First off, the entire course was very dusty and breathing in that dust caused all kinds of injuries, including one runner who was hospitalized with hemorrhaging after the dust tore his esophagus and stomach lining. The organizer of the race purposefully withheld water in order to test the effects of dehydration. So the whole thing was a nightmare from the start.
That first-place finisher, Fred Lorz, hitched a ride in a car to the end of the course after he was struck with serious cramping. He got out shortly before the finish line and crossed it, which fooled some of the onlookers. He claimed he did it "as a joke."
That second-place finisher, Thomas Hicks, was given a mixture of egg whites and strychnine, a poison that is often used to kill rodents or birds, as an attempt at a performance-enhancing drug. He was carried across the finish line by his handlers.
That fourth-place finisher, Andarín Carbajal (pictured above), was a Cuban national who raised money to attend the Olympics by running the entire length of Cuba. He gambled away all the money when he arrived in the States, and showed up for the race in dress clothing. Thankfully, another runner used a knife to cut his pants into shorts. Carbajal stopped at a roadside orchard for a snack during the race, but the apples were rotten so he was struck with stomach cramps and had to sleep it off.