Friday, December 20, 2013


I'm not the kind of guy that sits around and trash talks other runners, but I must make an exception in this case. I'm gonna talk about dane rauschenberg's film about the American Odyssey Relay that he's raising money for on KickStarter. It's funny to me that he must think that by releasing this film it automatically means that he ran the whole thing. Not long after I developed object permanence, I was able to decipher the difference between reality and fantasy. I'm gonna let you in on the WHOLE story as I know it, and hopefully have it make sense even for people who don't know shit about running.

The American Odyssey Relay (AOR) is a ~200 mile race from Gettysburg to Washington DC. It's intended to be a relay race consisting of teams of 12. There's also and option for teams of 4 and 6. Back in 2010, dane opted to attempt the run solo. He continues to claim that he ran the entire 202 miles in a little over 50 hours. I'm not convinced that he did.

I will make references to his blog, but I refuse to post a link to it. You may want to pull it up while you read this. But, before you open up a new tab to Google and search for his blog, keep in mind that he can see some of the more popular searches that bring people to his blog. With that in mind, please do yourself a favor and type something funny into the search field. The search results should also bring up the dane cheats blog. Might want that one open, too. It's not my blog, but I am a fan. I even sent them that Quark picture that I drew on my phone. Pretty good huh? Clearly, I'm not the only person that doesn't believe dane ran the whole thing. That cheater blog hasn't been posting much lately, and the people behind it have kept their identity secret, so I've taken it upon myself to share some more info.

To me, simply being familiar with dane's skills as a runner is convincing enough for me that he didn't run 202 miles in 50 hours. If you're not aware of how to properly train for a 'race' of this length, then let dane tell you how. 6 or 7 miles a day isn't quite enough. That's only 40-50 miles a week. I just race marathons, but put in double that. The lack of high mileage training could also explain why dane never completed a 100 mile race prior to attempting this. I repeat, dane never completed a 100 mile race before this. Almost 2 years after this in March he did complete the Graveyard 100 in just under 22 hours. You can find the race re-cap he wrote about it on his blog without me sharing the link. Hint: type 'Graveyard' in the search field of his blog. Did you read it? Did it sound like it was easy for him? And that doing another 100 miles wouldn't be difficult? I certainly didn't get that impression, but maybe that's just me.

Lets get to the AOR. The day before this run he announced on his blog that he would be posting his progress on his Twitter page through his profile. Since he'd be running all the legs by himself he would get to start a day ahead of the relay runners. He won't be out there all alone. He has a crew (we'll talk about them later) aiding him, and driving the course in a rented Winnebago.

This is his first hand account of the race via his Tweets:

·  202 miles: 50 hours. Done. Phone is dead. Will return vms later. Thank you all., shared on Strands Saturday, April 24, 2010 2:05:50 PM via API

·  Projected finish time between 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm. See everyone at the finish line!, shared on Strands Saturday, April 24, 2010 9:35:22 AM via API

·  About to start leg 34. Homestretch is nigh. , shared on Strands Saturday, April 24, 2010 7:41:40 AM via API

·  Leg 29 completed. Taking a rest. Looking forward to the home stretch! , shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 10:02:26 PM via API

·  Leg 24 done. 118 miles gone. I want a steak. , shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 2:39:07 PM via API

·  Sorry for the delay, no reception. Just finished Lap 20!, shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 10:15:37 AM via API

·  Leg 12 complete. Met AWESOME XC runner- Jake. Thanks for the support, Jake, Ray, Nate & Andrea! (Now go to sleep!), shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 4:22:39 AM via API

·  Leg 11 done- 5.6 miles- 1.2 hrs. , shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 3:17:36 AM via API

·  Leg 10 (3.5 miles) done. 30% Complete., shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 3:16:35 AM via API

·  Leg 9 complete. Pitch black and raining. Yuckers. Rest now., shared on Strands Friday, April 23, 2010 1:20:47 AM via API

·  Leg 8 done. Nice downhill. FYI, I obviously do not hate the race directors. , shared on Strands Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:13:25 PM via API

·  Leg 7 (4.9 miles) 55 minutes - got out of the doldrums., shared on Strands Thursday, April 22, 2010 8:48:34 PM via API

·  Leg six complete. 1:32. Toughest leg. I hate the Race Directors., shared on Strands 7:53 PM Apr 22nd via API

·  Leg 5 finished in 45 minutes. Six miles from completing Leg 6!, shared on Strands 6:11 PM Apr 22nd via API

·  Leg 4 complete. 1:35:02. 15% done. First break of the race., shared on Strands 4:14 PM Apr 22nd via API

·  Leg 3, 1 hr 28 minutes....onto Leg 4!, shared on Strands 2:35 PM Apr 22nd via API

·  all that rain did was piss me off..., shared on Strands 2:03 PM Apr 22nd via API

·  Leg 1 down, 5.8 miles in 1hr 5min...feeling good despite the heat!, shared on Strands 12:27 PM Apr 22nd via API

The hyperlinks only work for the last two where he announces his projected finish and when he's done. He deleted all the other Tweets off his Twitter account. I'm curious as to why he would delete these, and you should be, too. The 2 hour difference is because of stupid Time Zones, but it doesn't effect the math. Also, this Strands website that he logged workouts through is gone. Here's some info on Strands shutting down. Before the site shut down you could go on his page and see all the posts about the AOR Relay even after he deleted them off Twitter. Let me remind you that this is his personal, first hand account of the run. I didn't make this shit up.

Things don't appear too strange or obvious until you dump all that into a spreadsheet. If you still have the race website pulled up and are curious why some of the leg distances are different, it's because the course for this year isn't exactly the same as it was in 2010. It's basically the same route, still 36 legs, about the same total distance, but some of the individual legs changed a little.

Let's review the spreadsheet data in a little more detail. The first 7 legs and 43 miles seem perfectly legit to me. A post after every leg just like you would expect him to do. Something is obviously wrong with leg 8. Nearly 5 miles under 25 mins when dane's 5 mile PR is 31 mins. It's reasonable to assume that that Tweet was simply posted before it should have. I'm fine with giving that one to dane. Leg 7 definitely wasn't posted late. That's obvious since he Tweeted how long it took him. If you ignore that early post and combine legs 8 & 9 then you get about 10 miles in about four and a half hours. That makes sense. It's slow, but it's night time now and apparently raining. Walking a 27min/mile in those conditions during a 200 mile run would be pretty normal. It looks like Legs 10 & 11 just got Tweeted at the same time. No big deal. When combined it's roughly 9 miles covered in 2 hours. About a 12:40 mile pace. That's actually pretty good in the dark. And that continues until leg 12 is complete.

Now at mile 67 things start to get shady. There's a big gap, and suddenly done with leg 20 and 103 miles. That's 36 miles in under 6 hours. Bullshit. The first 36 miles took more like 8 hours. It may have been a more difficult part of the course, but it was when he was fresh. This is also the section of the race that goes through Boonsboro. It's one of those sections that features pointless out-and-back sections just to increase the mileage since Gettysburg isn't 200 miles from DC. Go ahead and look at the course. This would be an easy section to cut the course short. I'm not necessarily saying that he did, just pointing it out. But, did you notice that last Tweet upon completing leg 12? Where it said - '(Now go to sleep!). That would seem to imply that he started that section with a nap which makes covering that distance in that time even less believable.

In the Tweet at leg 20 he apologizes for the delay and blames it on not having reception. The excuse he has commonly used to explain why the Twitter splits don't add up is that he had is crew post the updates when they had time and reception. I doubt Boonsboro is a cell phone dead zone being that it's 15 miles from Frederick, but it's not like I have proof, just seems convenient. The Tweet for completing leg 24 is confusing because he has the wrong mileage. It hardly matters at this point anyway. The rest is simply long breaks between Tweets with very little commentary.

To me, the Tweets should prove to be some evidence that he ran it all, but they show the opposite. And remember, he has since deleted all these posts from Twitter. Now, what proof does he have of running it all? He really has nothing now. Not even any GPS data. The KickStarter film won't prove much except that he was there running. I've kinda accepted that part already. But unless the video is 50 hours long of dane running the course the entire time, then I'm gonna keep believing that he didn't run it all.

I said before that he wasn't alone and had a crew. None of them will say anything, but at this time I'll share part of an email from someone close to the crew. In attempts to protect his identity, I'll be referring to him as The Insider:

 "Basically his entire crew, which was made up of 1 male film maker, 2 adult females and a sponsor (ASEA Water which was a husband and wife team) went into the race thinking Dane was going to do the whole 202.

Maybe around halfway through the race Dane got in the rented Winnebago and told the crew to keep going, as in keep driving the course even though Dane was in the Winnebago. The crew was surprised but followed directions. The remainder of the 'race' was spurts of him sleeping in the van and running. During the sleeping portions the van drove the course. It got to the point where he told his crew which leg of the race he was going to run or not ahead of time. It created a lot of tension in the van and the crew was not happy.

Getting a firm number on miles ran is difficult. Someone very close to me estimated anywhere between 120 - 160 miles."

 It's not first hand information, so feel free to be skeptical for now. Insight onto who the 2 adult females are can be found here. I said earlier that I refused to post a link to his blog, but you wouldn't find this one otherwise. It isn't his personal blog, it's one that he used to write for Blue Ridge Outdoors. This is extremely short for one of his race recaps. It's 5 paragraphs and hardly says anything about the 'race'. The comments are a good read. He gets called out for cheating pretty quickly by someone who posts as - Anesheh Abrams. Then someone else calls him out for writing his own Wikipedia page. He had that blog on BRO until June of the following year. It's all been archived on the site, but many similar comments still remain if you're looking for more entertainment.

That blog post is the only place I can find that gives a clue to the identity of who is crew was. You can see glimpses of them in his video promoting the film, but I definitely don't recognize them. Quynh Dao is one member. Catie is the other, but she only gave her first name. We know from The Insider that Catie's last name is Foster. I never bothered tracking down the ASEA Water people, and don't really care to. The film maker seems to be Proctor Trivette based on youtube. Too bad comments were disabled.

You can also see who might be doing the voice over stuff there. Darby and Proctor have not responded to my email inquires. Go figure. I don't think dane ever paid the film guy, so I hope that some of the KickStarter money might be going to him.

Not only are his crew members, and the film guy worthless at getting any info from directly, but the race director won't say shit either. You can see a typical response from Bob Fleshner on the cheater blog. I've read several other emails from him when people ask about dane's performance. They're all about the same. You wanna know why he won't comment about dane? They're fucking friends! Go back to dane's blog and search - Fleshner. dane did an interview with the guy later that year in December. Sucks for Bob. His choices are betraying a friend, lying, or playing dumb. Sadly, no response makes him look like a responsible race director.

Before I conclude this, I saved the best for last. It's something that very few people have ever seen. I have a gChat conversation between someone in the cheater blog and The Insider. I've done my very best to conceal both of their identities. Enjoy: gChat

I'm curious to see how dane will try to explain all that little chat. It boils down to the fact that we have two conflicting stories about dane running the AOR. They can't both be telling the truth, so one of them is lying. Clearly, I think he cheated, and this KickStarter film is just one last attempt at covering it up. He did reach his $5,000 funding goal for the film. Originally, I was pissed that he started this funding thing, but now I'm glad it's gonna be released. He had two people pledge $500 for it. Their names will be in the film credits. What are they gonna think when they read all this?

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