04/25/2013 02:42 EDT | Updated 04/21/2014 03:59 EDT

2 Banned From Vancouver Sun Run For Cheating

Two Sun Run winners have been stripped of their medals and banned from the Vancouver event for life after they were found to have cheated.

Neena Cheema originally won in the the 50-54 age category for women, while Mohammed Razak was first in the men's category for 55- to 59-year-olds.

But statements from witnesses and video evidence indicated they both took shortcuts in the 10-kilometre course.

Event organizer Jamie Pitblado spoke to the pair yesterday to tell them they were disqualified.

"There really wasn't much reaction. There certainly was no challenging to my message to them. It was as if they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar," he said.

"They both just sort of said, 'Okay,' and that was it. I was very disappointed in the fact that they didn't own up to it or certainly acknowledge that what they had done was wrong."

Pitblado says it looks as though Cheema has been cheating for years.

He says she seems to leave near the start line, then somehow makes her way back onto the course with just 1.5 kilometres to go.

Pitblado says they will be making changes before next year's event to try and prevent this from happening again.

"I'm amazed and, frankly, I'm appalled that people in a community event like this — it's a fun run — would go to these sort of places to ensure their own gratification at the expense of people who train hard, run fair and come out and participate," he said.

Neither Cheema nor Razak could be reached for comment.

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