An Ethiopian runner was just yards away from winning $10,000 off the course at the Peachtree Road Race Tuesday in Atlanta, but a wrong turn cost her the money.
Senbere Teferi, who has represented Ethiopia at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, and is a two-time Olympian, finished in third place just seconds behind Fotyen Tesfay in the Atlanta race after she, unfortunately, made a wrong turn following a police motorcycle that seemed to be leading the pack in the road race, according to People.
Due to Teferi’s mistake, Tesfay was ultimately crowned the winner of the race, having finished it in 30 minutes and 43 seconds.
Although Teferi managed to rejoin the race, she was unable to reach first place and instead ended up in third, receiving a prize of $3,000.
The Organizers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race released a statement expressing their “disappointment” over the incident:
“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.”
“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.”
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. (1/2)
— AJC Peachtree Road Race (@ajcprr) July 4, 2023
Should this runner receive any consolation prize?
According to the AJC, Teferi was leading the race until she made the wrong turn.
“I was really upset by Senbere’s mistake because she was in the front and she was leading, but she took that last turn,” Tesfay, the winner of the race, said, according to the New York Post.
“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.”
Teferi participated in her first Olympics at the Summer Games in 2016 where she ended up in fifth place in the women’s 5,000 meter. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, she finished sixth in the same event.