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VIDEO: Comrades Marathon winner stops prematurely in finish line confusion

American Camille Herron stopped short of the finish line at the 2017 Comrades Marathon in South Africa thinking that the race was over

Camille Herron

With more than a four-minute gap over second-place, 2017 Comrades Marathon champion Camille Herron stopped short of the finish line thinking the race was over.

SABC News reports that “Camille Herron surprised many when she suddenly stopped metres away from the finishing line interacting with fans before hitting the line.”

According to Times Live, Herron told reporters that she thought she had finished as she approached the grass area on the Scottsville Racecourse grounds. At that point, she received a flower but needed to continue to reach the finish line around a 90 degree corner. A race official appears to inform Herron to keep going just before she high fives the onlooking spectators.

Moments later, a competitor in the men’s race approached a walking Herron from behind and alerted her that the finish was ahead and that she was not quite finished the 89K road race. The Comrades Marathon, held annually between the South African cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon.

On-course confusion near the finish

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Comrades Marathon finish

“Shout out to the guy who gave Camille Herron a tap when she thought she had finished the race,” the Twitter user who posted one of the finishing videos said. Herron becomes the first American woman since 1997 to win the Comrades Marathon. Her time was 6:27:35, which averages out to 4:29 per kilometre.

Herron is expected to contest the Western States Endurance Run, the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race, on June 24-25. Western States begins in Squaw Valley, Calif. and ends in Auburn.

South African Bongmusa Mthembu, the winner in 2014, won the men’s race in 5:35:34. According to results, there were 17,031 participants who started the race.