IRONMAN competitor disqualified after first-place finish

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Tom Clifford, an athlete at this year’s North Carolina IRONMAN triathlon, says he was disqualified because of changes made to the route.

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Clifford won the race by 11 minutes just to be told he was out of the race. He said he did not know he had to go around a certain buoy.

He was in the water with a lot of people and said the wind was a big distraction. He said he didn’t listen to his race director and made assumptions that also caused him to be disqualified.

“It’s an error on my part. I missed the buoy and the rules say that if you miss a turn buoy, it’s an automatic disqualification,” Clifford said. “It’s unfortunate for me, but it’s a good lesson for athletes in the future that are doing races.”

From this point forward, Clifford said it’s about humbleness and humility, and it’s not a major setback because he knows more races are to come.

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