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Runner sent the wrong way at Stockholm Marathon, still wins race

Felix Kirwa managed to come back and win in a time of 2:11:07, only one minute off the course record of 2:10:10, despite having to run an extra kilometre

The leaders of Saturday’s Stockholm Marathon were in confusion and disbelief after being sent the wrong way for an extra kilometre.Felix Kirwa, Tesfaye Lencho Anbesa, and Merhawi Keste were pointed in the wrong direction by race officials around the 30 km mark of the marathon.

They ran for a full minute before realizing the mistake, which cost them the lead in the race. Kirwa, 26, managed to come back and win the event in a time of 2:11:07, only one minute off the course record of 2:10:10, despite having to run an extra kilometre.

Kirwa spoke to Stockholm’s TV4 in a post-race interview: “I am very happy to win the Stockholm marathon but we ran wrong and I missed the record because of it.”

The event organizers blamed the error on motorcycle police officers who drove in the wrong direction.

Kesete, from Eritrea, hung onto second place in 2:11:45, while Tesfay, also from Eritrea, lost out on a podium spot to finish fourth. John Langat of Kenya, who wasn’t led the wrong way, finished third in 2:12:39.

Kirwa’s win in Stockholm puts him on three marathon wins, winning the 2016 Singapore Marathon and the 2016 Antwerp Marathon. Kirwa was banned from competing in 2019, after failing a drug test for the banned substance strychnine, commonly known as rat poison.

Strychnine is on the anti-doping list due to its effects as a stimulant and can give an athlete the ability to go for longer without feeling tired. Kirwa was stripped of his second-place finish at the 2018 Singapore Marathon as a result of the suspension.

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