It seems like this thread has gone on long enough and its time for this whole thing to die down. Let's all move on to some awesome college XC action and elite marathoning in Chicago.
I am Cassie's fiance and coach so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the situation. Cassie is completely over this whole thing and has moved on to other more important things in her life- PhD program, wedding planning, training for Club XC nationals, etc. Cassie was more bummed by the fact that she didn't break 3 hours than the disqualification. The win was nice, but it wasn't her primary goal. She was upset when she learned of the DQ, but she freely admits that she broke a USATF rule. She'll also admit that she should have done a better job of understanding the rules. As her coach, I should have done a better job of advising her on this type of situation. We all learned an important lesson. Despite the DQ, Cassie had a great experience with this marathon. She told me she loved the course, enjoyed all the spectators, and thought everything was well organized. Overall, she's over the disqualification; time to move on.
With that being said, these are the facts of the case so everyone can know exactly what happened. A lot of rumors are flying around, so hopefully this will clear things up for everyone and we can move on. We all have different opinions of how things were handled, but this is what happened during the race(according to Cassie).
1) Cassie received water(aid) from two individuals during the course of the race who weren't official aid station workers. -A little boy who was standing in his yard with his father handing out cups of water. -A mutual friend of ours who gave Cassie a drink from her water bottle around mile 19.
2) The friend who gave Cassie a drink from her water bottle jogged along with Cassie for about 50 yards while Cassie was taking a drink. Cassie at first had trouble opening up the water bottle. This happened near the 19 mile mark. This was NOT planned. The water was offered and Cassie took it without thinking anything of it. The friend did not run alongside of Cassie for any significant amount of time, about 50 yards.
3) There was no "van" following Cassie around on the course. The friend drives a 2-door chrysler and there were 3 college kids along with her that were cheering Cassie on. They met up with Cassie around the 13-14 mile mark and they would drive about 2 miles down the road and cheer for her each time. They cheered for her at 4 different spots between 13 and 20 miles. They were also cheering at the finish line. The ONLY time that water was given to Cassie was at 19 miles.
4) Cassie learned of the DQ right before the awards ceremony was set to begin. The race organizers called her up along with the other top three women and informed her of the DQ. Cassie filed an official protest later that night around 6:00pm. The protest was rejected about 90 minutes later. And that was that.