Mandy West, the disqualified female marathon winner in Sunday’s Louisiana Marathon, was a two-time First Team All Ivy League basketball player at Penn and didn’t take up running until later in life.
In a four-minute post-race interview, when she was still thought to have won the Marathon, West, 39, said she didn’t start running until after a college and professional basketball career overseas.
According to her LinkedIn profile, West, a guard, spent nearly three years as a professional basketball player in the Greece A1 Basketball League before returning to the U.S. to work for, among other places, INTERMIX and lulemon before going to Nike as a Running Specialty Accountant in November of 2014.
West played two seasons at Penn, scoring 1,076 points – good for 13th in school history. She left the school as the Quakers’ all-time leader in free throw percentage. She was also a team captain in both of her seasons, 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
West unofficially finished the race in 2 hours, 49 minutes, 26 seconds, narrowly missing the female course record of 2:48:28. She was disqualified for “receiving assistance” on the course.
Marathon co-founder Danny Bourgeois said Sunday that West got “nutrition and liquid” from a bicyclist during the race, even after she was warned by a course marshal “at least once” that it was prohibited, as detailed in a letter race director Jonathan Dziuba sent to race participants.
“Running is just fun to do, it’s what I do for work,” West said. “(My time) was a little disappointing. I was trying to qualify for the (Olympic) Trials, trying get a sub-2:45, it was the last day to do it. I think once I fell off pace of that, it was a little hard to motivate to get back on. But I actually didn’t know what the course record was.”
Women must run a sub-2:45:00 to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
“(After falling off Trials pace) I kept thinking ‘I don’t think there’s anyone in front of me, so I have to finish,’” West laughed. “I can’t just walk off the course.”
West said she tried to get into the Houston Marathon, also run on Sunday, in an attempt to qualify for the Trials, but she “couldn’t get in.” She said the Louisiana Marathon was her first race in a year.
“Work is my focus,” West said. “I run a lot, obviously I want to be competitive. But we’ll see, I think I might like to start getting into some trail running now.”