Ethiopian elite runner, Senbere Teferi, was on course to win the Peachtree Road Race for the second year running when she took a wrong turn a few seconds before crossing the finish line, causing her to miss out on the $10,000 first-place prize.
According to CNN, Teferi, who won the competition in 2022, was initially leading the run and was a few meters away from crossing the finish line when she took a right turn after a lead vehicle she was following took that route.
This prevented her from defending her title as she, unfortunately, finished in third position. She also missed out on the $10,000 prize money for a first-place finish. The prize money for second place and third place were $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.
“As our defending champion, Senbere Teferi, was approaching the finish line, it looks like she momentarily became confused and followed a police motorcycle when it turned off the course,” the event organizers tweeted.
“She was within sight of the finish banner, but we understand that in the heat of competition, instructions can be misinterpreted. As an organization, we are disappointed whenever we fall short of perfection, and in this case, it appears we did.”
Fotyen Tesfay, who was trailing Teferi when she made the wrong turn, finished first as she ran straight to the finish line. “I was really upset by Senbere’s mistake because she was in the front and she was leading, but she took that last turn,” a translator quoted Tesfay when she was asked about the final meters.
“I saw the finish line. At first, I thought they didn’t really show us that well yesterday where the finish was. But after I saw that car turn, I saw the finish sign in front of me, so I pushed ahead. But I was really upset because I really planned to stick with Senbere at the finish.”
The Peachtree Road Race is held annually on July 4th in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition attracts about 50,000 participants, and this year’s event marked its 54th edition.