- Kenyans Elijah Mwangangi Saolo and Luke Kibet were left to wonder what could have been after missing out on marathon victory due to a disheartening mistake
- The two Kenyans, who were frontrunners in the Quad Cities marathon, were led off-course by a volunteer
- They were eventually disqualified and the race was won by an underdog – Tyler Pence
- Pence, the first U.S. runner since 2001 to win the race, ended up winning the GHC 18,000 cash prize
PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!
Two Kenyan runners lost the chance to win GHC18,000 after they took the wrong route in a marathon in Chicago, Illinois.
Elijah Mwangangi Saolo and Luke Kibet were on course to win the Quad Cities Marathon on Sunday, September 26 but the race was eventually won by Illinois man Tyler Pence in what was a surprise to many.
Quad City Times reports that Saolo and Kibet followed a marathon volunteer on a bike and were diverted off course.
What is more disheartening is the fact that the Kenyan duo was way ahead of Pence at some point in the race before they decided to follow the bicycle rider.
Download YEN's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with all major Ghana news
The volunteer rider was leading them through the course and everything was going well until he went straight along a route known as Rodman whilst he should have taken a turn.
Joe Moreno, the race director, confirmed that the cyclist took the wrong route and the two Kenyans were subsequently disqualified.
Moreno went on to explain to Saolo and Kibet of their mistake and upon learning he has potentially cost the duo a win, the cyclist was on the brink of tears.
However, Moreno insists the two runners should have known better than to follow a volunteer in a marathon.
“At that intersection where that incident happened, the course was well-marked,’’ Moreno said as quoted by QC times. “The signage is well-displayed. The volunteers are there. And the fourth element is those elite runners have a meeting the day before to get familiar with the course.’’
The marathon winner Pence is a head track and cross country coach at the University of Illinois and won the race with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds.
Pence, spoke after the race where he admitted to seeing the two runners being misled but decided to remain mum about it.
“It was pretty obvious where to go out there so I don’t know what went on,” Pence, 28, told the Quad-City Times. “I was about 20 seconds back so I kind of saw it happening but I’m not going to shout. It’s not my job.”
Kenyans, the marathon specialists
There is little doubt that Kenyans are the masters of marathons.
Kipchoge, who won gold during the 2016 Rio Olympics was looking to retain the crown during the postponed Summer Games in Sapporo, northern Japan.
The marathon icon clocked an impressive 2.08.38 to storm to victory to win Team Kenya's fourth gold medal in Tokyo.