If 101-year-old runner Pierre "Buster" Martin reaches the finish line tomorrow in London, he would be the oldest person ever to complete a marathon. Assuming he really is 101.
Guinness officials said Friday that they did not consider Martin eligible for the record because he had never provided proof that he is 101.
A review by The Times of the documents Martin offered as proof of his age reveals that none were obtained with anything more than his own assertion that he was born Sept. 1, 1906, in France. The certificate of naturalization he provided was issued by the Home Office on Friday, based on an application made Thursday, when The Times first made inquiries.
"At the very least, there's no birth certificate. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors," said Robert Young, an independent senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records, though he was not speaking on behalf of the organization. Young said his sources had told him that Martin had two birth dates registered with the government: Sept. 1, 1906, and Sept. 1, 1913, which would make him 94. [Link]