Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OT: Women's Marathon Winner Loses!

This doesn't make any sense, but this is what happened.

At Women's Marathon, fastest time didn't win
There were over 20,000 competitors in Sunday's Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. And 24-year-old Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher from New York City, ran the fastest time of any of the women.

But she didn't win.

No one seemed exactly sure what to do. The trophies had already been handed out and the official results announced. Now organizers seem to be hoping it will all go away.

"At this point," Nike media relations manager Tanya Lopez said Monday, "we've declared our winner."

O'Connell said some race officials actually implied she'd messed up the seeding by not declaring herself an "elite" runner.

"If you're feeling like you're going to be a leader," race producer Dan Hirsch said Monday, "you should be in the elite pack."

So this is her fault? O'Connell was just being modest.

"I'm a good, solid runner," she said. "I never considered myself elite."

Jim Estes, associate director of the long-distance running program for USA Track and Field, did his best to explain the ruling. He's had some practice with the issue. The Sunday before last, at the Chicago Marathon, a Kenyan named Wesley Korir pulled off a similar surprise, finishing fourth even though he wasn't in the elite group and started five minutes after the top runners.

Read the whole article to see exactly what happpened.

Comments are allowed on this article, and many people are saying that Arien O'Connell should sign with some shoe company other than Nike and make a bundle.

I don't know that I'd buy a shoe with her name on it just because of this...but I have to say I'm not too impressed with the people Nike hires to run their marathons...

And one wouldn've thought the three women who were called the winners would have handed back their prize money, regardless...

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