Two weeks ago, Bre Tiesi-Manziel—fitness Instagrammer, model, and wife of former CFLer Johnny Manziel—ran what she says was her first half marathon, in what she says was less than two hours. Tiesi-Manziel and her friend Khloe Terae, a model for Playboy and Maxim, came in at 1:58:22 in the Run Like A Diva half marathon on February 16 in Temecula, California. Finishing a half marathon in under two hours (a 9:06 pace per mile) is impressive for someone who had never run such a race before.
Weeks after the race, though, Tiesi-Manziel’s story has drawn a good deal of suspicion. Johnny Manziel was in the news yesterday for getting banned by the CFL, and shortly after that news broke, a poster on the popular running forum board LetsRun noticed Tiesi-Manziel’s half marathon claims. User ridiknick looked at the splits she posted and realized that something didn’t add up.
Both Tiesi-Manziel and Terae ran the first 6.4 miles in 1:31:29, averaging just over 14:20 per mile. Neither posted a split at the 11-mile marker, but both finished together 27 minutes later, at the same time.
According to the data, Tiesi-Manziel ran the final 6.7 miles of the race in 26:54, which would have required an absolutely blistering pace of 4:00.7 per mile. To put that in perspective, the women’s world-record pace for the 10K (6.21 miles) is 4:42.6 per mile. Men’s world record holder Kenenisa Bekele split 4:13.8 miles when he set the fastest ever time in 2005. Tiesi-Manziel’s per-mile pace over six-plus miles would also be 12 seconds faster than the fastest mile ever ran by a woman. Congratulations to Bre Tiesi-Manziel for joining those illustrious ranks!
The course map below shows that Tiesi-Manziel and Terae could theoretically have cut off the out-and-back on Buck Road, thus shaving off five miles and still registering a 6.4-mile split. Running the last two miles in 26:54 would fit in perfectly with her pace over the first 6.4 miles, so the theory makes sense.
But here is where things starts to get complicated. Tiesi-Manziel addressed LetsRun’s report on Twitter and Instagram with a lengthy post. She castigated her “sad and pathetic” accusers for questioning her time, and clarified that though she didn’t train specifically for the half marathon, “I am a full time athlete I train all year every year ... anyone who knows me knows I hate cardio.”
Over and over again, she brings up the fact that her run supported a charity and that she was more concerned with cheering people on than “trying to get some amazing time.” The only time she addresses the specific inconsistencies with her splits, she claims that nobody was “[ever] waiting at each station to check u in for each marker so this ‘unaccounted’ time is a joke 😂.”
Overcoming the logistical impossibility of having someone count every person and write down a bib number is, of course, the very purpose of the chip timers used in races like this, but Tiesi-Manziel didn’t stop there. She also posted a picture of herself crossing the 11-mile marker as supposedly ironclad proof that she hadn’t cheated.
This seemingly throws a wrench in the original theory that Tiesi-Manziel cut the Buck Road out-and-back, since the 11-mile marker on the course shown above is past the 6.4-mile check-in. All that said, a photo of the 11-mile marker only proves that she crossed it.
The indefatigable cheating watchdog Marathon Investigation also posted about Tiesi-Manziel’s case yesterday, and after their post went up, they updated it with Tiesi-Manziel’s statement. The update also said, “The course was modified due to weather. I am working to get an up to date map of the route.”
A different course? The original theory about how Tiesi-Manziel and her friend cheated didn’t make quite as much sense if the course was changed up at the last minute. It’s possible the timing mats were not put in the proper locations, and that the 6.4-mile split was actually registered much later in the race. Perhaps she really did run the whole thing in a normal time, without special training or even breaking a sweat. That doesn’t explain how most other runners had 6.4-mile and 11-mile splits that lined up, of course, but let’s humor the prospect.
Neither the Run Like A Diva website, any of its social channels, nor the Monte De Oro winery posted an updated course map. Run Like A Diva didn’t answer an email, and Monte De Oro did not return a phone call.
However, Strava tracking data from someone who finished in the top ten shows that the course was indeed changed, and in a way that cut out the Buck Road out-and-back altogether. Here is the course that runners actually did, with mile markers. As you’ll see, runners completed two loops of Calle Contento before turning back onto the finishing stretch.
The new course map also explains why Tiesi-Manziel and Terae registered 6.4-mile times but didn’t register 11-mile times: the two timing mats are probably at the same exact place. If they only ran one loop, they would have gotten their 6.4-mile split across then ran on to the finish line without doing the second loop. Once again, finishing the last two miles in 26:54 lines up with their pace over the first 6.4 miles much better than it does with a world-record-shattering improvement.
We reached out to Tiesi-Manziel for clarification on how she managed to run almost seven consecutive four-minute miles, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.
Update (7:40 p.m. ET): A pacesetter at the half marathon wrote in to me after the article went up. Here is his account:
I was one of the 2:00 pacers on the course. As such I was able to see who was ahead of me on the turnarounds of the course. The course map you showed in your article was correct. These two ladies were dressed to impress and hard to miss in their flaming pink outfits. My co-pacer and I saw them turn in front of us when we were at the 12 mile mark. At that point they should have gone around for the second loop but they didn’t. They turned left and ran the last two miles instead.
You can check my official time, which is correct. If they had run close to two hours they would have been right alongside of my co-pacer and me for the entire run. Afterwards I saw them taking selfies and photos at the winery, and they were definitely looking too good to have just run 13.1 miles! I watched them take the photo you posted in the article, as I was standing 5 feet away from them after the run. That’s what brought this to my attention as I recognized the girl immediately as one of the two who cut the course.