Jack Gray, 24, stepped in at the last minute to do the 13.1 mile Cambridge Half Marathon after Andrew Rawlings suffered a hamstring injury last week
The 24-year-old winner of the Cambridge Half Marathon has been disqualified after it emerged he had impersonated his middle-aged boss.
Jack Gray stepped in at the last minute to do the 13.1 mile race after Andrew Rawlings suffered a hamstring injury last week.
He was first across the line on Sunday, recording an impressive one hour, six minutes and 52 seconds, according to official timings.
But organisers became suspicious because the winner looked much younger than 49-year-old Mr Rawlings.
They then established the athlete had run using Mr Rawlings chip and number, breaking UK athletic rules, according to the event organisers.
Gray was disqualified after the deception was revealed.
He claims he contacted race organisers to tell them about switching places with his boss but got an out of office reply.
Second place runner William Mycroft, in the 25-29 years age category, took the number one spot with a time of one hour, seven minutes and 11 seconds.
‘It’s all good fun, a bit of banter,’ said Jack, who works as a transport planner.
‘It did cross my mind when I was running the race that they might think I was Andrew but I thought I should probably say something.
‘I’m only 24 so I definitely look a lot younger than Andrew, they probably cottoned on anyway.
‘I didn’t want them trying to put me up on the podium so I told them and there was around ten minutes of them running around and then they disqualified me.
‘It was only fair I suppose and better that than be interviewed as Andrew, which would have been a bit awkward.’
He was first across the line on Sunday, recording an impressive one hour, six minutes and 52 seconds, according to official timings
But organisers became suspicious because the winner (above right: leading the pack during the race) looked much younger than 49-year-old Mr Rawlings
Jack spoke to fellow runner Andrew at work last week after he suffered an injury while out training.
‘Andrew came and said he was having problems with his leg as he had done something to his hamstring,’ he said.
‘I do quite a bit of running so I gave him some advice on stretches he could do but on Wednesday he said there was no way he could run the race.
‘I have a few races coming up and I thought I could use it as a training run so I offered to take his place.
‘I only live a mile and a half from the start line so it was a good warm up.’
Gray (pictured running on another occasion) was disqualified after the deception was revealed
Jack said he was ‘happy’ when his Enfield & Haringey Athletics Club colleague Will Mycroft was declared the winner.
He added: ‘I suppose I thought I had a pretty good chance at winning but there were some good athletes in there.
‘I was planning on just pacing myself and taking it as it went but when I realised I was in with a shout at winning I ramped it up and went for it.
‘I’m happy Will was declared the winner, it’s only right really.’
Will, 27, referred to himself as ‘just the technical winner’ and added: ‘It’s a bit of a shame to win on a technicality, but I’m not going to complain.’
Gray (above: second from left with fellow runner after the race) claims he contacted race organisers to tell them about switching places with his boss but got an out of office reply
Race director, Adam Moffat, 37, said: ‘I’m sure it happens at a lot of races, it just so happens that this time, the chap who did it happened to win.
‘It was actually one of the closest races we’ve had at the event – it was really quite tight, even when there was just 100m to go, there were still two of them at the front.
‘Fair play to him for running a fast time, but I really wish he hadn’t – he is disqualified from the event.’
A spokeswoman for OSB Events said: ‘It’s illegal under UK athletics rules. He got disqualified. It’s very annoying but there is not a lot we can do about it.’
The spokeswoman was unable to comment on whether this would affect Andrew’s ability to run in future races.
More than 7,000 runners competed in the seventh annual Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon.
The course starts at Midsummer Common and takes a loop through the city centre, and nearby towns Trumpington and Grantchester.