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Professional singer caught cutting course at Vienna City Marathon

Marathon investigation found that the singer was on pace for a personal best when he cut the course, in search of a sub-three-hour marathon

On Sept. 12, British musician James Cottriall ran the Vienna City Marathon, setting an eyebrow-raising personal best of 2:56:46. Upon a further breakdown of his result by Derek Murphy of marathoninvestigation.com, it became obvious that Cottriall’s cut the course on an out-and-back route between 32 and 35 kilometres, clocking a world record 5K split of nine minutes. 

James Cottriall at the halfway point of the Vienna City Marathon. Photo: Vienna City Marathon

Cottriall was on pace for a 3:10 to 3:15 marathon at the 30K mark when he decided to cut the course. What made his activity more suspicious was the singer’s uploads on his Strava page: “I am feeling ready, it’s time to break 3 hours! The training is done, my legs are prepared!” Clearly, he said the sub-three-hour marathon goal in his mind before the start of the race. 

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After the marathon, the singer did the media rounds, appearing on Austrian news shows and doing an interview with Heute.at, where he talked about beating Austria’s Labour Minister, Martin Koche, and how he ran the marathon off six hours of sleep while promoting his new album. Cottriall also spoke with Heute about his four months of training leading up to the race where he ran 100 km per week. But on further investigation, his highest training in last the year was one 90 kilometre week. 

Vienna City Marathon course map. Photo: Derek Murphy

Cottriall crossed the line in 75th place and said after the race that breaking three was a lifelong dream. In 2019, Cottriall legitimately ran Vienna City Marathon in 4:03:51 and the LA Marathon in 3:55:04. “I am unsure of his motivation,” says Murphy. “He would have run a fast time and still shattered his marathon personal best even without cutting this small section.”

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Earlier this year, Cottriall released his fourth album “Let’s Talk,” which was written throughout the various lockdowns in Austria. He has also appeared as Fauke on Austria’s version of The Masked Singer in 2020.