Confusion reigned at Ironman 70.3 Cartagena as volunteers misdirected the pro men’s field and the leading pro woman on the run course.
In the chaos of race day, three pro men were directed to cut out 5-kilometer sections twice from the two-loop run course. The rest of the pro men were directed to cut out 5 kilometers from the first loop and to run the full 10.5 kilometers on the second loop.
When race officials finished deliberations Monday morning, they awarded equal money and points for the top three finishers who ran 11.2 kilometers – and the same to the top three men who ran a total of 16.2 kilometers. The rest of the pro men’s field who ran 16.2 kilometers were awarded the advertised prize money and points for finishing 4th and back.
Thus Carlos Quinchara Forero of Colombia won $5,000 for finishing first of the three men who ran 11.2 kilometers. Forero finished the shortened Ironman 70.3 event in a time of 3:23:56 with a margin of 28 seconds over runner-up Davide Giardini of Italy and 3:32 over 3rd-place Justin Metzler of the U.S.
And for those who were directed to run a complete second loop on the run which totaled 16.2 kilometers, Matt Hanson of the U.S. won $5,000 for finishing first in 3:38:01 with an undetermined margin (due to timing errors) over runner-up Mario de Elias of Argentina and 15:13 over 3rd-place David Guete of Colombia.
All the pro women except Jeanni Seymour of South Africa – who led the pro women’s field by over 3 minutes after the bike leg – were directed properly and ran the complete 21.1 kilometers.
Because Seymour had advanced to the back of the pro men’s wave, she too was misdirected on the run. After running the first shortened lap, Seymour realized that the rest of the women’s field behind her were directed properly to run the full 21 kilometer course.
Seymour’s friend Justin Metzler, who was competing in the pro men’s field, explained: “I saw her going the other way on the course and she shouted at me in confusion. She went back out on course doing the only thing that she could think of - hitting all of the timing mats on course. That totaled 13.5 miles of total running [0.4 of a mile longer than the standard 13.1 miles].”
Seymour ran hard to make up for the extra distance but fell 27 seconds short of Lauren Goss of the U.S., who finished the race in 4:23:20. Goss received $5,000 for the win and Seymour took home $2,750 for her official runner-up placing. Kelsey Withrow of the U.S. finished 3rd, 7:54 behind the winner.
In a post-race interview, Matt Hanson explained how the confusion developed on the run.
Slowtwitch: What happened on the run?
Matt Hanson: I got off the bike in second, 4:48 down from Davide Giardini. The run course was an out and back, but on the way back, we were supposed to run up on the city wall for about a 1k loop for each lap.
ST: When did you first notice something was wrong?
Matt: As I was running out in the first lap I saw the leader was already at the 8k mark which really confused me. We were supposed to go right, but were forced to go left up the wall, skipping the 4.5km portion in the city center.
ST: When were the three men behind you misdirected a second time?
Matt: I took over the lead shortly after the start of the second loop. I was instructed to run the entire course for the second loop. The three guys behind me were all told to do the short loop (I assume that was because the run director thought they were on their first loop instead of second).
ST: When did you realize that you were no longer leading on the course?
Matt: I ran the rest of the course with the lead cyclist with me and got to the finish line and saw the other 3 guys already there. Obviously there was a lot of confusion. Eventually they decided to announce 2 winners. They split it into 2 races, the three guys who ran 11km and everyone else [who ran 16km]. So I was announced the winner... and so was the Colombian athlete.
ST: Why did the race director tell the three men chasing you to take the shortcut again?
Matt: All the men were guided wrong in the first loop, so it was 5k instead of 10.5 as it should have been. All but 3 pro men were guided on the correct route for the second loop. The other 3 were guided on the 5k loop that everyone did the first time (again, assuming the race director thought they were still on their first loop).
Justin Metzler, who finished 3rd among pro men who ran 11.2 km, was with Jeanni Seymour during her protest.
Slowtwitch: Why did some men get an adjusted result but not Jeanni Seymour?
Justin Metzler: The final decision in the women’s race was determined within a few hours after the finish. Jeanni and I both had lengthy conversations with the race director and he said that the decision was final. Early Monday morning we received notice of the men’s results and the announcement of two winners. This news shocked Jeanni and I because if two winners were allocated in the men’s race, there should be no reason why two winners would not be given in the women’s race as well.
The race director actually agreed with a lot of the statements and facts that we presented in our post-race conversation. But he constantly reminded us that the individuals making the decision “analyzed the timing mat data” and that was what impacted the final decision in the women’s race.
Ironman 70.3 Cartagena
Cartagena , Colombia
December 4, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R – misdirected with various distances
Men who ran 11.2km
1. Carlos Quinchara Forero (COL) 3:23:56 - $5,000 - 750 points
2. Davide Giardini (ITA) 3:24:24 - $2,750 - 640 points
3. Justin Metzler (USA) 3:27:28 - $1,750 - 540 points
Men who ran 16.2km
1. Matt Hanson (USA) 3:38:01 - $5,000 - 750 points
2. Mario de Elias (ARG) NA - $2,750 - 640 points
3. David Guete (COL) 3:53:14 - $1,750 - 540 points
4. Danilo Melo (COL) 3:53:39 - $1,250 - 435 points
5. Jeremy Morel (FRA) 3:55:53 - $1,000 - 345 points
6. Eduar Villata (VEN) 3:59:31 - $750 - 280 points
7. Tim Hancock (USA) 4:03:08 - 220 points
8. Mikael Staer Nathan (CAN) 4:05:16 - 180 points
9. Jorge Arias (COL) 4:10:21 - 140 points
10. Giovanny Marmol (ECU) 4:12:38 - 115 points
Women who ran 21.2km and Jeanni Seymour, who ran more
1. Lauren Goss (USA) 4:23:20 - $5,000 - 750 points
2. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 4:23:47 - $2,750 - 640 points
3. Kelsey Withrow (USA) 4:31:14 - $1,750 - 540 points
4. Diana Castillo Franco (COL) 4:33:48 - $1,250 - 435 points
5. Sarah Cameto (USA) 4:35:28 - $1,000 - 345 points
6. Allison Linnell (USA) 4:39:17 - $750 - 280 points
7. Laurel Wassner (USA) 4:46:04 - 220 points
8. Fiorella Dcroz (COL) 4:54:47 - 180 points
9. Fiama Rodriguez (VEN) 4:58:59 - 140 points
10. Julie Patterson (USA) 4:59:49 - 115 points