About 20,000 competitors raced in Sunday's Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.
The official winner from the elite wave covered the course in 3 hours and 6 minutes.
But 24-year-old Arien O'Connell (pictured here), a fifth-grade teacher from New York City, ran the fastest time of any of the women with a time of 2:55:11.
So why didn't she win?
According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
"While O'Connell had the greatest run of her life and covered the
course faster than any woman, she was told she couldn't be declared the
winner because she didn't run with the "elite" group who were given a
20-minute head start.
So what could have been a lovely Cinderella story about a young
woman rising above her expectations in a race that bills itself as all
about empowering women turned into a strict the-rules-are-the-rules
edict. That's not the image we're trying to promote here.
At the awards ceremony, the O'Connell clan looked on as the top
times were announced and the "elite" female runners stepped forward to
accept their trophies.
"They called out the third-place time and I thought, 'I was faster
than that,' " she said. "Then they called out the second-place time and
I was faster than that. And then they called out the first-place time
(3:06), and I said, 'Heck, I'm faster than her first-place time, too.' "
Just to make sure, O'Connell strolled over to a results station and
asked a race official to call up her time on the computer. There it
was, some 11 minutes faster than the official winner."