When 69-year-old Anthony Gaskell crossed the London Marathon finishing line in a mere three hours and five minutes, he found himself in the record books.
His was the fastest time ever recorded by anyone over 65 and he was due to receive a plaque marking his achievement.
Observers questioned, however, how a previously unknown veteran could have performed so well.
And analysis of the race revealed that he must have completed the second half in way under an hour – a pace that even the world record holder could not match.
Six weeks after the event, Mr Gaskell has been stripped of his ‘fastest pensioner’ title after admitting that he took a short cut.
He appears to have used a part of the course just after Tower Bridge – where the marathon doubles back on itself – to cut from the outward leg to the home leg, taking around ten miles off the course.
Mr Gaskell, a grandfather from the Wirral, Merseyside, said: ‘I have been called a cheat and disqualified from a race I never claimed to have won.’
He claimed he was injured after falling over a runner ahead of him who had tripped on a safety barrier. ‘I couldn’t possibly continue.’
He insists he never claimed to have run the last part of the course and that he did not try to pass off the winning time as his own.
‘I simply walked through a short cut to the end of the course where my belongings were waiting for me. I had no idea that anyone thought I’d won.
‘I didn’t bother to check the website for the final standings because I knew I had dropped out.’