Republican vice presidential candidate and fitness enthusiast Paul Ryan has been caught in a lie that could destroy his political career.

Paul Ryan has never run a marathon in under three hours.

Last week, Ryan claimed his personal best was "two hour and fifty-something." But that doesn't match up with the facts.

Ryan's name does not show up in the 1991 race results provided by Grandma's. Runner's World checked 11 years of results for Grandma's Marathon, from 1988 through 1998, and found a finisher in the 1990 race by the name of Paul D. Ryan, 20, of Minneapolis.

Ryan's middle name is Davis, and he was 20 in 1990. The finishing time listed was 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds.

Not a sub-three — or even a sub-four. Could this be the scandal that destroys Paul Ryan?

Never mind any factual inaccuracies in his political speeches: a runner's time is sacred. Straight-up lying about Obama "raiding" Medicare and closing GM plants is one thing. Bragging about a fictional athletic accomplishment is quite another.

A Romney-Ryan spokesperson explained, "His comments on the [radio] show were the best of his recollection." To the best of my recollection, I have never been able to run a mile without getting winded — but you damn well better believe I remember every shameful time.

Ryan issued a statement Friday night, in which he acknowledged spreading misinformation and subverting the institution of marathoning.

The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin — who ran Boston last year — reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.

A "good ribbing" will be nothing compared to the pounding Ryan will surely take from the athletic community.

You have lost the coveted runner vote, sir. This is the political equivalent of hitting the wall.

[Image via AP]