Found on The OC Register and written by Taylor Hill
The record time set at this year’s OC Marathon didn’t stand for long, as organizers disqualified men’s winner Mohamed Fadil on Tuesday after video showed him receiving aid while on the 26.2-mile course.
A protest was sent in after Sunday’s marathon finish, and organizers, after looking at video, said it was a violation of USA Track & Field’s Rule 144 dealing with assistance to athletes.
OC Marathon director Gary Kutscher said the video was brought to him by Nathan Shay, the brother of marathon runner-up Stephan Shay, showing Fadil – who was runner-up in last year’s race – joined by a cyclist on the race course, who was pacing the runner and giving him fluids along the way.
“The videotape was pretty clear evidence,” said Kutscher, adding other witnesses also reported similar findings. Kutscher said that five different videos were sent in showing the illegal aiding.
“In one video, you can actually hear Nathan telling the cyclist that what he’s doing is against the rules, but he kept doing it,” Kutscher said.
Fadil’s record time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 45 seconds will be removed and the old record of 2:22:45 set in 2011 by Peter Omae Ayieni of Kenya will be reinstated.
Fadil, who race organizers said lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was not immediately available for comment.
Replacing Fadil as winner is Stephan Shay, 27, of Huntington Beach, who finished with a time of 2:23:09. Shay had already won $2,000 for recording the fastest time set by a Californian, but with Fadil’s disqualification, he will receive another $2,000, and a first-place finish.
“It was kind of a mess out there, but I’m glad it’s all been straightened out,” Shay said after hearing of the disqualification Tuesday evening.
Shay explained the videotape, saying he was neck-and-neck with Fadil for stretches of the race, and his brother’s girlfriend was trying to get video of him running when they noticed the cyclist alongside Fadil.
“I noticed him getting assistance for most of the race,” Shay said. He and the other racers were only able to receive fluids at the designated water stations along the course, while Fadil had access to water at all times. “It makes a big difference,” he said.
For Shay, the victory was a sweet one, even if it came at the hands of a controversy. The day of the OC Marathon was also the birthday of his late brother, who collapsed and died during the 2007 U.S. Olympic marathon trials in New York. He would have turned 35 Sunday.
“I wanted to do this race in part to commemorate Ryan,” Shay said. “I thought I had a decent shot of winning the race, and, in sort of a roundabout way, I guess I did.”
For next year, Shay says he definitely plans to come back and defend his title.
As for Fadil, Kutscher said he is welcome to participate in next year’s race.
“In the conversations I had with him over the phone, he felt bad for doing what he did,” Kutscher said. “He should have known this, and it was a costly mistake.”