‘I don’t think she’s a cheater:’ Director details Mandy West’s disqualification after finishing first at Louisiana Marathon _lowres

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE — Mandy West was disqualified from her first place position Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 during the Louisiana Full Marathon downtown Baton Rouge.

Mandy West, the 39-year-old Olympic Trials hopeful who was disqualified after finishing first at the Louisiana Marathon for receiving aid from a bicyclist despite multiple warnings, told Runner's World the incident was a "very unfortunate miscommunication" while also adding she "did not care at all about winning that race."

West, who did not return phone messages and emails from The Advocate seeking comment after her disqualification, reiterated her main goal at the marathon was to run a sub-2:45 race so that she could qualify for February's Olympic Trials.

“If I blew up I was going to walk off the course," she told Runner's World.

West told Runner's World that happened at mile 20. After the race, when she was still thought to be the winner, West told The Advocate a male competitor whom she was running alongside dropped off the 2:45 pace around mile 15, when West said she "stopped looking at splits."

“I felt like so many people had supported me so much and really cheered me on," West told Runner's World, explaining why she didn't walk off the course. "I just didn’t want to quit. I don’t mean to be rude, but I did not care at all about winning that race. You can imagine, if you work so hard toward a goal and you come up just short. That’s really disappointing.”

Runner's World also interviewed Louisiana Marathon race director Jonathan Dziuba, who said "West was a professional." A day after the race, Dziuba detailed to The Advocate the events that led to West's disqualification, which included three warnings from race officials during West's run that her actions were illegal and could cause disqualification.

“I think everyone that was involved in that day would agree that all of it was a very unfortunate miscommunication," West told Runner's World.