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Police Misdirect Winner At Buffalo Half Marathon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published May. 30, 2011
Julius Kiptoo was misrouted at the finish of the Buffalo Half Marathon. Photo: IAAF

Julius Kiptoo was misrouted at the finish of the Buffalo Half Marathon. Photo: IAAF

An end-of-race mix up forced the real winner to turn the wrong way.

A rare event in Buffalo at the Half Marathon on Sunday: Demesse Tefera of New York and Julius Kiptoo of Toledo, Ohio were both awarded $500 for the win. Kiptoo was well ahead of his rival. Near the end, the course split in two, with one direction heading to the rest of the marathon and the other leading to the finish.

At that point, race official Tom Donnelly was put into a bind by the police who were leading Kiptoo.

“I wanted to direct him [Kiptoo] to go straight [to the finish line]. A police officer was adamant about taking him right,” he said. “He screamed at me personally to get away. At that point, I could only be so vehement about my position.”

Kiptoo followed the police officer the wrong way.

When he saw he had went the wrong way, at the 13.1-mile mark, he stopped and jogged back to the real finish.

“We awarded Kiptoo first-place money. He didn’t get the award, but we duplicated the money,” Donnelly said. “We made it good for him.”

For More: Buffalo News.com

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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