Paul Ryan Trips Over Marathon Question

COLUMBUS - Paul Ryan is an athlete, no question about it - we know he does the rigorous P90X exercise regime daily. But is he a marathoner?

On Hugh Hewitt's radio show Aug. 22, it sure sounded like he was, at least in his youth.

Hewitt asked the vice presidential candidate whether he is "still running."

Ryan answered that he "hurt a disc" in his back," so he doesn't "run marathons anymore." Instead, he said. he just runs 10 miles or less.

The conservative radio host then asked him what his personal best time is. For a marathoner this is a badge of honor, but Ryan couldn't recall exactly.

"Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something," Ryan said.

Hewitt was surprised, saying, "Holy smokes."

Ryan replied: "I was fast when I was younger, yeah."

But it turns out, he's only run one and it wasn't under three hours or even under four hours.

The Ryan campaign told Runner's World magazine that the House Budget Chairman ran one marathon in 1990 when he was 20 years old. That was the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. The running magazine reports he finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 25 seconds.

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck provided ABC News with this statement from the Republican vice presidential candidate:

"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."

ABC News asked Buck why the Wisconsin congressman made it sound as if he had run more than one marathon, but Buck only responded to confirm it was just a single race.

Runner's World has some great statistics on other national candidates that have faster times than Ryan, including the last GOP vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who has a best time of 3:59

John Edwards has run 3:30 and George W. Bush has run 3:44, while Al Gore is slower than Ryan with a 4:58.