Kelly Agnew is an accomplished ultrarunner who began taking on marathons and ultramarathons in 2011. Within a few years of starting, he completed the Leadville 100, the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler, and a few more prominent ultramarathons, before experiencing a breakthrough in 2013. Agnew finished second at the 2013 Pony Express Trail 100, and he claimed the fastest known time on the White Rim trail a few years later. He quickly developed a knack for fixed time events, which are races to see who can cover the most distance in a given amount of time, typically 24 or 48 hours. This is where suspicions apparently began to arise.
One of Agnew’s races of choice was the Across The Years Multiday race, which begins on New Year’s Eve and ends in the New Year, thus its name. Agnew won the 2013-14 edition of the race with 201.5 miles in 48 hours, and he went on to win the next three editions of the race, though he raised a few eyebrows when he won the 2014-15 race by 55 miles despite stopping after just 41 hours. Either Agnew was the second coming, or he was somehow manipulating his distance.
Race officials were aware of Agnew’s suspicious performances, so they made a special effort to track him this year. What they found was that Agnew was not clocking in at a remote checkpoint at the halfway point of the mile-long lap. He was instead sitting in the bathroom for seven minutes and then jumping out to cross the mat at the start/finish at the right time to keep his “mile pace” consistent. He was disqualified from the event, and then had his results stripped from him after a review showed he was a repeat offender.
This is not the first time he has been reported missing laps at our event and other events especially on the fixed time circuit. Upon further inspection of our remote timing data from past events, he has been retroactively disqualified from the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 Across The Years runs where he previously placed first.
The official timer at ATY bluntly accused Agnew of cheating, saying, “The process Kelly used at ATY to circle around and come back through the timing mat without having done a complete loop was so blatant and obvious it could not possibly have been anything but deliberate.” Agnew’s other feats have since also been with well-warranted skepticism, and he’s been dropped by a sponsor.
As marathoninvestigation.com showed, Agnew missed a few checkpoints at the Leadville 100 and Agnew’s fellow competitors at the 2017 Lemming Loop accused him of similar skipping behavior. His fastest known time on the White Rim trail also appeared to be supported by shaky GPS evidence; he has since deleted his cache of apparently insubstantial GPS evidence. Beyond Limits Running was inspired by the ATY organizers, and they too revoked three fixed-time wins from Agnew and booted him from an upcoming event. So far, he has yet to respond to any of the allegations, and he did not respond to a request for comment.