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WATCH: Runner Disqualified From Orange County Marathon Over A Cup Of Water

Shortly after crossing the finish line, Esteban Prado was disqualified for receiving outside assistance from his father on a bike.

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Imagine crossing the finish line of a marathon in first place, just to be told seconds later that you would be disqualified. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Esteban Prado at the Orange County Marathon on Sunday.

Prado crossed the finish line of the 26.2-mile course in 2:24:54, only to discover his disqualification shortly thereafter. 

Race officials cited a violation of regulations outlined in the USA Track and Field rulebook, which strictly prohibits runners from receiving assistance or refreshments except from official aid stations on the course.

The rules specifically said that no competitor is “allowed, without the permission of the referee or judges, to receive assistance or refreshment from anyone during the progress of competition.”

“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 and Field rules and our race regulations,” race director Gary Kutscher said in a statement. “We take these rules seriously to ensure fairness and the integrity of our event for all competitors.”

WATCH: Runner Disqualified From Orange County Marathon Over A Cup Of Water 1

Speaking to ABC of his disqualification, Prado said that the only person who would have seen him take the water from his father was the runner in second place, Jason Yang.

“The only person that could see me within range was second place,” said Prado.

Alongside stating he was unaware of the rules since he is new to marathon running, Prado also placed the blame on the aid stations, saying they were not well managed.

“Whenever I got to the stations, the volunteers were like scrambling because I’m the only runner in sight, so they could barely see me at certain turns,” Prado said to ABC.

WATCH: Runner Disqualified From Orange County Marathon Over A Cup Of Water 2

Prado’s misstep extended beyond taking water from his father, who was on a bike

As one Reddit user noted, “The father pacing him on a bike seems like a bigger deal.” 

As a result of his disqualification, Jason Yang was declared the winner after finishing with a time of 2:25:11.

Despite a nullified result, Prado still believes he is the true winner.

“I don’t want to argue over something that’s 15 minutes away from you, you get no money or anything. You know, 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,” said Prado. “I really got nothing out of it. I know I won.”

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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