Marathon ruling today
Richard Kessio might’ve missed his turn – again.
The Kenyan-born distance runner is set to find out today whether he will join an elite group of men to successfully defend their Run Barbados Marathon title when organisers reveal the decision over his going off-route.
Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) sports manager Gregory Armstrong revealed that the BTA board was scheduled to have a meeting with race coordinator Rawle Clarke yesterday about disqualifying Kessio and second-placed Curtis Cox.
“I would not say there is a particular decision that we want to make,” responded Armstrong when questioned about which way the board was leaning towards before the meeting.
“But whatever decision we make will be made based on the rules. We just need Rawle Clarke to provide some information on if the road was clearly marked, what info was handed out in the kit, and to find out if they even went off-route in the first place.
“When we are clear about all these things then there will only be one conclusion, and that is the right one.”
Sunday’s race threatened to be yet another dull affair after Kessio and Cox broke away from fellow leaders Pamenos Ballantyne and Andrew Gutzmore just two miles into the course before opening up a ten-minute margin heading into Speightstown.
But with no race official or police officer to signal the left turn through Queen Street, Kessio and Cox missed the turn-off, proceeded up Highway 1 and returned along the same route after making the correct turnaround at Heywoods.
Ballantyne and Gutzmore – who finished third and fourth, respectively – then launched an appeal to Clarke after realizing the leaders never passed them on the return leg through Speightstown.
However, Clarke was unable to make a ruling at the time and informed the four runners that a decision would be made two days later following a meeting with the BTA.
“Under the IAAF rules you have to make a ruling within 48 hours, so we definitely have to let the runners know by tomorrow [today],” said Armstrong.
“Regardless of this situation, though, we would still have to deal with the race and its post mortem.”
If Kessio’s position is upheld, the Kenyan defending champ will become just the fourth man to repeat as marathon winner following the feats of Hugh Jones (1990-1994), Ballantyne (1998-1999) and Victor Ledger (2006-2007).