‘Imposter’ who ‘picked up’ London Marathon runner’s fallen number near the finish line says he deserves his medal and ran to inspire fellow homeless people
- Jake Halliday, 28, lost his race number two miles from the end of the race
- An alleged imposter is believed to have picked it up and collected the medal
- He was revealed to be Stanley Skupien, a homeless man who sleeps in Heathrow
- Mr Halliday was ordered off the course by stewards and was not allowed to finish
- The investment manager had raised £48,000 in funds for a cancer charity
A homeless man says he picked up a Marathon runner’s number after it fell on the floor and finished the race in his place to make his son proud.
Builder Stanley Skupien claims he deserves the medal he was pictured kissing despite joining the run at the 12-mile mark of the London route.
The 38-year-old – who sleeps rough at Heathrow Airport – cried as he crossed the line after spotting the number on the floor hundreds of yards from the end.
The alleged imposter kisses his London Marathon finisher’s medal after he reportedly picked up a runner’s number that was dropped two miles from the end and completed the race
But he insists his medal is deserved and told The Sun crossing the finishing line was his ‘biggest moment ever’.
‘I saw the number face-up in the middle of the road,’ he said. ‘I knew if I had one I would get a medal — my heart leaped, it was a dream come true. I had no thoughts of the person whose number it was.’
But 28-year-old Jake Halliday, who had originally worn the number, was disqualified despite raising £48,000 for the Bloodwise charity.
The investment banker is thought have been refused a medal after completing the whole race and was on target to complete the marathon with a time of 3hrs 43mins.
Jake Halliday (pictured) who was raising cash for cancer, had been running for more than three hours when he was taken off the course by stewards, having lost his race number
Stanley was seen swigging beer, champagne and wine from spectators after hopping over the barrier and leaving a suitcase full of his possessions near Tower Bridge.
He spotted the number – 35179 – just hundreds of yards from the end and was awarded a finisher’s medal and T-shirt.
Though he admits feeling bad for Jake, he says the competitor would have been disqualified for finishing without it anyway.
The homeless runner claims to have been running on behalf of other rough sleepers and says he wanted to show off his medal to his seven-year-old son to make him proud.
‘I felt on top of the world, finishing the race for all the homeless people, proving that you can achieve anything without money,’ he said. ‘After all, I ran nearly the full distance, didn’t I?’
He was forced to sleep in terminal three after his marriage collapsed. He will face Uxbridge magistrates’ court in May after police arrested him at the airport on an unrelated theft charge.
The apparent imposter – whose identity is unknown – posed with the medal for photographers at the finishing line wearing Jake’s race number, 35179
A London Marathon spokesman said officials are aware of the arrest and are awaiting further information as organisers investigate.
According to tracking results, Jake had started running at 10.30am, managing to reach the 40km mark in little over three hours. However, his finish time was never recorded.
Peter Mowbray, 51, a fellow runner who publicised the incident on Facebook, said Mr Halliday was prevented from completing the race by two marshals who saw that he wasn’t wearing a number and escorted him from the course.
‘It takes a lot of work to run a marathon. It’s not a matter of eating a bowl of pasta and having a go, it’s 12 months worth of training,’ Mr Mowbray said.
‘Jake had his once-in-a-lifetime experience stolen from him by an imposter. The running world is very close-knit and when I saw the photograph of that man taking Jake’s medal I cried.’
In addition to the numbers on their vests, competitors have electronic chips on their trainers to prevent identity fraud. Virgin Money, the organisers of the event, are understood to be looking into the situation.
Mr Halliday took part in the race in support of his friend’s girlfriend who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2016.
The Facebook post made by Mr Mowbray, an anaesthetist at a hospital in Blackpool, has been shared more than a thousand times as the public rallies to identify the imposter.
One reader, Matt Godden, commented: ‘That is unreal. That man needs to go viral and be named and shamed.’
The London Marathon has seen a number of allegations of cheating in its 37-year history.
The alleged imposter was photographed (pictured) by the friend of a fellow race-goer who said he took his t-shirt off and threw it into the grandstand and said he was behaving strangely
In 2016, TOWIE star James Argent’s sister Natasha had her results removed from the official race website and agreed to return her medal after she ‘ducked under a barrier’ during the race.
She was found to have missed 11 out of 24 checkpoints and miraculously finishing the final 20km in just 39mins, quicker than Olympian Sir Mo Farah.
In 2014, 34-year-old model Jason Scotland-Williams denied skipping nine miles of the course to achieve a ‘miracle’ time, the second half of which fell just three minutes shy of the world record – and three minutes faster than Sir Mo.
Four years before that, a runner thought to have recorded the quickest-ever time for a pensioner was stripped of his ‘fastest OAP’ title after admitting he took a 10 mile shortcut at Tower Bridge. He claimed he had altered his route due to injury.
In 2011, another competitor was disqualified from the Great North Run after it was revealed that he had travelled most of the final six miles on a bus.
The following year, father-of-two Rob Sloan tried to get round his ban by entering the race again under a fake name while disguised in sunglasses.
Runner Louise Rooney, 41, was coming towards the end of the race when she noticed the alleged imposter behaving strangely.
‘I was just running to the finish line past the grandstand when the imposter caught my eye,’ she told MailOnline.
‘He had a very distinctive haircut shaved all over apart from a stripe of hair at the back.
‘He was walking with a woman I think towards the finish line and I saw him take off his t-shirt and throw it into the grandstand. It was a brightly coloured T-shirt, yellow or green.
‘I thought that was strange as he hadn’t even finished the race yet. Then he stopped and seemed to have second thoughts and he turned round walked back against the flow of the race. I assumed he was going back to get his shirt.’
The receptionist from Middlesex, who was running in support of Phab Kids, a charity for disabled children, added:
‘He wasn’t running at any point. Afterwards my friend sent me a picture she had taken of me and the strange man was in the corner.’
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