On February 26th I headed down to Fort Worth for the Cowtown half marathon. Before I recap the race I just had to talk about the big controversy of the weekend.
I was lucky enough to meet Scott Downard the night before the race. He works at the local running store and runs about a million miles a week. He hadn’t registered for the race and was going to use the race bib of a friend who was registered but ended up not being able to make the race.
On Saturday night he hadn’t even decided if he was going to run the full or he would just run the half. Apparently it hadn’t been a very good week. We joked around about what would happen if he won the race, if he’d have to tell the truth about how he was not the person his race bib said he was.
He woke up feeling good on Sunday, he paced a friend through the first 10 miles of his first half marathon, and when the time came for the course to split between the half and the full marathons he decided to go for it.
Well here’s what happened. He won it. He ran 26.2 miles in 2:31, that is crazy fast. We had all finished the half and were cheering people in and got to see him come by with his police and bicycle escort, and we saw him win it.
The name on the bib said Jerry. After he crossed the finish line he told the race director who he was and he was promptly disqualified. The guy that crossed the finish line second was awarded the top prize. The guy that finished second was about six minutes behind Scott.
Basically, when this picture was taken the guy that they gave the 1st place to was just passing mile marker 25. He got beat by a mile. A mile.
Later in the day when we all meet for lunch he was very humble about the whole thing. He knew that if he won that the possibility of being disqualified was there and he was okay with that. As his blog says he didn’t want to waste the opportunity for a nice long run.
The media was all over the story, and most of it is negative. He was called a cheater mostly. Really, he went out there and ran 26.2 miles in 2:31, he is anything but a cheater. Maybe race directors should rethink their policies on transferring race bibs. Although when it comes to elite runners, I would think that these races would want all the bad ass runners they can get.
Here’s a few of the stories about the race: