'No, no, no, no': Moment marathon leader takes wrong turn in middle of Commonwealth Games race

·2-min read
Commonwealth Games - Men's Marathon - Birmingham, Britain - July 30, 2022 Uganda's Victor Kiplangat reacts after winning the men's marathon REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Uganda's Victor Kiplangat reacts when winning the men's marathon after making a wrong turn. (Reuters)

Marathon runner Victor Kiplangat averted disaster after realising he had taken a wrong turn while cruising to gold in the Commonwealth Games.

After more than 40 kilometres of running through the twisting Birmingham streets, Kiplangat veered off course in the late stages to the horror of viewers and the commentary team.

The 22-year-old Ugandan had begun running away from the finishing line when he was tantalising close to the end.

The commentary team of Steve Cram and Paula Radcliffe noticed the runner was heading the wrong way after viewing an aerial shot, with Cram saying "oh has he gone the wrong way? Oh no, no, no, no, no!".

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Commonwealth Games - Men's Marathon - Birmingham, Britain - July 30, 2022 Uganda's Victor Kiplangat celebrates as he crosses the line to win gold in the men's marathon REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Kiplangat got there in the end. (Reuters)
Commonwealth Games - Men's Marathon - Birmingham, Britain - July 30, 2022 Uganda's Victor Kiplangat celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's marathon REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
Ugandan hero Kiplangat celebrates after winning the gold medal. (Reuters)

Luckily for Kiplangat, he had built up such a commanding lead that the miscue did not cause any damage.

He was a comfortable winner in a time of two hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds, crossing 94 seconds clear of Tanzania's Alphonce Simbu,

Kiplangat dropped to his knees to give thanks in the finish area before grabbing a Ugandan flag and soaking in the cheers from yet another large Games crowd.

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Cram defended the Ugandan’s error, saying: "It isn't his fault. There is a blue line and he followed the vehicle... There should have been a lead bike. That is terrible."

Radcliffe added: “I think he may have been focused on the bike ahead of him. Often the blue line can disappear too just because they haven't marked out a particular section, and it is a dash not a solid blue line.”

Michael Mugo Githae, a travelling reserve for the Kenyan team, was a late addition to the field and took full advantage of his chance to take bronze just ahead of Australia's Liam Adams, who had led much of the early half of the race.

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