San Francisco Marathon officials will review race videotapes today, trying to determine whether Candy Dodge--the third-place female finisher Sunday--ran the entire course.
Two women finishing immediately behind Dodge, Kathy Wood and Laura DeWald, adamantly claim that Dodge did not.
Race officials investigating the claim have learned that Dodge's bib No. 43 was not recorded by monitors at any of three checkpoints, said John Mansoor, race director.
Mansoor said he will thoroughly check footage today from KGO-TV in San Francisco, which broadcast the race. Race officials failed to see Dodge on two tapes they viewed Wednesday.
DeWald, from Grand Rapids, Mich., who finished fifth at 2 hours 48 minutes 51 seconds, filed a protest Sunday with race officials, claiming that Dodge never passed her.
Dodge, 43, did not return telephone calls by The Times to her Canyon Country residence.
Her time Sunday was a personal best of 2:46:18. It came on a hilly course, in unseasonably warm weather, in one of the slowest San Francisco marathons on record.
Wood, from Truckee, Calif., said that her husband had monitored the race throughout.
"I was in third place," Wood said. "(Dodge) wasn't in the race."
When she finished, Wood said she was surprised to be in fourth place.
She finished at 2:48:20, about two minutes behind Dodge, and about eight minutes behind Russia's Tatiana Titova, the first woman to finish.
Dodge earned $3,000 for finishing third and an additional $1,000 for being the first over-40 female finisher. However, race officials are withholding the money until their investigation is complete.
Mansoor, meanwhile, has been contacting other marathon officials, checking to see whether Dodge's times are legitimate.
Dodge finished third among women at the 1992 San Diego Marathon, though race director Lynn Flanagan said only the top two women runners were videotaped.
"I cannot verify anything other than that she was third," Flanagan said. "We have not been able to confirm anything other than she crossed the finish line."
However, Flanagan said she remembered Dodge well because she submitted her name to the field only two weeks before the race.
Because of her impressive times at other marathons, Flanagan offered to waive Dodge's entry fee, but Dodge paid the $65 anyway. Her check then bounced three times, and the race has yet to be reimbursed, Flanagan said.
L.A. Marathon officials also confirmed that Dodge had bounced checks at their race.
If the claims of Dodge not completing the entire race are true, she could be subject to charges of criminal fraud and attempted grand theft, Mansoor said.
Mansoor added that criminal charges would have to be filed by the organizers of the San Francisco Marathon, the Cleveland-based International Marketing Group.
Mansoor said he will forward his findings to the U.S. Track and Field Assn. If it is found that Dodge failed to complete the entire race, she would be granted a hearing during which she could answer the charges.
Nevertheless, it is not an uncommon practice for runners to finish marathons without running the entire race.
The most celebrated case is that of Rosie Ruiz, who won the women's portion of the 1980 Boston Marathon after joining ahead of the pack late in the race. Ruiz later admitted that she had joined the race in progress after taking the subway.