire photo and yet – in that photo the curb changes from  beveled to dirt edge to squared to beveled – purportedly on this same stretch of center raised meridian in a distance of what appears to be no more than two or three metres.

And now that Irishgirl has pointed out where Red Bandana Guy and Beard Dude are in relation to Palin in this early leg of the race it humbles me to see how agile Red Bandana Guy must be to have literally run sideways in order to leave the middle of the pack to get into this shot with Our Lady of The Divine Sneakers.

Don’t forget boys and girls – This photo had to be taken first – because it shows Sarah just as she pulls ahead of the little old lady walkers – which means not only does it look like Red Bandana Guy had to suddenly run sideways, but also too backwards just a skootch… and I’m guessing a time machine was somehow involved.

Mr. Sulu – get us out of here! Warp Speed!

 

================== Update! ==================

Thought I’d shift this from comments as it may be that others also too had difficulty understanding the significance of these photos or seeing what Irishgirl saw in them:

 

I’m coming up to the finish line on the summary – and I have to ask – is this photo of Sarah?

It certainly is the red jumper she wore in Iowa – it was posted on a right-wing blog in a blurb about Sarah having run in the SLRC half marathon in Iowa (linked to comments here by Venefica) but bears no resemblance to the Iowa course.

Comments were made about it looking like Alaska.

If anyone is able to date this I would appreciate the help thanks 🙂

 

While we’re waiting for the summary, this has popped into the comments:

THERE’S A RE-ENACTMENT OF THE WHOLE RACE!

(and it’s just perfect- thanks dannyg!)

[CLICK HERE] to see the re-enactment of Sarah Palin running in the SLRC half marathon 🙂

Okay I have no patience or self-discipline whatsoever. I could not concentrate on work while sitting on this so without further ado…

…meet Ponytail Girl (Maybe. See Update-2 below)

If you use your web browser view/zoom tool you’ll see that the long ponytail appearing to belong to Red Bandana Guy  isn’t long at all but that the tip is actually the rolled point of a charcoal-grey or black hoodie. The exact same colour of the hoodie worn by this young lady who also happens to be sporting a bushy ponytail of the exact same colouring of the ponytail next to Red Bandana Guy in the original photoshopped version of Running-With-Scissors-Sarah sprinting past the pack of 5k runners and about to overtake Red bandana Guy and his missing sidekick Ponytail Girl.

Whoa – did you guys hear that? A subtle pounding sound. Like a nail being driven into wood. A fencepost maybe. Or perhaps a coffin.

Summary tomorrow.

Update:

In my rush to post I failed to mention my reasoning for identifying this particular runner (#432) as our Ponytail Girl. First and foremost the hair texture, colour and thickness absolutely match the hair originally thought to belong to Red Bandana Guy. Second because on Ponytail Girl’s right shoulder is the outline of what looks to be a flat hoodie collar and in the first photo when you pump it up a couple of generations you can absolutely see two rolls indicative of the kind of rolls a cloth hood makes when it’s open and flattened on a person’s back.

The length of the ponytail didn’t (and still doesn’t) dissuade me because anyone who has long hair – especially bouffant, thick, bushy hair knows that when you run it bobs from side to side and up and down almost in a single motion. This girl is running. It is entirely probable her ponytail is bobbing up and behind her in the full face photo, giving the illusion of being shorter than it really is. It is also entirely possible that at some point she’s reached up and pulled her ponytail through the tie a second time to get it off her neck.

We’ve made similar, logical concessions for Sarah regarding her clothing and headband.

It is the colour of her hoodie coupled with the colour and boofidity (I can make up words too) that strikes me as both ponytails belonging to the same person.

Then again – I can be wrong.

What I’m not wrong about is the fact that someone was running right beside Red Bandana Guy and yet there’s not one pixel of evidence on that big open space beneath his tall torso and long legs showing even a hint of the existance of this second runner.

Re the discussion of the timing between these two photos:

All the photos I saw on the SLRC website show the pack of 5k runners/walkers beginning in the shade. Very little sunlight is coming through the trees when they start out. The questionable photo of Sarah bounding like a gazelle with a lion on her ass around the pack is also in this lesser light. The photo shows her at best one to two  Baryshnikov-esque leaps from overtaking Red Bandana Guy and Ponytail Girl. AND this has to be the earlier shot because most of the 5k walkers are still standing still in a pack.

So – if #432 is our phantom now-you-see-her-now-you-don’t runner on the other side of Red Bandana Guy – why does Sarah appear – later down the track – a good 3 meters or more behind her?

Good question.

Update2:

Have read and reread all your comments regarding Ponytail Girl and am willing to concede I may not have tagged the right runner.  Really looking at her face and the faces of the those beside her brings up yet another question however…

I am not comfortable posting this photo because they are mostly children. Use this link previously posted by VeryPolitik to access the SLRC photo page without having to log into dot photo. Make sure you are in the 2011 Jump In & Run photo album and look for image # 2478.

Sarah is still with the 5k walkers, behind the pack of 5k runners – which appear to have all children in the lead just as the end of the meridian dividing the 5k runners from the half marathon runners comes into view…

How does a runner take 2nd place in a half marathon from the back of a pack of 5k runners?

I’m totally open to a logical explanation.  I also welcome any and all help in locating the owner of (what we can now refer to as simply) Boofy Hair.

 

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