GO! St Louis marathon winner Andrea Karl has told SL Today she was “just as surprised as anyone else” to find Kendall Schler had crossed the finish line before her.
“They said someone had crossed before me.
“I don’t know. People were telling me on the course as I was going that I was the first female. I thought I was (the lead runner) most of the way.”
The 23 year-old marathoner crossed the line to a bewildered reception, as Schler was already in the recovery area claiming she’d won.
But Schler, it was later discovered had removed the time strip from her bib and eased quietly into the course without running the full distance.
When speaking to USA Today Ms Karl was gracious: “There’s too much to celebrate to be disappointed in something like that.
“Winning was awesome, but it’s not the reason I was running that race.”
Nonetheless, the GO! St. Louis marathon organisers are working to recreate the awards ceremony so that the rightful winner can have her moment of glory.
CBS New was told that Ms Karl will receive her award at a local St. Louis Cardinals baseball game where she will be officially declared the event’s winner.
“Andrea is a lovely woman,” said Nancy Lieberman, president of the GO! St. Louis event, “and she’s very excited. She’ll be running with the glory of a true champion when she comes from the outfield down the third baseline to home plate. We will have a finish line tape for her to cross. We will then present her with her medal, flower, and some other gifts.”
Kendall Schler, 26, the woman found to have cheated her way to first place, has eluded reporters thus far.
Officials had concerns about her win the moment she crossed the finish line, but needed evidence before they acted.
Schler, against race regulations, had removed her bib and had the race number on her leg covered by a shirt. Upon being questioned about why she posted no early stage times Schler admitted to removing the timing strip.
On-course officials from US Track and Field do not remember seeing Schler in the early part of the race; and they certainly don’t remember her running with the lead pack.
GO! ST. Louis organisers immediately consulted their records. It soon became apparent Schler had done exactly the same thing in last year’s event, where she placed third.
Liieberman said Schler has not responded to her request for photographs of her running the 2014 race.
“It was kind of a nondescript conversation,” Lieberman told reporters. “Most people, quite frankly, would be defensive, but say, ‘Yes, I really did (run the race).’ I explained I would have to contact Boston and let them know (about the questionable qualifying time), and she wanted to know how she could find out if she can run Boston. That was pretty much the end of the conversation.”