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March 23, 2017

Let me explain: Eminem never ran 1:54 in high school

I had a bit of fun back on April Fool’s Day 2011 on my old Spiked Up, Psyched Up blog when I posted the following race result:

Greater Detroit Regional
May 22, 1990

Event #31 Boys 800m Run
Heat 3

1. Saunders, Jeremy (Grosse Point South) 1:52.31
2. Jackson, Curtis (Cass Tech) 1:53.87
3. Buchanan, Keith (Kings) 1:54.75
4. Mathers, Marhshall (Lincoln) 1:54.76
5. Williams, Jamaal (Northwestern High) 1:57.89
6. Njapa, Charles (Western International) 2:01.01
7. Martin, Kelvin (Dearborn) 2:05.76

The guy in fourth place is obviously the main attraction — so did Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, really run a 1:54 800?

The answer: hell, no.

Though, as my colleague Ryan Sterner noted earlier this week, Eminem did admit to running up to 17 miles a day on the treadmill.

For the sake of intellectual honestly, I have to admit I didn’t even make up this April Fool’s Day ruse. The original fake race result came from a random LetsRun forum post earlier in 2011.

Despite the ludicrousness of the post — not to mention the day of the post — it tricked plenty of people, including Track Nation USA, Reddit, some dimwitted LetsRun message board posters, and even our good friends at Spikes Mag. Sorry!

One element of this prank that folks often forget is that Eminem isn’t the only rapper included in the prank.

First, there’s race runner-up Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent. Imagine if he actually had 1:53 speed — Get Rich or Die Tryin’ to Make Rio 2016 would’ve overtaken Without Limits as every high school runner’s favorite cult movie. And instead of albums called The Massacre, they likely would have been titled things like From the Candy Shop to In Da Club in Less Than 1:55.

Lesser known but also a figure in the hip-hop world was Charles Njapa in sixth place. Better known by his stage name 88-Keys, Njapa is a rapper and record producer from New York City. Kelvin Martin, who finished last in the imaginary race, is the Brooklyn criminal who inspired 50 Cent’s rap name.
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