In a case that serves as a cautionary tale for marathon runners, a homeless man who picked up a dropped bib from the London Marathon on April 22 marathon has been sentenced to 16 weeks in jail for fraud and theft.

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British media reported that Stanislaw Skupian, 38, who had fallen on hard times after a marital separation and car accident and was homeless at the time, jumped into the race about 19K in. Running bare-chested so as not to be removed for having no bib, he discovered a bib on the ground in the final few kilometres of the marathon. Elated, he crossed the finish line and collected a finisher’s medal, celebrating loudly enough to attract media attention.

Prince Harry 2017 London Marathon

Prince Harry at 2017 London Marathon Expo. Photo: Kensington Palace.

The bib legitimately belonged to marathoner Jake Halliday, who had taken off his shirt around the 37K mark on the unusually hot spring day, when the bib somehow became detached and fell to the ground. Halliday had reportedly raised tens of thousands of pounds for the race’s charity partner Bloodwise, which funds research into blood cancers, but was pulled off the course when discovered to be bibless. 

Halliday was alerted to media reports of Skupian, a Polish-born builder who sleeps at Heathrow Airport, gleefully displaying his bib at the finish line, and the jig was up. Though Skupian is reported to have initially defended his actions and claimed he deserved his medal, he pleaded guilty earlier this month.

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