DENVER, Colo. – Matt Smith was ecstatic when he finished second in his age group at IRONMAN Chattanooga, earning him a spot in the IRONMAN World Championship.
After completing the 2.4 mile swim, 114 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, Smith crossed the finish line but was disqualified about 10 minutes later.
“The head referee came up about 10 minutes after I crossed, once I got my wits about me, and let me know that I was disqualified and my results would be stricken from the record for outside assistance during the race,” he told KMGH.
The rules for the race state that competitors are not allowed to “receive assistance from other parties.”
During the race, Smith says his wife gave him ChapStick at mile 16 of the race. At that point, the referee gave him a “Yellow Card” which meant he lost two minutes but was able to finish the race.
At the finish line, Smith learned that it was all for naught.
“It does sound a little bit absurd that grabbing a ChapStick would get you disqualified from a race that you paid well over $600 to enter and trained that much for,” he told KMGH.
However, he says that he accepts the punishment and will train again for next year’s race.