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M70 marathoner Frank Meza’s death confirmed suicide

The Los Angeles-area marathoner's body was found last week

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has confirmed that 70-year-old retired doctor Frank Meza, whose L.A. Marathon result was recently disqualified and whose body was found in the Los Angeles River on July 4, died by suicide. A CNN report claims the cause of death was “blunt-force traumatic injury,” and a report by the LA Times implied he jumped from a bridge.

RELATED: Frank Meza found dead in Los Angeles River

Meza was the subject of numerous recent media reports alleging he cut the course at marathons, racking up age group wins and supposedly bettering the M70 marathon record held by the late Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ont. by more than 90 seconds with his 2:53:10 finish at L.A. on March 24. His stats included a 5K split that would have bettered the age-group world record in the 5K. Marathon organizers found video images of Meza leaving the course and then re-entering at a different location, which is against the rules.

Dan Adams of Pinon Hills, California, who was upgraded to first in his age group after Meza’s disqualification, ran 4:10.

According to an ABC News report, Meza started the Aztlan Track Club in 1974, and was a volunteer running coach at L.A.’s Loyola High School. He had been on a leave of absence since June.

RELATED: 70-year-old marathoner accused of course-cutting

Meza’s death prompted criticism of the publicity surrounding Meza’s course-cutting, after investigators discovered he had been disqualified twice and subsequently banned from the California International Marathon.

Meza steadfastly denied cheating, claiming he was in the habit of leaving the course to relieve himself, and then returning.

According to the CNN report, Meza leaves his wife, Dr. Tina Nevarez, his daughter Lorena Meza, his son Dr. Francisco Meza and his daughter-in-law Dr. Sara Tartof. 

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