In an unexpected turn of events during the AJC Peachtree Road Race 10K on Independence Day, Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi, the reigning champion, was poised to claim victory and the USD $10,000 prize. However, a wrong turn in the final 200m foiled her plans, resulting in a third-place finish and causing her to miss out on a large sum of money.
Teferi was closely following a leading police motorcycle as it suddenly veered off the course with 200m to go. Without hesitation, Teferi followed suit, mistakenly believing that the race course took an unconventional right turn.
OH NO❗️ Peachtree Road Race leader Senbere Teferi MISTAKENLY followed the APD motorcycle officer OFF the course right before the finish line. She finished in 3rd place which was $3,000 in prize money a 1st place finish would have been $10,000. 💰
🎥 via: @11AliveSports pic.twitter.com/0J090Mmm2G
— Gradick Sports (@GradickSports) July 4, 2023
Despite having a nearly 10-second lead over her compatriot, Fotyen Tesfay, Teferi’s confusion led to her sprinting back to the course and finishing third, with a time of 30:47. She was only two seconds short of second place, which went to Kenya’s Jesca Chelangat at 30:45. Tesfay seized the opportunity and claimed victory, finishing four seconds ahead of Teferi in 30:43.
Tesfay also briefly followed Teferi’s detour before swiftly correcting herself and surging ahead to win the 10K title and the USD $10,000 prize.
Heartbreak for Senbere Teferi as she takes a wrong turn meters from the finish line of the Peachtree Road Race. It cost her a second consecutive win in the Atlanta 4th of July 10k.@atln pic.twitter.com/vg40krYnHb
— Fred Campagna (@FredCampagna) July 4, 2023
While it’s not uncommon for runners to take wrong turns near the finish line, it’s surprising that it happened to someone who won the race just last year. This is a reminder that even professional runners make mistakes.
The AJC Peachtree Road Race is held annually in Atlanta on Independence Day. It is currently recognized as the world’s largest 10K race, with over 60,000 participants. Canada’s own Rory Linkletter finished 17th overall in this year’s race, posting a time of 29:12.