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To Tell The Truth

200 marathons in 1 year? “No way.” That was the response I got most of last year when people asked me about what I was doing. It was so unbelievable in fact, that the producers of the revival version of the 9th most popular game show ever, To Tell the Truth, tracked me down and invited me to be a guest on the show. What a hoot.

I was flown out to Burbank, California; chauffeured to the Hilton hotel; where I spent Saturday afternoon rehearsing, and Sunday doing the taping of a segment that is scheduled to “air” later this spring.

My hand-picked “impostors” and I didn’t do a very good job of fooling the panelists and the audience though. 3 of the 4 panelists, and the audience correctly identified me as America’s Marathon Man, so I didn’t win much money, but my wife and I and my buddies/impostors, had a lot of fun.

The impostors were coached to “always agree with each other,” no matter what either one gave as an answer. So when one of them was asked; “What did Frank Shorter do?” he answered; “He was a miler”.

The other impostor knew better, but he agreed; “He’s a miler.”

Normally the same question is not asked of all 3 contestants, but in this case, I too was then asked; “What did Frank Shorter do?”

Having signed an affidavit that I would tell the truth, I responded; “Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon.” Too much information.

This of course was not the only question we were asked, but as we rehashed our performance over dinner later that evening, we decided that it was this particular answer that kind of gave me away.

I was just trying to impress them with my knowledge, and realized too late that saying something like; “He’s a runner,” or “He’s a marathoner,” would have still fulfilled my obligation to tell the truth, but wouldn’t have made me look like I had first hand knowledge of everything in Who’s Who in the marathon world……which is what would be expected of America’s Marathon Man.

(One rather ironic factoid here, is that of the 5 or 6 marathon runners in the world that the general populace might actually know by name, this panelist picked Frank Shorter…..who, by some scheduling quirk, just happened to be at my wedding back in 1995……Elaine and I were married at the 9 mile mark of the 1995 DisneyWorld Marathon, and actually had our picture taken with Frank Shorter and his daughter, after the race, back at the Grand Floridian Hotel.) Anyway, even though we didn’t fool the celebrity panel, or the audience, it is one of those experiences that will forever be a fond memory, and it happened because I run marathons.

Jerry Dunn