Last night, I explained my reasons why I think that Ariel O’Connell did not win the Nike Women’s Marathon this past weekend. After all, she wasn’t the first to cross the finish line.

Thanks to a thoughtful reader, though, it appears as though Nike might be changing their minds. Here’s the reply he received through their help desk system:


Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O’Connell as a winner in last weekend’s Nike Women’s Marathon with the fastest chip time, completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.

Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany bowl, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly.

Learning from the unique experience in this year’s race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women’s Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win.

Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we’re proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.

Nike+ / Nike Running

So Nike is going to own up to their not overly well thought out system and change things next year, and will recognize Arien for the great race that she ran this weekend.

They are not going to take away the win from Nora Colligan, since she did in fact win the race, but are going to have a dual prize to recognize that Arien was the first woman to cross the line that started with the main pack.

I’ll update with a link to the press release when (and if) this becomes official.

Update: Still no official word, but there is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about it that was published about an hour after my article.