Two runners, including one who originally finished in the top-10, have been disqualified from Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K on Sunday. Sarah Deck, who crossed the line eighth overall in the women’s race, originally was listed as having run 1:57:15 but has since been stripped of that result.
Deck, who in the previous two years ran 3:23:44 and improved to 2:31:56 in 2016 at ATB, did not post splits past the 15K mark of the race after going through 10K in 45:40 and 15K in 1:07:30 (4:30 per kilometre average pace). There are timing mats set up throughout the course to ensure runners cover the necessary distance. Sportstats, a well-known timing company, tracks the statistics.
According to her splits through the halfway point, Deck, who was wearing bib 137, would have needed to run 49:45, a pace of approximately 3:19 per kilometre over the second 15K to finish in 1:57:15. For comparison, that would have been 20 seconds faster per kilometre than what Dayna Pidhoresky, this year’s Around the Bay 30K champion, ran for the final 15K (54:00).
“I was hurt but I just wanted to cross the finish.” – Sarah Deck
Around the Bay, North America’s oldest distance road race, first run in 1894, is a looped course. As can be seen on the below route map, the 15K point (the last spot where Deck is recorded as crossing a timing mat) is located on Beach Boulevard, a significant distance from both the start and from the finish at FirstOntario Centre in downtown Hamilton. How Deck made it from the 15K point back to the finish line is still unknown.
“Yes I was disqualified,” Deck told Canadian Running. “I was hurt but I just wanted to cross the finish. The initial results were wrong and myself being disqualified is correct now. This has been very upsetting for me – not being able to finish as I have in previous years. Someone recognized my distress and helped me. I have explained myself to ATB.”
“I wanted to get across the line and find my mom in the audience,” she adds. “That’s what I did. I feel horrible and I understand the runners that are upset but have seen by now that I was disqualified. I was not cheating. I did not want the credit.”
When asked specifically of whether she informed race officials that she had not run the entire race, Deck says “I explained my story to them but I did not hear anything back but I saw online I was disqualified which is accurate.”
Interestingly, Daniel Cherubini, who posted identical splits as Deck through 10K and 15K, also appears as a DQ in the results. Photos of Deck show that she was wearing two timing chips, one on each foot, held in place by her laces. Each runner is assigned a single timing chip that corresponds with their bib number.
“I was not cheating. I did not want the credit.” – Deck
Cherubini told Canadian Running that he didn’t compete at Around The Bay because of a stress fracture adding that he had a friend run with his timing chip. He told race officials not to count his initial result. (The race director has not responded to CR‘s request for comment.)
A search on Marathon-Photos.com shows a photo of Deck crossing the finish line. Even though Cherubini confirms that he didn’t race, when one searches his bib (#100) Deck’s finish line sequence come up. (The header also says “congratulations Daniel” eliminating the chance of search error.) “This is something that is personal that people may or may not understand,” Deck explains when asked of wearing two timing chips. She did not elaborate per CR‘s request.
A photographer on course, who was situated at Valley Inn Hill road, captured shots of each of the top-10 women right before they started climbing the race’s infamous hill. Deck was not one of the top-10 runners, according to the photographs. A source told Canadian Running that they believe Deck joined the race with approximately 600m to go.
The then-ninth, 10th, and 11th-place runners, Tanis Bolton, Sarah Elliott and Truphena Busienei, respectively, have all been bumped up in the results and are, as of March 28, officially listed in the top-10.