S.D. marathoner only ran half the race

Sept. 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Organizers of the Sioux Falls Marathon in South Dakota said they disqualified a runner as the winner after realizing he only ran half the race.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that while Olok Nykew, 37, a St. Paul, Minn., resident who is originally from Sudan, crossed the finish line first Sunday morning, officials determined he had run the half-marathon course, not the full 26.2-mile marathon course. The companion events followed separate, but sometimes overlapping, routes through the city before ending at the same spot.

The marathoners wore black numbers and the half-marathoners wore red. Nykew who came in 25 minutes faster than the event's record, was wearing a black number but finished among runners wearing red ones.

"He registered for the marathon and ended up running the half and came in 25 minutes before the record," assistant race director Jason Richards told the newspaper. "They figured it out and disqualified him."

Nykew expressed confusion about what happened.

"Maybe I'm lost, I don't know," he said in an interview after crossing the finish line.

Later, he said realized when he reached the finish line so quickly something must have gone wrong.

"I thought, what is this? When I got there, I thought it was not long enough. I'm thinking I'm not cheating. I was just confused. It was an honest mistake," he said.

The real winner was Justin Gillette, 29, of Goshen, Ind., who broke the event record he set last year with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 10 seconds.

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