The wind from the northeast, gusting up to 40 mph, slowed the front-runners and thousands of others in the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon on Sunday; and a musical diversion cost a Michigan woman $500.
Peter Omae Ayieni, a Kenyan living in Georgetown, Texas, won the marathon in a time of 2:26:16, roughly 11 minutes off the record set by James Boit in 2010. Boit, from Coon Rapids, Minn., took second on Sunday, but was 12 minutes off his pace from the previous year.
For the win, Ayieni earned $3,000 in prize money.
Kelly McClure, of Iron Mountain, Mich., would have left Lambeau Field with $500 for finishing in fifth place in the women's marathon, but race organizers disqualified her for using an iPod around mile 16. While the USATF rules allow runners to use headphones, they prohibit the practice among the elites and those in line for cash prizes.
The disqualification is similar to the action that cost Jennifer Goebel the victory in the 2009 Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, McClure hadn't expected to be in the top five, and turned to a bit of Jason Aldean for encouragement to help fight the wind.
“I don’t agree with the USATF rule,” race director Sean Ryan told the Green Bay paper. “I think they are punishing above-average age-group athletes who go out and have a good day. I don’t like the way the rule is structured. It’s a terrible compromise by USA Track and Field.
“They know darn well that they cannot prohibit iPods all together. You can’t beat society. There are too many people wearing iPods, so there is no way to ban them all together. So instead, they are picking on our best runners and trying to prohibit them from wearing them.
“Sometimes the runners that finish in the overall standings go in not even realizing they might finish in the overall standings and that they are not allowed to wear an iPod if that happens.”
Katie Howery, of Verona, set the pace for the women's field, winning in 2:47:12. Rael Mury, of Coon Rapids, was second, but more than 12 minutes behind.
McClure's disqualification allowed Jessica Sigl, of Seymour, to slide up to the fifth spot in the marathon and head home with the $500 check.
It was a good day for Sigl, and her husband, Tyler, who won the half-marathon in 1:06:19.
Check out this piece on the running couple.