El Paso Marathon’s unofficial winner


Billy Atkinson, who ran under Joe Morales' bib number, finishing the marathon. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Daniela Martell, Sports Editor

On Sunday, February 6, the El Paso Marathon started and finished in the Southwest University Park.

This year’s men’s winner was Joe Morales from San Antonio.

It was his first marathon.

After his victory, Morales said, “I just wanted a sub-3 (hour time).

“That’s it. Yesterday was my birthday, so I’m 32 years old and I thought I’d just go for it.

“It’s special to be over here and be a part of your community today.”

But was it actually Morales who won?

It was confirmed later that Morales never even ran the marathon.

The man who ran the marathon with Morales’ bib number was identified as Billy Atkinson.

Mike Coulter, the race director, said, “It was brought to our attention by one of the participants who traveled back to Austin.

“I received an email that stated they had seen a social media post of our overall male winner for the marathon – and stated that he had run the run and won the race with someone else’s number, which is not allowed.”

Both the actual runner and Morales have been banned from the El Paso Marathon.

Morales had registered to the marathon, but was unable to attend.

The runner who won could not afford the entrance fee, so he took Morales’ bib number.

He saw it as a training opportunity, and it had never crossed his mind that he would win.

The El Paso Marathon did announce that they would take future precautions to avoid these scandals.