The 70-year-old doctor who broke the Los Angeles Marathon record for his age group, then was disqualified for cheating, has been found dead in a California river.
Frank Meza’s body was discovered in the Los Angeles River in the Cypress Park area on Thursday, a source told
The Los Angeles Police Department responded to a report of a body lying in shallow water shortly before 10am.
Officials said the man’s cause of death is not suspected to be from drowning.
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Frank Meza was found dead on Thursday. The doctor who competed in the 2019 LA Marathon appeared to register a time so fast that finished more than an hour and fifteen minutes ahead of his nearest rival – making it the fastest time ever for a man of his age
His body was lying in shallow water of of the Los Angeles River before 10am on Thursday
Meza, competed in the 2019 race, but appeared to register a 2 hours and 53 minutes time that was dubbed ‘impossible’.
He finished more than an hour and fifteen minutes ahead of his nearest rival – making it the fast time ever for a man of his age.
The miracle time raised one too many an eyebrow and a group of runners who operate a website called
Derek Murphy said in a video: ‘What you see is he comes onto the course after being along the sidewalk for an unknown period of time.
‘I looked back 6 minutes (on the video) and he was never on the portion of the course leading up to the sidewalk so it showed me he didn’t run that full part of the course.’
On closer investigation, Meza’s web of lies appeared to have quickly untangled as it emerged he had a history of disqualifications and bans from marathons in California.
Meanwhile, experts on a runners’ forum dissected his previous performance times and noted how radically his marathon times improved once he was in his 60s.
In one example, his marathon times improved from a 3:19:59 at the 2009 Santa Clarita Marathon to almost half an hour faster in 2019.
The miracle time raised one too many an eyebrow and a group of runners who operate a website dedicated to ensuring the integrity of the sport set out to prove he had cheated
It was also noted that one of his 5k splits was so fast it would have broken the world record for that time in his age group – an impossible feat within a 26.2 mile distance.
LA Marathon officials reached the same conclusion after an investigation using video footage showed that Meza left the course and returned at a different point.
The footage showed Meza, a retired physician, stepped off the course and reentered at another point before the timing mat, officials said.
Marathon Investigation examined automatic camera photos from before the 25km timing mat which appeared to show Meza hopping onto the course shortly before the mat, so as to register an official time.
The runner maintained to an
Marathon organizers said in a statement: ‘After an extensive review… has determined that Dr. Frank Meza violated a number of race rules during the 2019 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, including re-entering the course from a position other than where he left it.
Derek Murphy said in a video: ‘I looked back 6 minutes and he was never on the portion of the course leading up to the sidewalk so it showed me he didn’t run that full part of the course’
It was also noted that one of his 5k splits was so fast it would have broken the world record for that time in his age group – an impossible feat within a 26.2 mile distance
‘The video evidence is confirmed by a credible eyewitness report and our calculation that Dr. Meza’s actual running time for at least one 5K course segment would have had to have been faster than the current 70-74 age group 5K world-record [an impossible feat during a marathon].’
On Monday, Meza doubled down on his performance, and told the L.A. Times: ‘I didn’t cut the course.’
But amateur sleuths looking into his history disagreed.
Meza, who was praised in Runner’s World in 2014 for running the California International Marathon (CIM) in a staggering 2:52:33, was found to have been retrospectively disqualified from the event in 2014 and 2016 and subsequently banned for life.
Despite this, Meza insists he planned to compete in the 2020 race and intended to show he can complete the marathon in a sub three-hour time
He was also under scrutiny for the 2019 Sprouts Mesa-Phoenix Marathon.
Despite this, Meza – who founded the Aztlan Track Club in 1974 – insisted he planned to compete in the 2020 race and intended to show he could complete the marathon in a sub three-hour time.
After hearing news of the former Loyola High School assistant distance coach’s passing, his colleagues and associates expressed sadness for the man who had stepped down in June for health reasons.
The editor for High School Cross Country website PepCalTrack.com Rich Gonzalez tweeted he was ‘stunned and heartbroken’.
‘This has been a pretty difficult stretch in recent weeks. “Doc” has been a great friend and positive spirit to many in the running community and beyond for decades,’ Gonzalez posted. ‘This is a tremendous loss. There has been ‘much going on’ for a recent while regarding Doc, as some of you know.
‘As painful a loss as this is for many of us, we will cherish some great memories of a great person.’
Colleagues and associates expressed sadness for the man who had stepped down from his Loyola High School assistant distance coach role in June for health reasons