California marathon winner Esteban Prado disqualified for accepting cup of water from his dad during race: ‘I know I won’

A California runner was stripped of his marathon title Sunday for accepting a cup of water from his father who patrolled the 26.2-mile route on his bicycle.

Esteban Prado, 24, received the Orange County Marathon in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 54 seconds. However, he was disqualified shortly after he crossed the end line for his father’s involvement, which officers deemed as “unauthorized assistance.”

“During yesterday’s Hoag OC Marathon, we were forced to disqualify a participant after it was confirmed they received unauthorized assistance from an individual on a bicycle, in violation of USA Track & Field rules and our race regulations,” race director Gary Kutschar stated in a press release. “We take these rules seriously to ensure fairness and the integrity of our event for all competitors.”

Esteban Prado was disqualified after he won the Orange County Marathon on May 5, 2024.
Esteban Prado was disqualified after he received the Orange County Marathon on May 5, 2024. Susana Prado

According to the USATF rulebook, runners are allowed to obtain water from the designated hydration stations alongside the race route. 

Prado seemingly had his father’s hydration assistance on three separate events, according to footage obtained by NBC Los Angeles.

In one occasion, Prado led the sector of runners when he approached his father who sat atop a bicycle and provided water.

However, Prado seemingly ran previous at the least 3 employees who prolonged their arms to supply water bottles earlier than he met up with his father.  

“Because I was first place, a lot of the volunteers were just like scrambling,” Prado advised the outlet. “By the time I got there, they were… grabbing the water. So a lot of the time the water stations, they really had nothing for me.”

Prado, competing in his second full marathon, wasn’t conscious he might face disqualification and claimed race employees have been unprepared to supply help.

OC Marathon officials claimed Prado received "unauthorized assistance" from his father during the race.
OC Marathon officers claimed Prado acquired “unauthorized assistance” from his father during the race.

“We have videos showing him passing water stations and not taking the Gatorade or water but receiving it in a bottle from a guy on a bicycle,” Kutschar advised the Sacramento Bee.

Prado spent the final 4 months getting ready for the OC Marathon, lately inserting first within the Surf City USA half marathon in February.

Kutschar broke the disqualification to Prado over a telephone name saying {that a} competitor witnessed him get a water bottle from his father during the race, according to ABC 7.

Prado claimed the one one who was in vary was the runner who was in second place.

Jason Yang, a 33-year-old from California, was awarded first place after he completed 17 seconds behind Prado’s mark. It was his third marathon win. 

Yang slammed Prado for his lack of contrition as he praised race officers for taking swift motion in opposition to the runner’s “bike support.”

“The marathon bike workers saw and took videos of him getting bike support and I was asked about it, and I told them exactly what I saw,” Yang stated on Instagram.

“My thoughts on the matter? There’s a reason personal bike support is not allowed in ANY marathon race if you’re competing for a medal and/or prize money. It’s quite absurd Esteban Prado isn’t apologizing to everyone that competed and still seems to think he won the race fair and square. I think the race director made the right decision.”

Yang additionally claimed that help from a motorcycle permits runners to “keep your stride” and shields them from the wind “on a day where there was “13MPH wind.”

Temperatures reached 67 levels during the OC Marathon, which serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

“The (other) guy who’s in competition with him is not receiving that same hydration or nutrition,” Kutschar advised the Sacramento Bee. “It’s not incumbent on the race to have a certain number of water stations, or anything else. It’s incumbent to make it a fair and equitable event. And so to ensure fairness, and the integrity for all the athletes, they have to play by the same rules.”

Prado, in the meantime, is adamant that he’s nonetheless the true winner regardless of his disqualification.

“You get no money or anything. If he wanted that congratulations for that first place, if he really felt like he needed it, it’s just for him at the end of the day,” Prado advised ABC7. “I really got nothing out of it. I know I won.”

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