Runner wins marathon after race leaders go the wrong way

Johnny Lieu

Getting lost in Venice is half the fun.

Unless you're a group of runners at the 2017 Venice Marathon on Sunday, who found themselves off course midway during the race.

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The lead pack of seven athletes followed a motorcycle that took a wrong turn 25 kilometres in the race, according to a report by the IAAF. By the time the pack rejoined the race, they trailed a new lead pack by a minute.

The kerfuffle allowed for Eyob Gebrehiwet, an Eritrean-born Italian runner from a local club, to win the marathon in a time of 2:12:16. He is the first Italian man to win the race since 1995.

"Today's race shows that the work is paying off," Gebrehiwet told the IAAF.

"It was not an easy race as I had to run alone on the Ponte della Libertà. I dedicate the win to myself as I have always believed in my work despite all the difficulties."

Gebrehiwet finished more than two minutes ahead of the second placed runner, Muhammed Mussa, who had a time of 2:15:14. Gilbert Chumba, who was part of the lost lead pack, finished fourth with a time of 02:16:47.

The moment certainly has echoes of Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury's gold medal win at the 2002 Winter Olympics, albeit less dramatic.

Sometimes all you need is luck.

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