Stock Photo Model Is Surprise Winner at World Championships Marathon

In a move that stunned the running world, a stock photo model came out of nowhere to win the 2017 IAAF World Championships Marathon in London on Sunday.

The winner, registered only as Portrait of a Race Winner ID#175248024, finished in an official time of 2:08:12.

No one, from race commentators to fellow competitors, saw him coming.

Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya appeared to have a comfortable lead going into the final stretch when the man, dressed in a red sleeveless shirt and with perfect hair and skin, passed him.

"This guy, he sailed past me like he wasn't even sweating," Kirui said at a postrace news conference. "He didn't talk to me or even look over. He was staring ahead and smiling the whole time."

"I do not know his name but he is very strong."

I noticed that he was already wearing a medal.
— Tamirat Tola, Bronze Medalist

Very strong and a little odd, according to other runners.

Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola, who took bronze, also remarked on the winner's appearance. 

"(Portrait of a Race Winner ID#175248024) passed me as well, and I noticed that he was already wearing a medal," he told reporters. "It was a tiny medal, like a toy, on a narrow ribbon. Very strange."

"I believe it was plastic," he added.

Race officials initially disqualified Portrait of a Race Winner ID#175248024, assuming he was a bandit. Records showed, however, that he was properly registered.

"I guess he brought his own bib number," said an IAAF spokesman, referring to the generic white number that appeared to be hovering over the man's chest. "Interestingly, there's no rule against that."

The man's bib read, simply, "3178."

Little is known about Portrait of a Race Winner ID#175248024. A quick Google search revealed only that he has been photographed elsewhere, always in workout gear— drinking from a large, unlabeled bottle of water; smiling with arms crossed; gripping a white towel draped around his neck; looking serious while crouched in a sprinter's starting position; and laughing.

Reporters hoping to learn more were left disappointed on Sunday, as Portrait of a Race Winner ID#175248024 skipped the postrace news conference, explaining that he had to get to a photo shoot.