MOLINE, Ill. — An Illinois man unexpectedly won the 2021 Quad Cities Marathon when the two Kenyan runners who had far outpaced him were disqualified after being diverted off the course by a race volunteer bicyclist.
This makes Tyler Pence, from Springfield, Illinois, the first U.S. runner since 2001 to win the race.
It came after Elijah Mwangangi Saolo and Luke Kibet diverted from the course within mile 14, on Arsenal Island, when the bicycle rider leading them mistakenly went straight when he should have turned, according to the Associated Press.
A post-race report indicated that the two finished about 23 miles of the race. While they were not official finishers, they did receive an agreed-upon compensation.
Online race results show that Pence finished in 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 6 seconds, missing the course record by about a minute.
Pence is the head cross-country coach at the University of Illinois Springfield; the 2021-2022 season marks three years in the role. He runs competitively and took part in the 2020 US Olympic Marathon trials.
After crossing the finish line Sunday, he told News 8 that he "never really was looking at time," and he tried to ignore his watch.
"It kind of makes me a little upset because I felt really good coming down the stretch and I definitely feel like I have a lot more in the tank, but it is what it is, I'm just happy to be racing again," he said.
Both the male and female overall marathon winners take home a $1,000 prize. The event also gives $500 prizes to men who finish at or under 2 hours and 22 minutes and women who finish at or under 2 hours and 48 minutes.
The marathon's top female finisher was Hirut Guangul, who has won the race six times.
Overall, about 4,000 people took part in racing events associated with the Quad Cities Marathon.