Briefly, Julie has been accused of flimflamming her way through the Whistler Ironman and the Half Ironman in Vancouver: but other race results are under question as well.
When not embroiled in racing disputations, Miller is a mental-health counselor, focused on body image hang-ups. One might be tempted to recommend she live the proverb “physician heal thyself” for something has to be missing mentally not only in her ethics and conscience to cheat, but to be missing in her perspective and self-awareness to then, astoundingly, with blinders on, presume she can help others. (She says her clients should ignore the publicity of her athletic imbroglios.)
And one is definitely tempted to wonder why on earth she’d bother to engage in premeditated, as opposed to spur-of-the-moment, cheating in a sport only hard-ass competitors and hardcore fans care about – for isn’t finishing one of these grueling ordeals enough of a reward?
Moreover, it wasn’t as if she was going for the whole kit and caboodle in these events. She was running and winning in her age category, 40-44. Even victorious, untainted by accusation and suspicion, no hieroglyphics would be etched into monuments extolling her efforts. So, again, why the rip-offs? Why be a podium impostor?
If she knew her conditioning was not up to snuff to actually win, why not run 10k’s, or sprint along sandy beaches, or take the dog for a brisk walk to keep fit, and feel warm and fuzzy about herself? Why the overweening, somewhat embarrassing, desire to be noticed, recognized, rewarded as a world champion?
If the accusations about her fitness frauds are true (they are difficult to definitively prove) lord knows what she’s going to tell her two young daughters about these controversies when their questions invariably arise.
What’s craziest, however, was the dollars she’d spend, and the places she’d go, to take shortcuts. She has run races in such far-off locales such as Motala, Sweden and in Weihai, China. So not only is she thought to be a cad, locally, but might be thought to be a cad, globally too.
Now, it should be emphasized that Ms. Miller has not been found guilty in court. She is believed to have had weird, unreasonably fast bike times in two of the four laps in the Vancouver Subaru Ironman and to have cut portions in the running segment - and her case isn’t helped in somehow losing her timing chips (which allow organizers to chart times for race portions) in the Whistler Ironman in 2013 and 2015. She’s puzzled as to how they were lost. (Timing chips are strapped around the ankle.) And some think losing the chip, but not the strap, is hardly plausible – for some have lost the straps in competition.
No, she’s not legally guilty but in perhaps the arena most important in weighing innocence or otherwise, the court of her peer athletes – well, they’ve weighed in – and they don’t believe her successes. The proofs they offer in doubting her deeds include getting feedback from race volunteers and competitors as to whether they saw Miller at various points in races, plus getting onlooker and official race pictures...
Their findings have definitely caused Ironman to ban her from future races and have apparently caused her coach, Bjoern Ossenbrink, to drop her from his racing stable.
Now, of course, folks are dropping caustic bombs on her (paraphrasing): She just gets lost often; did dolphins help her in swim parts; her legs don’t look like world-class champion pistons; the actual winners had their moments in the bright lights robbed from them; she’s a dog for being a glory hound...
Julie Miller professes her innocence. Perhaps she’d be amenable to taking a lie detector test...Perhaps she could explain, if she knew her chips went missing in the two races, why she didn’t report this to organizers as required...perhaps she could offer to run a marathon to test how fast she really is...perhaps she could explain why she didn’t use the 15 day period Triathlon Canada granted her, to appeal their decision to ban her for two years.
It’s not like she’s without resources. She’s apparently retained a defamation lawyer. She says she is very organized and gets quality shut-eye. She hasn’t been accused of cheating by drafting on a bike. For the main part, she’s been admired by other Squamish citizens, and her husband, Ryan Letchford, is a bedrock of support.
Academically, her undergraduate degree is in Outdoor Recreation. She has a Masters in Social Work. Sure, these are nebulous disciplines, unquantifiable at best, and a hodge-podge at worst, but so far her employer, Quest University Canada, has not axed her as a counsellor and that institution says “...she is a strong community member...” whatever that means. A student-client seems willing to forgive her. (Although having the support of Quest U, which aims low, being a non-profit, eschewing the standard, institutional global game of excellence tracked by financial successes, and which offers but one degree, a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences - may not be enough to rest one’s tattered laurels on.)
So, ultimately, how will this all play out? Sadly, but hopefully, if Julie has any decency, if, in her heart of hearts, she knows she is truly guilty, the only running she’ll do now is to run and hide – and maybe get some help along the way for her habit of using her hobby horse as a hobby hoax – or fess up, face the music, and rebuild her reputation - one step at a time.