Orange County Marathon Winner Disqualified for Taking Water from His Dad During the Race: 'I Know I Won'

The USA Track and Field rulebook states participants are only allowed to receive water from the official hydration stations

<p>NBC 4/OC Marathon</p> Orange County Marathon

NBC 4/OC Marathon

Orange County Marathon

The winner of the Orange County Marathon was disqualified May 5 after it was found that he accepted a water bottle from his father during the race, in violation of racing rules.

24-year-old Esteban Prado finished first in the Orange County Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 54 seconds, but was soon disqualified after a competitor reported that he received water from a person on a bike during the competition.

Per USA Today, Orange County Marathon removed Prado based on the USA Track and Field rulebook, which states participants are only allowed to receive water from the official hydration stations, as no outside beverages are allowed.

In a statement to USA Today, race director Gary Kutscher emphasized that they were following the stated rulebook, which Prado had access to prior to the marathon.

"We were forced to disqualify a participant after it was confirmed they received unauthorized assistance from an individual on a bicycle, in violation of USA Track and Field rules and our race regulations," Kutscher said in a statement. "We take these rules seriously to ensure fairness and the integrity of our event for all competitors."

Related: Runner, 70, Disqualified for Alleged Cheating in L.A. Marathon After Record-Setting Run  

PEOPLE has reached out to Kutscher for further comment.

Prado, meanwhile, claimed in an interview with ABC Orange County affiliate KABC that the provided hydration stations were not properly managed.

"Whenever I got to these stations, the volunteers were scrambling because I'm the only runner in sight," he said. "You could barely see me, like, at certain turns."

He also said that the only person who would have been able to see him and accuse him of accepting water was his competitor in second place.

"The only person that could see me within range was second place," Prado added.

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Prado stated that despite being disqualified from the race, he believes that he is the rightful winner.

Related: Mexico City Marathon Disqualifies 11,000 Runners for Cheating, with Some Taking Trains or Biking to Finish

"I don't want to argue over something that's 15 minutes away from you, you get no money or anything. You know, if he wanted that congratulations for that first place, if he really felt like he needed it, it's just for him at the end of the day," said Prado. "I really got nothing out of it. I know I won."

Following Prado’s disqualification, second place finisher Jason Wang was declared the winner with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 11 seconds, according to USA Today.

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