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Rolly: In honesty race, marathoner is the anti-Paul Ryan

Published November 5, 2013 8:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Laker Lew Baker is calling himself the anti-Paul Ryan.

While Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, fudged a bit on his marathon time during an interview in the midst of the campaign, Baker felt compelled to disavow the finishing time he received at the New York City Marathon on Sunday that he actually didn't finish.

Ryan, you might recall, had to walk back the statement he made that he finished a marathon in less than three hours. It turned out, he had run one marathon that he completed in a tad over four hours.

Baker, on the other hand, says he has run 12 marathons, but he didn't complete the race Sunday.

He began the marathon but said he didn't feel right. By the 16th mile, his back ached, his stomach hurt, and he gave up. He hopped the fence, met up with his family and went back to retrieve his bags he had left at the starting area.

He was told he couldn't go back in Central Park until the race was over, into the night. About 7 p.m., he and his wife walked to the finish line to get his bags and went home.

Later, he received an email from the New York Marathon congratulating him for finishing the race in 8 hours, 42 minutes and 52 seconds.

He figured out that when he retrieved his bags, he still had his number with him that triggered the electronic timer when he walked past the finishing line.

His supposed perseverance for finishing the race, even after all that time, was so inspiring a television network wanted to interview him, the marathon folks told him. He informed them he didn't finish the race, so he wasn't exactly an inspiration.

Besides, he told me, as an experienced marathoner, he didn't want anyone to think it took him nearly 9 hours to finish the race. Even Paul Ryan would smirk at that one.

The new journalism • Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis stuck to his normal routine Saturday morning. He went to the Starbucks on 400 South near 700 East, ordered a coffee, a bagel with cream cheese and a Salt Lake Tribune.

After getting his food and paying, he went to a table, put down his items and retrieved the paper for which he had already paid from the rack.

After he finished reading the paper, he put it back in the rack so it could be used by someone else, even though he had paid.

But a muckraker lurking in the shadows believed he had uncovered a scandal: Dabakis, who also is a state senator, had committed a theft of services, so to speak, by reading the newspaper for free.

Heck, if Dabakis had wanted to do that, he could have just gotten on the Internet.

Our muckraker, Mark McGillis, then posted on his Facebook page the dirty deed he had witnessed. And, voilà, Dabakis was unmasked as a thief.

The problem, of course, is McGillis didn't see that Dabakis had paid for the paper and was simply recycling it.

There is the problem with the new social media. Anyone can play investigative journalist and put out erroneous information that can be instantly read by thousands.

Perhaps Dabakis should go on Red Meat Radio, hosted by conservative legislators Howard Stephenson and Greg Hughes, both R-Draper, and set the record straight.

Little extra boost? • Arcadia Elementary in Taylorsville has a large sign on the front of the school stating it is sponsored by the Unified Fire Authority.

Arcadia also was a polling location Tuesday and on the ballot inside was whether Taylorsville should join the Unified Fire Service Area, which is a member of the UFA.

Granite District spokesman Ben Horsley says there was no conscious effort to promote the initiative on Election Day. He says the UFA has been a sponsor of the school for years and that the sign has been there for some time.

"Most of the school employees are not community patrons and would not be aware of local ballot initiatives," he added. "I'm sure that not much thought was given to the ballot by the school, and it's really not something we're concerned about."

prolly@sltrib.com