Scott Downard handily won the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas on February 26. He outran his 9,000 competitors by more than six minutes, but when he reached the finish line, there was confusion instead of celebration — he wasn’t even registered for the marathon.
The race organizers had no record of him. In fact, they thought that Jerry Faulkner was the first-place winner. They eagerly followed the progress of “Faulkner” throughout the race, even excitedly tweeting the outcome.
Congratulations to Jerry Faulkner for winning The Cowtown Marathon in 2:31:40!!—
Heidi Swartz (@thecowtown) February 26, 2012
But Faulkner hadn’t run the marathon at all – it was his friend Downard, wearing Faulkner’s bib. Marathon officials were fooled until the finish, when Downard admitted his was not the name on the bib he was wearing. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the 25-year-old winner came clean, explaining “without any prompting” that his friend had registered for the race but couldn’t make it. So he passed off the bib to Downard.
But the organizers were quick in stripping Downard of the win due to his deceit. Race director Heidi Swartz said Downard, from Norman, Okla., took it well: ”He understood completely and said he’d come back next year.” Bafflingly, the Cowtown Marathon has seen this story before: in 2003, Augustine Hernandez was disqualified for the same situation, according to the Star-Telegram. Though being stripped of a medal after running the complete race is admittedly not as heinous as taking a bus to the finish line.
Second-place finisher Kolin Styles was handed the win, earning a free trip to the New York marathon this this November. After winning on this technicality, we hope he’ll check his registration twice next time.