At yesterday's North Face 10k, the race officials initially announced that the second place finisher was a woman that none of the other top competitors remembered seeing. The woman who was given the 3rd place trophy was sure she had come in second. The woman who thought she was 3rd was told she was 4th, etc. I only recognized this because NSQ was 5th in the official results but was confident that only three women were ahead of her. When the mystery woman didn't show up to accept her award, it seemed clear that something had gone wrong. Maybe she cut the course, maybe was in the wrong race, but something didn't make sense.
After a little bit of nagging, the race timer realized what had happened. The woman assigned that number and chip had switched with a male racer who had the next number. (Presumably this was accidental, and could have been an error at the registration table.) Order was restored and all the ladies got their rightful prizes, but on the drive home we were speculating about ways that such things can happen, and how to deal with them.
Well, look no further than Colorado's famous Leadville 100. At the 2009 race, the woman who came in second in the 40+AG was not who she said she was. In fact she was a 36 year old Wendy Lyall, who had used the entry and raced under the name Katie Brazelton. When someone realized that the woman who crossed the line was not the one who accepted the award, race officials were tipped off, and now according to the Denver Post the two have been charged with criminal impersonation, which is a class 6 felony in Colorado.
The women who were deprived of their proper awards will get them at a special ceremony before this year's race.