Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 12:47 UK

Marathon runners banned for life

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Edinburgh Marathon 2009
More than 13,000 runners took part in the race

A man and a woman have been banned from competing in the Edinburgh Marathon for life after they were caught swapping entry numbers.

The Scottish club athletes were caught after the man completed the 26.2 miles in a time which saw him win a prize for finishing in the top 10 female runners.

A member of the pair's running club saw the time, which was faster than the woman could run, and called organisers.

It is the first time competitors have been banned from the event.

Damien O'Looney, Edinburgh marathon marketing director, said it was against their rules to run using another runner's entry number.

'Medical catastrophe'

He told BBC Scotland news website: "If something had happened to the male runner we wouldn't have known who he was or who to contact because we would have had the details for the woman who had registered for the race.

"We decided to take action by banning them for life because otherwise Scottish Athletics were going to take action and we thought it would be better if they were banned from our race rather than every race in Scotland.

"We sent out letters to them last week and we hope they have learned a lesson from this.

"Some runners don't see it as doing something wrong but we do see it as cheating, although our main problem with it is that it is a medical catastrophe waiting to happen."

A Scottish Athletics statement reads: "The use of borrowed competitor numbers not only undermines the integrity of results, prizes and rankings issued by the sport but potentially has serious implications in the case of medical treatment to an athlete and alerting next of kin."

Dr Hillary Jones was banned from entering the London Marathon after he was caught giving his entry number to his son in 2005.

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