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17.75K winner banned from 2014 MCM events after running with an illegally transferred bib

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Gerardo Avila of Triangle, Va., -- running with a bib belonging to Steven Henry of Odenton, Md. -- finished the Marine Corps Marathon's 17.75k race in 1:04:25. Both men have been suspended from 2014 events.

Gerardo Avila of Triangle, Va., — running with a bib belonging to Steven Henry of Odenton, Md. — finished the Marine Corps Marathon’s 17.75k race in 1:04:25. Both men have been suspended from 2014 events.

Running a race with someone else’s bib is never a good idea — but if you’re going to do it, try not to win.

Steven Henry, 38, of Odenton, Md., was named the overall winner of the Marine Corps 17.75K on April 12, but the person who actually ran the 1:04:25 was Gerardo Avila of Triangle, Va., Marine Corps Marathon officials said in a news release. This illegal transfer was in direct violation of MCM policy, officials said, leading to the suspension of both men from the remainder of 2014 Marine Corps Marathon events.

“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 that individual,” MCM Director Rick Nealis said in the April 16 release. “Participation in any MCM event echoes the U.S. Marine Corps 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.”

After the race, Avila misrepresented himself as Henry.

“I guess I am in a lot better shape than I thought I was,” he told race officials, speaking as Henry. “It was challenging and very tough, but I really enjoy it.”

MCM policy allows only for official transfers of marathon bibs, or for marathon-to-10K transfers.

Marine Corps 17.75K second-place finisher Jeremy Lynch, 33, of Springfield, Va., is being credited as the overall winner.

17.75K finishers receive an automatic entry to the 39th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C. Finishers have until midnight on April 14 to complete the registration process.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 32 ultramarathons -- including her first 100-miler. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .