The MBTA doesn’t extend to the Georgia-Tennessee border. That doesn’t mean a runner in the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon can’t pull a Rosie Ruiz.
Tabitha Hamilton won the race on the women’s side with a time of 2:55:39. That’s 23:43 off Rosie Ruiz’s “winning” 1980 Boston Marathon time. Whereas Ruiz’s ignorance of intervals in interviews, relatively dry, untaxed appearance at the finish line, and flabby look elicited skepticism 34 years ago, Hamilton’s strange splits alerted marathon officials of a problem. She completed the first half of the race in 2:06.51. Hamilton motored through–perhaps literally given the lack of a subway system near the battlefield–the last half of the race in 49:48. That bests the women’s half-marathon world record by more than eight minutes.
Hamilton’s time bests a personal best by well over an hour. She had been running five-hour-plus marathons recently.
Race officials rescinded the victory. They awarded the win to Lillian Gilmer of Nashville. Her 3:21:23 finish didn’t challenge any records. But it beat Saturday’s other competitors. Despite the difficulty of race organizers to believe a competitor improved a marathon time from five-plus hours to a sub-three-hour run, Hamilton maintains her innocence–and her victory.
Braxton Bragg does not approve.