Kielder half marathon: Runner who finished race in first place 'was not registered' to take part

Events of the North has changed the results of the Kielder half marathon after it emerged the runner who crossed the line in first place was not registered for the race. Credit: ITV/Events of the North

The organisers of a half marathon have condemned a runner who crossed the finish line in first place despite not being registered to take part.

The man had been wearing someone else's number during the race, which took place on Sunday 8 October as part of the Kielder Marathon weekend.

He crossed the finish line in first place, but failed to attend the medal ceremony afterwards.

A spokesperson for Events of the North, which organised the event, said: "Not only was this a serious breach of the rules, but it also deprived the actual winner of their moment of glory, while the runner who should have been presented with the third place prize on the day was not.

"Both missed out on celebrating their achievements in front of family, friends and other spectators.

"The individual who claimed the win did not turn up for the presentation, we presume because he knew that his dishonesty would be exposed.

"Surely, he realised that this would be the case before he crossed the line, giving him the opportunity to take a different and better course of action."

L-R Kieran Ingram, of Northumbrian Water, half marathon winner John Butters, second place runner Sam Green and Councillor Jeffrey Watson. Credit: Events of the North

In another incident, a male athlete lined up wearing a female runner's number. Organisers said he had been in touch ahead of the race to ask if he could take part using that number and was told he was not allowed.

Despite warnings, he started the race and was leading it, but was persuaded to leave the course before reaching the finish line.

Organisers said the incidents had "tarnished" the experience for others.

A spokesperson for Events of the North added: "Like all responsible race organisers, Events of the North has clear terms and conditions for all entrants, including policies relating to the transfer of numbers or deferrals.

"These rules are in place for very good reasons and are in line with those set down by athletics’ governing bodies.

"We condemn the actions of both of the above runners, and those who were complicit in them. They did not ruin the Kielder Marathon weekend, but they did taint it, particularly for those other runners who were directly affected by what they did. 

"Following discussions with officials and race adjudicators, we will be taking appropriate action."

About 3,500 people took part in events across the weekend, which also featured junior runs, a gravel duathlon, 10k and half marathon.

The winner of the men's half marathon was John Butters, of Morpeth Harriers and Athletics Club in time of 1:19:38. The first female finisher was Sarah Kerr, of Claremont Road Runners, in 1:28:43.

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