Infamous Boston Marathon Cheater Rosie Ruiz Dies at 66

Rosie Ruiz, who was known for cheating to win the Boston Marathon in 1980 has passed away. According to PEOPLE, she was 66 years old and she actually died on Jul. 8. However, the news of her passing is coming out now because a writer from Let's Run came across her obituary which had her name listed as Rosie M. Vivas.

The obituary is from a funeral home in West Palm Beach, Florida and it said she was battling cancer the last 10 years. She was able to celebrate her last birthday which was on Jun. 21.

Ruiz was able to compete in the Boston Marathon after finishing the New York Marathon in under three hours. She reportedly finished the Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 31 minutes and 56 seconds which made it the third-fastest time recorded for a woman at the time.

But once she finished the race, suspicion grew as no one saw Ruiz during the race. Also when Ruiz was interviewed after the race, she was asked if she was doing a lot of heavy intervals and she didn't know what intervals were.

"Someone else asked me that," she said. "I'm not sure what intervals are. What are they?"

PEOPLE said freelance photographer Susan Morrow told the New York Times she was on the subway with Ruiz four days after the race and she said she dropped out at the 10-mile mark due to an injured ankle. That led to the Boston Marathon disqualifying her after realizing she only ran the final half-mile after dropping out in the beginning.

The real winner turned out to be Canadian runner Jacqueline Gareau and she was given a new medal as Ruiz was able to keep hers. Ruiz publicly said won the race fair and square, but people who are close to her said she admitted to cheating.


After the Boston Marathon, Ruiz faced some tough times. Let's Run mentioned she spent time in jail in 1982 for embezzlement at a real estate company where she worked. Ruiz was arrested again in 1983 for a cocaine deal where she served three-years probation.

Ruiz is survived by her domestic partner Margarita Alvarez, three sons, Francisco, Reynoldo and Gilberto, and her brother Robert Ruiz.