CJ Albertson, a professional athlete from Fresno, has been reinstated as the winner of the 2022 Modesto Marathon.
Albertson, winner of the last in-person Modesto Marathon in 2019, was following a Modesto Police Department motorcycle officer during Sunday’s race when the officer took a wrong turn, following the 5K/10K course instead of the marathon route. The officer immediately noticed the error and led Albertson back on course, but not until after he ran approximately 400 extra meters. Albertson was far ahead of the pack at that point, so the error was most likely not noticed by other runners.
The MPD officer verified the events.
Albertson, 28, was initially disqualified for not following the correct course. However, the ShadowChase Running Club Board of Directors, which puts on the race, and Race Director Gabriela Guerrini reviewed the events and considered that no course-cutting or unfair advantage was gained by the altered route, so his win should be reinstated.
“In doing the research we found that this is still a legal verified time” according to the International Rules for Road Running, said Board Director Mike Araiza. USATF rules state that a runner may not shorten the course, but says nothing about going too far.
“We thought it was only fair to reinstate his amazing win,” said Guerrini.
Albertson’s winning time was a sizzling 2:12:08. He may be recognized by some runners as the leader of the first 20 miles of the 2021 Boston Marathon held in October before eventually finishing 10th. Albertson was using the Modesto Marathon as a tune-up for the upcoming Boston Marathon to be held April 18.
Albertson took Sunday’s marathon events in stride and wasn’t worried about getting bragging rights. “I felt really good on Sunday. I wanted to run a fast first half, which I did in 64:20. … I felt really comfortable and then I backed off in the latter miles.”
Then he showered and went home only to discover the DQ. “I just figured, you know, the course thing,” he said.
The new father of a 5-month-old said Modesto is a good course for anyone looking to run a fast time, but he initially hadn’t planned to even run Sunday. However, a friend who was running offered him room to stay in, and since his wife was going out of town, “it beat staying home and doing a long run by myself.”