Cambridgeshire

Cambridge Half Marathon 'wrong-name' winner rejects race return

Jack Gray at Cambridge half marathon Image copyright Jack Gray
Image caption Jack Gray said he knew of others who had swapped places, but thinks he was singled out because he won

A half-marathon winner disqualified for running under his injured boss's name has turned down an invitation to run again this year.

Jack Gray, 25, took the place of Andrew Rawlings at last year's Cambridge Half Marathon and beat 7,000 runners, but fell foul of the rules.

Organisers said he would be "welcome" in 2019's race - under his own name.

But Mr Gray has instead prioritised the British Championships on 10 March as he chases international recognition.

The transport planner, who hopes to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in his hometown of Birmingham, said running was "all about the long-term".

Image copyright Pete Brown Photography
Image caption Jack Gray finished sixth at the National Cross Country Championships last weekend

As well as the British Half Marathon Championships in London, he will represent England in the Parelloop 10k in the Netherlands on 24 March.

Mr Gray added: "[The half marathon win] was fun and unanticipated last year but it's not really a priority given the upcoming British Championships."

In Cambridge last year, Mr Gray won what was his first half marathon, and came within a minute of the course record with a time of 66 minutes and 52 seconds.

Image copyright Ciprian Cucuruz
Image caption Jack Gray (circled in red), won the race but was disqualified, and Will Mycroft (in green) was declared the winner

When he finished he heard the name "Andrew Rawlings" ringing out over the public address system, and told organisers who he really was.

Sheffield student William Mycroft, who came second, was then declared the winner.

Despite breaking race rules, director Adam Moffat said they would "welcome" Mr Gray back for the 2019 event on Sunday.

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After hearing of his decision not to return, Mr Moffat said: "It'd have been nice to see him come and beat the course record having come so close last year, but I completely understand he's got other priorities.

"He's obviously a great athlete and he'd be welcome back in in future years if he fancied it then."

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