Road to Tempe 2016: The Current State of IronFat

In exactly 72 days, Ragen Chastain plans to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon in under 17 hours at IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, AZ. To date, she has yet to complete a triathlon of any length. Her endurance event experience consists of failing to complete the swim at IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona after showing up woefully unprepared last year, and taking advantage of the rules at the 2013 Seattle Marathon to force volunteers to remain on the course until she finished in well over 12 hours “in a blur of pain”. Since starting her claimed daily 3-5 hour training regimen in May 2014, she has managed to drop out of a marathon, drop out of two super sprint triathlons, and cut the course at a novelty fun run 5K. The only athletic achievement she has to show for the 2000-3000+ hours she has apparently spent training for IronFat is lowering her 5K PR from 1:09:50 to 1:05:51, still not quite managing to break into the elite sub-hour 5K walking class.

At the moment Ragen is neglecting both of her blogs and her social media accounts. There have only been five IronFat updates since July 12, or once every 12 days. While we await further Miracle Months updates like the century ride report, here is a summary of the current state of Ragen’s IRONMAN training.

Swim

As of August 18, Ragen is “in good shape to make the cut-off” at IMAZ. As usual she fails to give any meaningful times or distances, or say whether she actually swam the entire 2.4 miles within the allotted 2:20 cut-off. She is still avoiding any kind of open water swimming in crowds and appears to be set to make IMAZ only her second open water swim start ever. We know how well that worked out last year when she failed to meet the 1:10 swim cut-off at the 70.3 despite supposedly never having swam the distance in over an hour in her life.

Bike

As of August 17, Ragen is “far slower” than the speed she needs to maintain to complete the bike section, or approximately 13.7 mph over the maximum 8:10 cut-off. Of course, we may yet see a miraculous improvement, like when she went from barely being able to do figure eights on a basketball court to a half-century ride in three weeks. Since she failed to meet the swim cut-off and has not entered any events were she actually rode her bike, we have no idea what kind of speed she can actually maintain other than “too slow”.

Run

The only thing Ragen has ever revealed about her running pace is that it is “barely faster than a walk”.

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As of April 9, Ragen’s official 5K PR is 1:05:51. The IMAZ run cut-off is 6:30. At Ragen’s 5K pace she would require 9:15 to finish the run. The Running for Fitness race predictor estimates an even longer 10:20 based on her 5K time and age. It is safe to say Ragen has never demonstrated the ability to walk or run anywhere close to the required pace for the run segment of an IRONMAN, especially after having completed a long open water swim and gruelling 112 mile bike ride at a speed she is still unable to maintain. However, in the comments section of her latest update she was happy to casually drop the suggestion that she regularly “runs” distances in excess of 13.1 miles, just like how she was regularly doing long runs “up to 24 miles” last year.

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At this point it seems fairly certain we are in for a repeat of last year’s performance, with either a swim DNF or short-lived bike DNF. After 28 months of intense training, Ragen has nothing to show for herself other than a long string of embarrassing race dropouts and failures. She has already confirmed she will be entering IMAZ 2017, so we anticipate yet another repeat next year when she completes a trilogy of IronFlops.

Road to Tempe 2016: Selfie Sunday Compilation

In exactly 96 days, Ragen Chastain plans to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon in under 17 hours at IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, AZ. To date, she has yet to complete a triathlon of any length. Her entire endurance event experience consists of showing up woefully underprepared for IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona last October and failing to complete the swim, and gaming the rules at the 2013 Seattle Marathon to force volunteers to remain on the course until she finished in well over 12 hours “in a blur of pain”. Since she started her apparently intense daily 3-5 hour training regimen in May 2014, she has managed to drop out of a marathon, two super sprint triathlons, and cut the course at a novelty fun run 5K. Over the the last two years, her 5K PR has gone down from 1:09:50 to 1:05:51, still not quite managing to break into the elite sub-hour 5K nonagenarian class.

At the moment Ragen appears to be in a slump, coming off a long period of mysterious illness, and neglecting both her training and blogging as she did last summer. She is referring to the period between now and November as “miracle months” because she acknowledges it would take a miracle for her to have any hope of finishing the race. In over two years of training, she hasn’t shared a single meaningful piece of training data like a pace or time. Instead she continues to write meaningless “training updates” and post weekly collections of blurry close-ups of her face to somehow prove she is actually training for 3-5 hours every day and ready for an IRONMAN despite all evidence to the contrary. It is debatable how many of these photos are even genuine, given she is now stripping EXIF data and making them as generic as possible after being caught posting fake training selfies from EXIF data and even from background details. The one time Ragen has accidentally included EXIF data since then revealed that she considers gentle highway underpasses on a paved urban path to be incredibly steep hills, and that even the vague description she had given of her workout was a lie.

In honour of Fake Selfie Sunday returning to IronFat after a month-long hiatus, we’ve put together a compilation of almost every single IronFat selfie, arranged for smooth transitions. This should give you a good idea of how meaningful Ragen’s “training selfies” truly are compared to almost any other “athlete”.

Road to Tempe 2016: Four Fit Fatties who put Ragen to shame

[Welcome Pathetic Triathletes! We’d like to invite you to check out the posts Is Ragen Wrong about Everything? and The Truth about Ragen Chastain to get an idea of why this blog exists and why we feel it is important to call her out.]

In exactly 103 days, Ragen Chastain claims she will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon in under 17 hours at IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, AZ. To date, her only endurance event experience consists of gaming the rules at the 2013 Seattle Marathon to force the volunteer to allow her to finish in over 12 hours, and failing to complete the swim segment at IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona last October. This year she has worked hard on her 5K personal record and managed to get it down to an elite 1:05:51. This was followed up by her recent IronFlop 4.3K disqualification when she was unable to finish a novelty fun run 5K course properly and ruined a week of IRONMAN training by walking for an hour.

Ragen is currently “sick” or else training hard depending on whether you check IronFat or Dances with Fat. It is coming up on a month since her last training update, reminiscent of last summer when she only posted a single IronFat update between July 8 and August 28, and most of her Dances with Fat posts were deleted reposts. If she follows last year’s pattern, she will soon be making enormous progress after a year of dismal failures, right in time for another swim DNF in November. We anticipate a century ride report at some point before November 20, but any other speculation would be fairly meaningless.

While Ragen continues to train for “3-5 hours” every day, we would like to focus on something completely different. Fit Fatties is a forum Ragen created where “thousands” of fit but fat women apparently post about all their amazing athletic endeavours on a regular basis. The most notable output of Fit Fatties is the infamous Fit Fatties Across America video where Ragen and her pal Jeanette DePatie and 1,500 forum members completed a 2,800 mile “virtual journey” across America that amounted to a grand total of 125 feet per day for each participant. Signing up for a Fit Fatties forum account quickly reveals the forum is a ghost town, but it has evolved into an extremely active Facebook group. It is clear from Ragen’s participation that she does not care about the participants in any way beyond being able to brag about creating Fit Fatties and use it for self-promotion. Her only participation in the Facebook group for the last few months has been occasional posts asking people to send her money for the upcoming Fat Activism Conference.

In the Fit Fatties Facebook group, HAES is king and weight loss talk is banned. There are no male members in sight, and the vast majority of posters are obese middle-age women doing basic activities like walking, hiking, or biking short distances, which is certainly reasonable enough. Ragen’s elite athleticism is sometimes a source of awe and inspiration for many members who look up to her for being such an apparently accomplished athlete.

However, there are occasionally some genuinely impressive “fit fatties” who post in the Facebook group, like the four women we will be featuring in our post today from the last few weeks. While Ragen was spending the last two years writing about how much she hates training and doing as much as possible to portray triathlon as a depressing and miserable sport nobody in their right mind would ever participate in, these women were training hard to do what they love. While Ragen was spending over a year whining about being unable to find triathlon gear and renting inappropriate men’s wetsuits for photo shoots, these women were solving their gear problems quickly and getting on with their training. While Ragen was skipping out on events and taking her utter failure of a 70.3 as a sign she should register for a full IRONMAN, these women were doing races appropriate for their abilities and body sizes. All of these women have achieved athletic goals far more impressive than anything Ragen has ever done in her life, and none of them will ever be featured on Dances with Fat or IronFat because Ragen simply does not care about other fat athletes who make her look bad.

Despite our obviously negative opinion of Ragen and her antics and moneymaking schemes, Fit Fatties may actually be her most positive creation, simply by virtue of Ragen herself having no part in its content and being unable to monetize it.

Update: Some concerns have been expressed about the use of anonymized Fit Fatties content in this post. We feel it is a reasonable fair use of the content, and specifically avoided obscuring faces because of past issues and because it plays into the “headless fatty” trope many fat activists decry. There is very little meaningful identifying information in any of these posts, and some of the concerns seem rather overblown. Nevertheless, faces have now been obscured to further anonymize the photos, which we feel detracts from their accomplishment to some extent.

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Throwback Wednesday: July 11, 2003

Ragen has been mysteriously ill for the last few weeks, and IronFat updates have ground to a halt. The regular pity party about trolls and haters continues on Dances with Fat. Until things pick up, we will be plumbing the depths of Ragen’s old LiveJournal again for more little tidbits from her past. We’ve also taken a page from Ragen’s book and decided to not feel constrained by labels like the correct day of the week for a post.

In today’s throwback from 2003, Ragen the 27 year old queer rights activist tells us about the one person she would kill if she could get away with it.

3) If you could kill one person and get away with it, who would it be and how would you do it?
I will be good I will be good I will be good. I would kill George W. Bush. I would hire a well hung gay man to sodomize him to death–Legally🙂.

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Road to Tempe 2016: Fat Boy excuses and another year of IronFat

As expected, Ragen has come up with a litany of excuses in a new IronFat update following her Fat Boy 5K course cutting disqualification. The list is quite extensive. She had blisters from her “long run” earlier that morning. She didn’t look at the course map. She forgot to turn on her GPS watch. The volunteers at the turn didn’t direct her properly. The volunteers handing out medals at the finish line didn’t tell her she was going the wrong way. She didn’t notice the racers with bibs who crossed the finish line directly before and after her. Somehow an “elite” athlete with experience in several 5Ks, a marathon, and an IRONMAN 70.3 didn’t think it was odd she received a medal before actually finishing. And then on and on with the usual handwringing claims about harassment from anonymous internet trolls who apparently contacted every single race official as well as her best friend. Of course, their efforts were for naught, since Ragen, honest to a fault, had supposedly already contacted the timing company to out herself.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog that video evidence clearly shows Ragen’s version of events is not accurate. She claims a volunteer handed her a medal as she crossed the finish line, and she didn’t realize anything untoward had occurred until later. In the video itself, Ragen’s friend Jeanette DePatie slinks across the finish line the wrong way and sets up for a photo while Ragen presumably receives her medal off-camera. 10 seconds later, a racer with a bib crosses the finish line in the proper direction, directly in front of where Ragen is standing off-camera. After a further 30 seconds, Ragen crosses the finish line going the wrong way, already proudly wearing her medal. As she poses for her victory photo, yet another racer with a bib walks straight past her and crosses the finish line. Somehow Ragen remains oblivious to every indication she has cut the course.

Whether or not Ragen intentionally cut the course is rather immaterial at this point. She took a medal and didn’t say a word about it until a week later, after it blew up in her face. She has clearly spent time reading through all the posts about her on Reddit and other sites and attempted to address every criticism with weak excuses. She didn’t manage to come up with anything to explain why she and Jeanette were the only racers who took the wrong turn. She also didn’t explain why the other two members of her walking group took the correct route and finished in almost exactly her predicted true finish time, indicating they probably split at the turn. If it was a genuine mistake, then Ragen’s inability to correctly follow a novelty fun run 5K course speaks volumes about her preparation for IRONMAN Arizona in 4 1/2 months.

Ultimately, the most embarrassing part of this entire affair may be Ragen’s admission that walking 4.3km in over an hour was enough to seriously interfere with a week of IRONMAN training. This is the person who has claimed for many years that she normally exercises for an average of 3 1/2 hours every day, and up to 5 hours daily over the last 25 months of marathon and IRONMAN training. The person who claims she has attained “what is considered to be an elite level of health and fitness” and is in the top 5% of the country in strength and stamina. The person who is only months away from an IRONMAN and should be reaching the peak of her athletic form, but instead can barely walk like a normal human for a few kilometres.

In Ragen’s training update we learn that she has trouble swimming in public, that she has broken her bike again by exceeding its weight limit, and that her walk/runs have pleateaued at an unknown pace, presumably around her previous “barely faster than a walk” based on her recent 5K performances. Instead of any meaningful training data we are treated to yet another collection of blurry close-ups of Ragen’s face in the dark or in the same few locations, with the EXIF data redacted to prevent a repeat of Fake Selfie Sunday. In 4 months Ragen has gone from describing failing to finish at IMAZ as a “nightmare scenario” that would shake the foundation of her training regimen, to greatly lowering expectations and setting up yet another attempt in 2017 after she fails to finish in Tempe this November.

In 140 days, Ragen claims she will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full 26.2 mile marathon in under 17 hours. To date, she has yet to demonstrate the most basic competence in the any of the components of triathlon, or even the ability to walk 5km in under an hour. She has yet to complete any of the promised smaller events in preparation for her IRONMAN, unless her farcical attempts at 5Ks this year constitute serious race experience in her mind. It is abundantly clear that her training has not progressed in any meaningful way since her IRONMAN 70.3 DNS. She continues to lie, exaggerate, and obfuscate every single detail in an attempt to prove she is training harder than even professional triathletes. 2017 will presumably bring more of the same, and it remains to be seen how long Ragen will continue the “soon to be IRONMAN” charade.

At this point we have to seriously consider whether Ragen is still going through the motions of “training” for the financial benefits to her “elite fathlete” reputation, or whether she is truly delusional enough to believe she has a chance of completing an IRONMAN at her current weight and fitness level.

Road to Tempe 2016: Fat Boy 5K DQ

Update: Ragen has officially been disqualified.

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It would appear that Ragen’s course cutting at the recent Fat Boy 5K in Long Beach has now resulted in disqualification and the removal of her finish time from the official results. It is unclear what precipitated this decision since Ragen has yet to address the race and allegations of cheating in any way. It has now been almost two weeks since her last IronFat update. It seems unlikely Ragen reported herself to the race officials as would be customary for a runner accidentally cutting the course, especially since she is clearly wearing a falsely obtained finisher medal when she crosses the finish line the wrong way.

To clarify any ambiguity over what Ragen is actually wearing when she crosses the finish line, this sequence of photos shows her pre-race without a medal, then crossing the finish line and post-race wearing a medal. Medals were handed out by volunteers as participants crossed the finish line, so Ragen actually obtained one before “finishing” backwards and wore it across the line for her photo op.

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Ragen pre-race, not wearing medal.
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Ragen crosses the finish line backwards wearing a finisher medal.
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Ragen post-race wearing a finisher medal.

Ragen’s official race results now show “missing data” for her finish time, and her number 179 has been removed from the overall results.

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It remains to be seen whether Ragen will address this issue, and whether it will have any impact on her IRONMAN training or IRONMAN Arizona entry in November. She had a similar scandal last year when she was caught clearly faking her training selfies in “Fake Selfie Sunday”. Her only response was to distract attention with a Facebook tirade about mysterious “haters” attempting to hack and doxx her and send graphic rape and death threats as part of a “campaign of sustained harassment”.

Road to Tempe 2016: Ragen the Cheater

Update: Race route and related measurements corrected, video times clarified. Also thanks to Reddit user Bael_Take_The_Wheel for annotated course finish map.

A reader left a comment on our race report from Ragen’s recent 5K about coincidentally entering the same race and passing Ragen on the course, but somehow finishing behind her. There has been a lot of discussion about whether the blog comment was written by a troll, and how much if any of the story was actually true. Dances with Facts contacted the comment author, and we can confirm she provided extremely convincing evidence that she walked the course as described, backed up by photos and video. However, we were not initially able to verify some details of her story, such as the section abbreviated below about Ragen unexpectedly appearing at the finish line.

We were about 50 feet behind her and her friends for the 1st 15 minutes […] We speeded up to a fast walk (they were going at a strolling pace) and left her way behind […] As we continued on through the 5K at a medium-fast walk interspersed with jogging, we did not see her again and I assumed she was way behind us with her friends.

The last quarter mile of the course has some turns and as we rounded the corner and had a view of the finish area we were both VERY surprised to see Ragen Chastain ahead of us by about 5 minutes…. She was just crossing the finish line and taking a picture to celebrate. My husband was like WHAAAT…..and we were both completely puzzled as we had not seen her pass us at any point along the way.

Due to some sharp sleuthing by Reddit user monumenta, a major irregularity in Ragen’s finish time has come to light, confirming Jumbo Shrimp’s account of events. Unfortunately for Ragen, the official race timer provides photos and videos of all finishers on the results page. Earlier times in the video can be seen by dragging the slider completely to the left and then back to the desired time. Note that video times do not match race times because the video starts with the first finisher. At 45:45 (approximately 1:02:00 race gun time), Ragen’s friend Jeanette DePatie, who walked without registering, can be seen crossing the finish line the wrong way and setting up to take a photo. A short time later at 46:19 (chip time 01:01:45, gun time 01:02:32), Ragen herself also crosses the finish line in the wrong direction. Neither of them crossed the finish line in the correct direction at any earlier point, and this is Ragen’s official finish time. After taking a photo, they wander off into the food vendor area.

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Jeanette DePatie crosses the finish line going the wrong way and starts setting up to take a photo of Ragen.
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Ragen crosses the finish line going the wrong way.

The Fat Boy 5K Long Beach is a loop that starts and ends by the entrance of Shoreline Aquatic Park near the Aquarium of the Pacific. There is no course map available online this year, but running app screenshots posted by participants show it was similar to the previous year. Rather than turning right to loop around the park near the end as directed by race volunteers, Ragen and Jeanette turned left and cut straight to the finish line, shaving approximately 0.7km off the course. Based on the video, they are the only race participants who took this wrong turn. Both Ragen and Jeanette have participated in a number of street races, eliminating the possibility of a beginner’s error here.

Of note, Marilyn Wann can be seen crossing the finish line around the one hour mark in the video, which points to the group intentionally splitting up at the turn. Extrapolating Ragen’s incorrect finish time to the correct distance gives an estimated true finish time of 1:11:48, significantly worse than her last 5K in April.

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Marilyn Wann crosses the finish line in the correct direction.

Did Ragen intentionally cut the course, perhaps to avoid a slow official finish time or because of an injury? We can’t say, but she certainly hasn’t admitted to this mistake anywhere online. She has been “training” for a marathon and IRONMAN for over two years at this point, supposedly for 3-5 hours every single day. In 144 days, she claims she will be able to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon in under 17 hours, yet she is unable to achieve a 60 minute 5K even by cheating. This latest turn of events is yet another embarrassing blip on the road to what will almost certainly be a repeat of her dismal performance at IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona last October.