AN IMPOSTER in the London Marathon who swiped a lost race number to make ‘a dream come true’ has been jailed for 16 weeks.
Stanislaw Skupian crossed the finishing line after legitimate runner Jake Halliday dropped his bib 300m from the end when he stopped to take off his T-shirt during the hottest London Marathon on record.
Homeless Skupian, 38, was pictured celebrating with a medal on April 22.
Mr Halliday, who was competing for charity Bloodwise, was stopped from completing the marathon after losing his number. He was ‘shocked’ when friends told him someone had been pictured with his medal, Uxbridge magistrates heard.
Jameela Jamroz, defending, said Skupian aspired to take part and had trained for the 26.2-mile race.
She said he saw the number on the floor and ‘in his excitement picked up the identifier thinking this was his opportunity to compete in the marathon and that this was in fact a dream come true’. He did not realise he had done anything wrong and ‘dedicated the completion’ to his seven-year-old son and to ‘inspire’ homeless people, Ms Jamroz added.
London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel said the episode could damage the reputation and integrity of the race, regarded as one of the best organised in the world, the court heard.
Skupian, who has lived in the UK for 11 years, injured his neck in a car crash last year, was forced to take sick leave from a catering job and had separated from his wife, Ms Jamroz said. He suffered a temporary breakdown shortly before the race, she added.
Skupian was arrested when police found him in a prayer room at Heathrow Airport with items including a primary school worker’s ID and a diary of overtime hours worked by airline staff.
He viewed the airport as a temporary home and would pick up left-behind objects, the court heard.
Skupian, who used a Polish translator, last month admitted fraud by false representation and three unrelated theft charges. He has also been banned from Heathrow Airport for three years unless flying.