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Warsaw Marathon leader collapses short of finish line

A Kenyan, who had a three-minute lead at the time, collapsed near the end of the Warsaw Marathon in Poland with the finish line in sight

Warsaw Marathon

Kenyan Recho Kosgei had built a three-minute lead with the finish line in sight of Poland’s Warsaw Marathon on Sunday.

With less than 1K to go, Kosgei started looking back to see if the second-place woman was close. There was no one within eyesight. Kosgei was veering side-to-side on the roads of the Polish capital and at the 2:29:50 mark of the race, she fell backwards to the ground. She was unable to get up and a runner, Marek Hladik, more than two minutes later, came to her aid, before continuing, as Bekelu Beji of Ethiopia, the eventual women’s winner, passed by.

According to the IAAF race report, Kosgei made a move late in the race and built a three-minute lead over Beji. With 800m to go, and the finish line not far ahead, “her legs suddenly gave way.”

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“Two-and-a-half minutes passed before a runner from the mass race stopped to try to help Kosgei stand,” Jon Mulkeen writes for the IAAF. “Beji was close behind and ran past the struggling Kosgei before going on to win in 2:35:08.”

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Kenya’s Wesley Korir reacted to the video on Twitter on Monday tweeting “although it’s illegal for [a] race official to help a runner I think there comes a time when logic takes over.” According to the IAAF Road Running Manual, “any athlete giving or receiving assistance from within the competition area during an event shall be warned by the referee and advised that, if there is any repetition, he [or she] will be disqualified from that event.”

Kosgei, who has a marathon personal best of 2:30:09, did not finish the race, and was treated by medical personnel, according to Polish media via NBC Sports.