A 70-year-old man found dead in the Los Angeles River on Thursday had been disqualified last week after appearing to set a new record for his age group in the city’s March marathon.
Frank Meza, a retired physician who had denied the cheating accusations, died Thursday after telling his wife he was going for a run.
“I said, ‘It will be good for you,’ and he said, ‘I‘ll see you later,’” Tina Meza told the Daily Beast.
She said all she knows is that he was found in the river.
KABC-TV reported his body was found in shallow water Thursday morning and cited officials as saying the cause of death was not suspected to be from drowning.
Meza's L.A. Marathon time was questioned after he finished in 2 hours 53 minutes and 10 seconds — the fastest ever for a man his age.
Organizers of the race on June 28 accused Meza of leaving the course at one point and re-entering at another after conducting an investigation and reviewing video. Marathon officials awarded Dan Adams first place in the 70-74 age group. He finished with a time of 4:10:07.
Meza told the L.A. Times he left the race to use a bathroom and “didn’t cut the course.”
His wife told the Daily Beast that running was very important to him.
“He had been running marathons for the last 30 or 40 years," she said. "He was very fast, quite fast, and now, unfortunately, he won’t run marathons anymore.”
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.