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Odenton Man Disqualified from Marine Corps Marathon After Impostor Wins Qualifying Race

Gerardo Avila won the Marine Corps 17.75K pretending to be Steven Henry of Odenton, both men disqualified from October's Marine Corps Marathon.

Jeremy Lynch of Springfield, Va. was named winner of the Marine Corps 17.75K after a man pretending to be Odenton resident Steven Henry won and was discovered to be an impostor. (Photo via Flickr)
Jeremy Lynch of Springfield, Va. was named winner of the Marine Corps 17.75K after a man pretending to be Odenton resident Steven Henry won and was discovered to be an impostor. (Photo via Flickr)
After winning the Marine Corps 17.75K race Saturday, April 12, Odenton resident Steven Henry basked in the glow of his time of 1:04:24, joking that he was "in better shape than I thought I was."

What the man was really thinking is a mystery, because the man who ran, won and gave post-race interviews as Steven Henry was later identified as Gerardo Avila of Triangle, Va. 

As a result, both Henry and Avila have been banned from October's Marine Corps Marathon, as well as any Marine Corps Marathon event this year. 

Henry was identified by the Marine Corps Marathon as a retired Infantry soldier and a five-time finisher of the marathon. 

According to the Capital Gazette, race officials believe that Henry gave his official runner’s bib to Avila, who participated under Henry’s name, and misrepresented himself as Henry in post-race interviews. 

“Illegal transfers of bibs have significant ramifications including potentially altering age award results, but more significantly, should a bandit runner require medical attention during the event, medical personnel would not have necessary information about the individual,” said Rick Nealis, director of the Marine Corps Marathon, in a press release. “Participation in any MCM event echoes the U.S. Marine values of honor, courage, and commitment. What these two runners did defied these ideals. They badly misjudged the conviction of the Marines, our commitment to these core values and the integrity of our sport.”

According to Runner's World, Avila has finished the Marine Corps Marathon twice, including seventh overall in 2009. Henry completed the marathon in 2007.

The annual 17.75K race takes place just outside the gates of Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Prince William Forest Park. Traditionally, finishers of the race are given "Access Granted" passes that qualify them to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon. 

Jeremy Lynch of Springfield, Va., who had originally finished behind Avila, was declared the winner. 

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