One of the questions on people’s minds after the Tely 10 2015 yesterday was what the heck did Chris Hanlon do to piss off the Tely 10 officials? Unofficially his gun time was 55:07 with a chip time of 55:03. That would have been good enough to put him in 7th place, just ahead of Mike King. So what happened to warrant a disqualification? Initially, questions around ear buds (prohibited from the race) came to mind, but he was not wearing any. To my knowledge, that had never actually been enforced anyway. The next question: maybe he cheated? Following the local running scene fairly closely over the last few years it is pretty much unheard of (but not impossible) to run a 55-minute Tely without doing a race or two prior, or without some of the faster runners in the community knowing who you are. No one seemed to know this runner who was listed as being from St.John’s so this was odd. That being said, Peter Bazeley (who placed 10th) confirmed that he had seen “the runner in the green shirt” ahead of him the entire race, right from the starting line.
The next most likely scenario, and the one that appears to be true, is that it wasn’t Chris Hanlon wearing bib #1532. This mystery was solved thanks to Strava, a running GPS web service. Someone named Blaine Penny ran a 55:11(slightly slower than chip time due to the delay in stopping his watch). So, how did officials know so quickly that “Chris Hanlon” wasn’t Chris Hanlon? Why bother with a bib if you’re going to be disqualified? Why did the Tely 10 officials remove any evidence of the disqualification from their website? This opens questions around the early cut off of bib transfers: Many people who registered early for the Tely were not ultimately able to run. Likely, the increased threat of the event selling out got people registering despite knowing that they may not actually run it on the day. Only 4680 showed up to run out of 4699, but participants could not transfer their bibs after July 15th for the July 27th race. Therein lies the problem of unofficial bib transfers. If the Tely 10 continues to grow, this is surely an issue that will come up more frequently down the road. Perhaps this calls for a re-evaluation of the deadline for bib transfers.
We were able to get in touch with Blaine Penny(@blainepenny) and here’s what he had to say: “I had registered for the race and went back a second time to register (in May) as I wasn’t sure if my original registration had gone through [although I was] notified I was already registered. When I showed up to pick [up] my race package I was informed I wasn’t registered. I explained my story and was told I could not get a bib. Real bummer. (I heard several other people had issues registering as well. I do a lot of racing and most races will accommodate this type of mixup during race package pickup). I am an avid runner originally from Gambo and planned my trip home (from Calgary) with my family to coincide with the race. It meant a lot for me to come home and run this race, so I had my sister put a call out to see if anyone had a bib that wasn’t racing. Chris was the guy who happened to not be racing and had a bib. Here we are. I haven’t seen the results, but my main concern is that I am 41 and Chris is in the 26-30 age group so it’s possible I may have bumped someone in that category. Disqualifying my result was the right thing to do for sure. I felt bad – didn’t realize I’d be that far up in the results. I raced a 50k mountain race in BC last weekend so my legs were trashed.” Blaine emailed the race officials after the race to let them know that he had run with someone else’s bib, at which point they disqualified him.
It seems unfortunate that things transpired this way when Penny had legitimately registered originally, made a lot effort to race officially but wasn’t met halfway by the Tely 10 organizers.
Edit: Someone forwarded along this link which helps fill out the background story of the kind of person that Blaine Penny is. He was profiled on a website called Kickass Canadians. Here’s the url http://kickasscanadians.ca/blaine-penny/