An impostor who picked up a London Marathon runner’s number and crossed the line in his place has been revealed as a homeless man nicknamed the “Jogging Tramp”.
Stanley Skupien, a builder, dumped a suitcase full of his possessions and jumped the barrier near Tower Bridge to take part in the 26.6-mile race around the 12-mile mark.
The 38-year-old then spotted the number of a genuine competitor on the ground and picked it up so he could claim what he sees as a deserved medal after only running around 14 miles.
Mr Skupien, who sleeps rough at Heathrow Airport, where staff know him as the “Jogging Tramp”, crossed the line in tears and kissed his medal after being handed glasses of champagne and beer by spectators.
But number 35179 was originally worn by Jake Halliday, 28, who was disqualified for losing his badge, despite raising £48,000 for charity Bloodwise.
According to tracking results, the investment banker from Edinburgh started running at 10.30am and reached the 40km mark in a little over three hours, but his finish time was never recorded.
Mr Skupien claims he deserves the medal, and finished the race “for all the homeless people”.
He said: “I saw the number face-up in the middle of the road. I knew if I had one I would get a medal – my heart leapt. It was a dream come true. I had no thoughts of the person whose number it was.”
“I felt on top of the world, finishing the race for all the homeless people, proving that you can achieve anything without money. After all, I ran nearly the full distance, didn’t I?”
Peter Mowbray, 51, a fellow runner, who publicised the incident on Facebook, said Mr Halliday was stopped from completing the race by two marshals who saw he was not wearing a number and escorted him from the course.
Virgin Money, the marathon’s organisers are understood to be investigating the incident.
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