Runner's Last-Minute Goof Costs Her Thousands

The finish line was straight ahead; Senbere Teferi turned right
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2023 11:35 AM CDT

Senbere Teferi's resume has some big-name races on it. The 28-year-old Ethiopian runner placed second in the 5000m at the 2015 World Athletics Championships and finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the same race at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics. But one win she seemed almost sure to snag slipped through her fingers Tuesday. Teferi was attempting to defend her title in the women's elite division of the Peachtree Road Race, a 10km race that takes place every July 4 in Atlanta, when she took a wrong turn just paces from the finish.

Video shows Teferi, who was in the lead, turn right, mimicking the turn a police motorcycle that was leading the pack took, reports 11Alive. In a tweet, the AJC Peachtree Road Race noted that "it looks like she momentarily became confused and followed a police motorcycle ... 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."

The runners just behind Teferi continued straight, with Fotyen Tesfay winning in 30:43. Correcting her mistake cost Teferi precious seconds; she finished third with a time of 30:47. CNN reports the mistake cost her $7,000. Rather than walk away with the $10,000 first prize, she received $3,000 for finishing third. Teferi set a personal and event record at the New York Mini 10K just weeks ago with a time of 30:12. (More running stories.)

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