At 2:55:39, Tabatha Hamilton thought she had clinched the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon first place title on Saturday. But race officials said they saw no way in which the 31-year-old Trenton, Georgia, resident could have completed the 26.2-mile race in such short time.
Race officials removed Hamilton's name from the results Sunday night, designating 41-year-old Nashville resident Lillian Gilmer as the new winner. Gilmer finished the marathon in 3:21:33.
Co-race director Sherilyn Johnson said she spoke to Hamilton Monday night and said she told her the timing didn't support that she had run the full marathon and because of that, the club's decision to disqualify Hamilton stands.
"I hope we can move forward," Johnson said.
If Hamilton did complete the race in the time she says she did, it would come somewhat close to the 10 fastest marathon times on record. The 10 fastest marathon times on record among women are:
While Johnson said one race official questioned Hamilton at the finish line, Johnson wasn't made aware of the controversy until Sunday morning.
"Saturday was a long, full day and I was exhausted when I got home so I didn't look at any emails then," she said. When she finally read some of the emails, a number of people expressed doubt over how Hamilton could have possibly finished the race that quickly.
So on Sunday afternoon, Johnson and other race officials met to discuss participants' times.
"Everything we looked at showed she did not complete the marathon," she said.
But Johnson made it clear that she and other officials did not in any way single Hamilton out. "Our people looked very carefully at at least the first 12 finishers to make sure the numbers looked right."
(H/T: Chattanooga Times Free Press)
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