As if winning a marathon on your best day wasn't impressive enough, Victor Kiplangat set himself the challenge of doing so while running the wrong route.
Up-and-comer Kiplangat became the first Ugandan to claim gold in a Commonwealth Games marathon on Saturday. But Birmingham's streets proved more difficult to navigate than he might have anticipated.
There were no rival runners in sight when Kiplangat ventured down one side of a road, only to realise he'd veered away from the blue barrier he was meant to be following. Commentator Steve Cram had sympathy for the youngster given the blue line appeared to have disappeared on that part of the course.
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"It isn't his fault," said the BBC broadcaster. "There is a blue line and he followed the vehicle. . .There should have been a lead bike. That is terrible."
Spectators at home could hardly believe their eyes, either, and took organisers to task as one wrote: "Imagine letting the marathon runner go the wrong way in the Commonwealth Games. Proper Mickey Mouse stuff." Another exclaimed: "Blimey the men's marathon leader went the wrong way!"
Kiplangat, 22, had built up a large lead at the time of the mishap, meaning he had enough to course correct and still emerge in first place. The oversight could have proved a lot more damaging had he not been acres ahead of his nearest competition at the time.
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He eventually crossed the line in a time of two hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds, looking as though he might have challenged Ian Thompson's Commonwealth record. The Englishman ran a time of two hours, nine minutes and 22 seconds at Christchurch 1974.
“I believed when I reached 35 kilometres that I had some hope (of beating it),” said Kiplangat after the biggest result of his running career to date. "I believe Uganda is proud of me today. We have been waiting for this."
The result is a major coup for Uganda and represented their only medal of these Commonwealth Games as of Saturday afternoon. Solomon Mutai claimed silver on the Gold Coast four years ago, but the nation looks as though it has a new rising star to keep an eye on ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
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