Shortly after the Mississauga Marathon finished on Sunday, reports surfaced that the top two runners — Dagim Yeshitela and Predrag Mladenovic — may have been led off course by the escort cyclists.
Kenyan Joseph Nzinga took the official first-place prize in 2:27:50, while American Tracy Wollschlager won the women’s race in 3:01:15. Officials have since confirmed to Canadian Running that Nzinga was actually the third runner across the line. Yeshitela and Mladenovic finished well ahead, but were disqualified after the lead cyclists took them off course. Yeshitela likely would have run well under 2:20 and broken the course record, which would have meant a $2,500 bonus.
Peter Donato has more details on the Mississauga mess at mynextrace.com.
Mississauga Marathon organizers have confirmed an investigation is underway after the first-place, second-place and fifth-place runners went off course. One of the possible scenarios they are considering is to hand out prize money to all of the top six finishers — including those who were disqualified. A spokesman said that they would not be issuing any course record bonus to Yeshitela, since he cut part of the route short, even if it was through no fault of his own.
“The course was clearly marked,” said event coordinator Ben McCarty. “[But] there are some questions about the lead cyclists. We’re investigating and we’ll figure out [a solution] as we go.”
There were two marathons, two half-marathons, a 10K and 5K race in the Greater Toronto area on Saturday and Sunday. The Mississauga Marathon and GoodLife Marathon attracted about 10,000 runners each to their respective start lines.
Steady rain and windy conditions slowed the times for many of the top competitors. Brendan Kenny won the Toronto Marathon in 2:27:20, with Melissa Begin taking the women’s race in 2:54:51. Kenny edged Josephat Ongeri — second in 2:29:19 — a frequent training partner of Reid Coolsaet.
Toronto’s Jane Cullis ran an impressive three-minute personal best to win the women’s half-marathon by almost five minutes in 1:16:44.
This is the only year that the two Toronto-area marathons will conflict with each other. The GoodLife Marathon moved to the spring after the city of Toronto ruled the city shouldn’t have two fall marathons. In a deal reached in 2010, GoodLife agreed to move to the spring, while the Scotiabank Waterfront event was allowed to remain in the fall.
For more in the Mississauga Marathon, you can read a full report on Mississauga.com