Illinois runner wins marathon after bicyclist mistakenly takes race leaders off course

Posted at 2:18 PM, Sep 27, 2021

MOLINE, Ill. — An Illinois man unexpectedly won the Quad Cities Marathon this weekend when the two runners who had far outpaced him were disqualified after being diverted off the course by a race volunteer bicyclist.

The Quad-City Times reports that Tyler Pence crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds to become the first U.S. runner since 2001 to win the race.

The head track and cross-country coach at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Pence logged his fastest time ever with the win.

It came after Elijah Mwangangi Saolo and Luke Kibet, both from Kenya, diverted from the course a little more than halfway to the finish line when the bicycle rider leading them mistakenly went straight when he should have turned.

Race director Joe Moreno confirmed to the Quad City Times that the bicyclist went the wrong way, but said runners should have known not to follow him.

“At that intersection where that incident happened, the course was well-marked,’’ Moreno said. “The signage is well-displayed. The volunteers are there. And the fourth element is those elite runners have a meeting the day before to get familiar with the course.’’

“It was pretty obvious where to go out there, so I don’t know what went on,’’ Pence said. “I was about 20 seconds back, so I kind of saw it happening, but I’m not going to shout. It’s not my job.’"