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After athletes, race officials, the race referee and sponsors consulted, the decision was to award both Cam Dye and Lauren Goss equal $3,000 Equalizer bonuses.
Scott Hutmacher, the Life Time Triathlon Brand Manager, explains how it all worked out:
“The female pros dove from the barge and started at 5:50:00 AM as scheduled. The male pros, scheduled to start at 6:01:30 AM, were delayed by a false start (one athlete inadvertently dove before the air horn sounded). That swimmer immediately swam back to the start barge; other pros lifted him out of the water, and all restarted 30 seconds later than originally scheduled. Without a USAT official present at the start, staff determined the best, most immediate course of action: a simple restart."
"Fast forward to the end of the run course. Cam Dye made up a huge gap, and was tailing Lauren Goss toward the final moments of the race. Lauren did finish first, beating Cam by 14 seconds. What she didn’t realize is that, given the delay, Cam could still finish 29 seconds behind Lauren to successfully win the Equalizer bonus. As soon as Cam crossed the finish line, he yelled 'Did I win?' Which he did. We did speak with Lauren, who unknowingly maintained a comfortable lead on Cam through the run course. She was not happy."
"Initially, we figured Cam should win [the Equalizer award] outright, albeit through rather odd circumstances. Even stranger, as event staff was conferring on the Equalizer outcome, we learned someone had filed a protest against Lauren for 'cutting the course.' After some intense investigation with USAT Official Charlie Crawford, it was determined that Lauren indeed missed a path leading to the eventual bike course. While she mistakenly ran outside the course (and admitted it), it was acknowledged that she actually lost time (and placement, from 1st on the start of the bike to 3rd) during her ordeal. Since no advantage was gained, the protest was nullified."
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"In the end, while Cam did truly earn the Equalizer bonus outright, we determined it unfair that Lauren was not aware of the additional 30 second gap and performed according to agreed-upon rules. Our staff decided they both should earn the Equalizer bonus ($3,000 each).”
While rare, the decision by the race organizers to award duplicate prize money when there is confusion on the course does have precedent. In 1993, a race volunteer failed to place a turnaround marker at Mile 10 of the run at the Wildflower long course. Race leader Andy Carlson continued down the road and withdrew in frustration and exhaustion. When apprised of the situation, race director Terry Davis asked Carlson where he would have finished and he answered second place. So Davis awarded equal second place prize money to Carlson and the official runner-up.
At the 2000 ITU Olympic distance Women’s World Championship in Perth, Australia, race officials mistakenly directed the competitors to finish after 3 laps of the run – 2.5 kilometers short of the required distance. Carol Montgomery, the fastest runner in the sport at the time (she was entered in the 10,000 track event at the Olympics as well as the triathlon), was swiftly overtaking race leader Nicole Hackett but ran out of real estate and finished 6 seconds behind at the line. Afterwards, officials could not change the official result. But, recognizing that Montgomery would have passed Hackett if the competitors were running the full 10k, ITU officials awarded Montgomery equal first place money.
The regular pro races were fairly close.
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Goss essentially won the women's contest on the swim as she outpaced eventual runner-up Amy Bevilacqua 11:43 to 14:13 – a 2:30 advantage – during the current-aided dip in the Hudson River. Bevilacqua outpaced Goss on the bike leg 1:02:34 to 1:04:42 – a 2:10 advantage. Goss outran Bevilacqua by 36:20 to 36:31 – an advantage of 11 seconds. Throwing in better transition times, Goss finished in 1:56:54 with a 1:52 margin of victory. Kristen Marchant of Canada finished 3rd, 20 seconds behind Bevilacqua.
The men’s race came down to a match between Cam Dye’s better swim and bike versus fellow Boulder, Colorado resident Jason West’s superior run. Dye’s 11:48 swim gave him a 32 seconds advantage over West. Dye’s race-best 56:39 bike split was 2:28 better than West, so he began the run with a 3 minutes lead. West’s race-best 31:18 run was 1:47 better than West. Hence his 1:45:10 finish, give or take a few seconds in transitions, was 1:13 better than West.
Jackson Laundry of Canada finished 3rd, 20 seconds behind West.