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California marathon winner stripped of title after accepting water from father during race

A California man has been stripped of his first-place finish at a marathon over the weekend after accepting water from his father during the race. 

Esteban Prado, 24, finished the Orange County Marathon in 2:24:54, but was later disqualified for violating race rules when it was revealed that his father rode along the 26.2-mile course on a bicycle and gave him water. 

“We were forced to disqualify a participant after it was confirmed they received unauthorized assistance from an individual on a bicycle, in violation of USA Track and Field rules and our race regulations,” race director Gary Kutscher said in a statement, via USA Today. 

“We take these rules seriously to ensure fairness and the integrity of our event for all competitors.”

Prado told NBC Los Angeles that he was unaware of the violation, adding that water was not always available to him because of his pace. 

“Because I was first place, a lot of the volunteers were just like scrambling,” he told the outlet. “By the time I got there, they were… grabbing the water. So a lot of the time the water stations, they really had nothing for me.”

A water supply station


According to the marathon’s website, seven water/hydration stations were made available on the front half of the race while another eight were set up for the second half. 

But according to the Sacramento Bee, Kutscher said video evidence disputed this. 

“We have videos showing him passing water stations and not taking the Gatorade or water but receiving it in a bottle from a guy on a bicycle.” 

A water supply station

Jason Yang, 33, was instead crowned the first-place finisher after running a 2:25:11 marathon. He addressed the controversy in a post on Instagram. 

“There’s a reason personal bike support is not allowed in ANY marathon race if you’re competing for a medal and/or prize money,” he wrote in a caption. “It’s quite absurd Esteban Prado isn’t apologizing to everyone that competed and still seems to think he won the race fair and square. I think the race director made the right decision.”

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