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VIDEO: Pole vault bungee ties up unsuspecting runner, sabotages race

An 800m runner at the Irish Universities Indoor Track and Field Championships looked prime for the win before a pole vault bungee sabotaged his race.

Irish University Championships

A runner, Aengus Meldon, competing at the Irish University Championships tied up in the latter stages of an 800m race. But not in the way that you might expect.

As captured by Jon Mulkeen, senior web editor for the IAAF, a foreign object found its way on to the indoor track during the 800m. With approximately 50m to go, the object eventually found its way to the worst possible spot: wrapped around a runner’s legs.

The object was a warm-up bungee rope used for the pole vault. A bungee is used in place of a bar during the warm-up as it eliminates the need to put the bar back in place each prior to the competition getting underway. Somehow, it got loose and flew onto the track, acting almost as a lasso in slowing the runner down.

“As if the lactic in an 800m isn’t bad enough,” Mulkeen wrote on Twitter. The video, shared as part of a tweet, has retweeted shared more than 220 times since early Friday. A Facebook rip of the live feed has been seen an additional 13,000 times as of Friday afternoon.

The event, officially known as the Irish Universities Indoor Track and Field Championships, was held at Athlone Institute of Technology in Westmeath. When the race finishes, the runner, with the pole vault rope around his ankles, can be seen looking back towards the mat. Footage comes from the 800m semifinals on Feb. 10.


Full video

HD version (fast forward to 3:15:55)

The sequence is one that you may never see again. It does, however, resemble an incident from indoor track and field in 2016.

At the United States Indoor Track and Field Championships last March, a pole vault bar hit Ashton Eaton in the head. A bystander at the time, Eaton required stitches but was not seriously hurt. He has since retired from professional track and field.