From the race director himself. This Robson fella is a wanker of the highest order:
Australia Day Ultra and the subsequent Disqualification of Mark Robson.
On Saturday the 20th January, 2018, I had the privilege of co-Race Directing the Australia Day Ultra
with Alexis Oosterhoff and Event Director Ron McGlinn for the 100k/50k/25k distances.
During this event, it is our duty to ensure the safety, etiquette and fairness for all competitors and
As this event earns IAU (International Association of Ultra Runners) labelling and the course is
measured and certified, and numerous national and international records were being attempted at
the event, an additional timing mat was established at the turnaround (6.25k) end of the course to
give additional breakdowns and accuracy for the event.
The timing system utilised by us and operated by Ron McGlinn has an accuracy of 9999 in every
It was after lap 3 that missed readings at the turnaround from one particular runner, Mark Robson,
came to our attention. Ron asked me to keep an eye on the readings as this was very strange that it
was missing, particularly due to the accuracy of the timing and the fact it was running at 100%
reading strength. Mark had recorded a reading on the first lap, but none since (and consequently
none at the turnaround for the remainder of the race). I alerted Ron to the fact that Mark Robson
had previously been accused and subsequently banned from Triathlon Australia for 2 years after
investigations into suspicious results.
Giving Mark the benefit of the doubt, we presumed his transponder may have been on his wrist, but
discovered it was around his ankle and as close as possible to the transponder mat giving the most
accurate of readings.
It was at this point that we asked 2 AURA members at the turnaround point to look out for Mark
crossing the mat and confirm if he even made it to that aid station as we were starting to get
suspicious. We also had an additional AURA member start manually recording timing for segments
Mark ran (approx. 3.125k segments between the aid stations) and keep an eye on his movements on
the course. At this time, now the start of his 5th lap, Mark was taking an approx. 5 min toilet stop and
I also decided that I was not comfortable with the possibility that inaccuracies may be happening
and decided to discreetly follow Mark on the course and not only Mark, but the 2 runners in front of
him AND the 2 runners behind him (with those 2 running behind actually competing in the 50k
distance at a slightly quicker pace than what Mark’s 100k pace was – confirmed by start/finish line
splits). I observed all 5 runners making it to the middle aid station (approx. 3.125k out from the start
line), and consequently continued my attempt to follow all of them to the turnaround point. It was
here that Mark disappeared from the course approx. 500m further on down the road (where very
dense bush is present) and I could not see him. I observed the other 4 runners (2 in front of Mark
and 2 behind) continue on down to the turnaround point and cross the mat and record a split. I
waited an additional 10 minutes for Mark to show up but was nowhere to be seen. None of the
other 3 AURA members witnessed him making it to the turnaround line either.
I headed back towards the finish line observing the other 4 runners heading back towards the middle
aid station from the turnaround and still no sighting of Mark Robson.
As I came towards the finish line, I observed Mark running back out towards the turnaround about
500m after going through the finish to record a time. He had gained an incredible 3.5k on the other
4 runners I was observing over a 6.25k section!!! Keeping in mind that 2 of these runners where
running fast 50k races (eventual podium finish for 1 and 4th for the other) and yet he gained so much
distance on them over an incredibly short measurement. I also asked one of the 100k runners in
front of him whether Mark had passed them which he confirmed he had not. In fact not at any stage
in the race, and yet the start line recordings would suggest they were leapfrogging each other.
Consequently, this lap (lap 5) was his ‘fastest’ lap of the race even with a 5 minute toilet/aid break.
I already knew that there was only one explanation and my suspicions now had been confirmed.
Mark had cut the course short from the out and back, hid in the bushes at the bend approx. 500m
past the middle aid before turning back to ‘complete’ his lap, running only approx. 7.25k of the 12.5k
lap each time (with the exception of the first lap).
It is physically impossible with the manually recorded times (that we recorded with a manual timing
and witness) that we have of Mark and compared to average times from the 2 x 50k runners that
were just behind him, for him to have run the times he is claiming.
We decided to not let Mark know we knew of his cheating as it would give us only more
confirmation and evidence that he was not witnessed making it to the turnaround for the remaining
3 laps of the race. We let him continue on to ‘claim’ his finish coming in at well under 10 hours,
shouting a big “BOOYAH” crossing the finish line.
I congratulated Mark on crossing the line, shook his hand, and took off his transponder. He asked for
a medal saying ‘I think I’ve earnt one of them’ and as I grabbed the medal to present to him, with
Ron McGlinn as my witness, I asked him to just explain a few queries we had. Firstly asking him why
(with the exception of the first lap) that we had no recordings for him at the turnaround electronic
recorder? With very shocked eyes (obviously not realising there was a turnaround recorder) he
mumbled and suggested that he didn’t know why it didn’t record. I asked him if he had anything he
wanted to tell us as we have suspicions. His only reply was that he ‘busted his arse out there today’. I
explained that I did have an explanation as to why we had no recordings, because I had followed him
on the course for lap 5 and had people observing him out on the course from lap 3 to 8 with none
witnessing him at the turnaround, although witnessing him at the middle aid station. We had eyes
everywhere and I told him I had confirmed him cheating by observing him for the lap 5 and seeing
him “jump” 3.5k ahead of 4 runners over the 6.25k section!!!!! He asked me where I thought he had
hid with me explaining that I suspected it to be approx. 500m past the middle aid station. With a
shocked and disappointed look (best explained as guilty) he mumbled that he is “not going through
the same shit he did 3 years ago”. With that, Mark grabbed his stuff and left.
Now, we don’t take accusations lightly and have accrued very solid evidence to support and confirm
Mark cheating. We even asked Mark to supply us with a copy of his gpx file from the race to which
he has confirmed he doesn’t have one.
Not only is Mark cheating himself, but he is cheating fellow runners (supposedly friends), us as race
directors and the volunteers and supporters, let alone training/coaching partners that have helped
along the way.
As Ron and I have ZERO tolerance for cheating and quite obviously this is a repeat offence for Mark
Robson in the sporting world, we have no choice but to implement a Lifetime ban for any Ultra
Series WA events. We have also passed the information onto Australian Ultra Runners Association and other relevant sporting bodies.