CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Two days after the race, Daniel Mesfun of Eritrea was officially named champion of the 2018 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in the men's division.
Marathon director Jack Staph made the announcement at a Tuesday afternoon news conference at the Renaissance Hotel.
Staph read from a written statement:
"Our investigation yielded two consideration that led us to this final decision -- the results of the men's marathon race will stand. Daniel Mesfun's victory is official. As we investigated, we first sought to determine if a clear-cut rules violation indeed took place. We looked at video from the race; language on our website; USA Track and Field's rules; what we communicate to runners at registration and in advance of the race.
"We concluded there was a lot of gray area. There's no denying his bib was covered at times. But it's also evident that Mr. Terer knew Mr. Mesfun was a fellow marathon competitor. And we do not believe Mr. Mesfun was intending to deceive anyone to gain an advantage.
"Second, in the follow-up conversations we had with the runners involved, Mr. Terer showed a great deal of integrity. He conceded he would not have been able to catch Mr. Mesfun after he was passed late in the race, he ultimately withdrew his complaint. And obviously that weighed heavy for us, also."
There was delay in announcing the winner because Mesfun's victory on Sunday was challenged by other top finishers shortly after they completed the marathon. No one disputed that Mesfun began the race and ran it in its entirety.
Terer, who led for much of the race, said that because Mesfun's bib wasn't visible until late in the race, he didn't realize Mesfun was closing on him because he didn't know if Mesfun was in the marathon or half marathon.
Mesfun wore a T-shirt over the race bib that identifies which race a runner is competing in. He told The Plain Dealer that he had cramps in his mid-section, and wore the shirt for warmth until he took it off with about 180 meters to go and after he had passed Terer on the Detroit-Superior bridge.
Representatives in charge of organizing the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon have announced that Daniel Mesfun is the official winner of the men's race.
Controversy surrounded Mesfun, who took first place with a time of 2:16:33 on Sunday. He wore a T-shirt over his bib for a portion of the race, covering his runner's number.
"We don't believe Mr. Mesfun was trying to gain an unfair advantage," said Executive Race Director Jack Staph, who explained that Mesfun put the extra shirt on to stay warm to ease stomach cramps, and forgot to remove it.
Mesfun removed his T-shirt blocks from the finish line, revealing his number. The runners who initially contended the win withdrew their complaints as they conceded that they couldn't have caught up with Mesfun, who gained a sizable lead by the end of the marathon, explained Staph.
This story will be updated.
Watch Staph's address to the media, which took place Tuesday afternoon: