A wrong turn at the Boston Marathon has cost wheelchair racer Marcel Hug $US50,00 ($68,000), but he was still fast enough to earn his fifth victory from the past six attempts.
- “Right on Hereford” is a famous phrase at the Boston Marathon, but Marcel Hug followed the lead vehicle down the wrong road
- Hug admitted it was his fault and he missed out on a cash bonus for breaking his own wheelchair course record
- The 35-year-old finished second in the Chicago Marathon a day earlier
Hug was on pace to break his own course record at the 125th Boston Marathon, but he missed a right turn to Hereford Street in the final moments of the race, instead following the lead vehicle up Commonwealth Avenue before returning to Hereford Street.
Perhaps the Swiss wheelchair athlete’s brain was a bit scrambled from finishing second in the Chicago Marathon a day earlier, because “right on Hereford Street, left on Boylston Street” is a famous refrain for competitors.
T-shirts are sold capturing that final-mile phrase, coming in the traditional blue-and-yellow colours that stretch across the Boylston Street finish line.
Hug won the race from 2015 to 2018, and admitted he had no-one to blame but himself.
“I was just focusing on my performance. I didn’t think about that. It’s sad, but it happens.”
The 35-year-old said the wrong turn cost him about 20 seconds and, considering he still ended up winning the race in 1 hour, 18 minutes and 11 seconds, his own course record of 1:18:04 was definitely there for the taking.
He missed out on the record and the cash bonus that comes with it, but did earn $US25,000 ($34,000) for the win in a bittersweet finish, beating second-placed American Daniel Romanchuk by more than seven minutes.
“At the moment I’m really upset,” he said immediately after the race.
“I hope in an hour, two hours, I’ll feel more happy. I know the performance was good, I’m very happy, very satisfied.”
Hug, who also won the London Marathon earlier this month, was part of Swiss sweep in the wheelchair divisions, with Manuela Schar winning the women’s division.
“That makes the race even better. It was great to do it with Marcel,” the three-time Boston champion said.
Schar beat American five-time winner Tatyana McFadden by just under 15 minutes, which was the biggest gap from first to second since 1988.