Organisers of Warsaw Marathon held Sunday have come under sharp criticism after they failed to assist Kenyan Recho Kosgei, who collapsed with only 800m to the finishing line.
Kosgei, who was leading the women’s race by almost three minutes, is seen struggling to stand, collapsing several times with no one to assist according to a video doing rounds online.
Kosgei is seen wobbling from side to side on the Polish capital’s roads in the final mile, occasionally turning her head around for almost two minutes. She saw nobody in the distance behind her.
She eventually, slowly, collapsed to the pavement about 2 hours, 30 minutes into the 42km race in a widely shared video clip.
As she struggled to get up, two runners finally approached two-and-half minutes later.
The first was Slovakian Marek Hladik, in 10th place in the men’s race, who stopped and put his hand out in an attempt to lift Kosgei off the road. He appeared to try and communicate with her for a few seconds, but she remained on the ground.
As this was going on, Ethiopian Bekelu Beji strode past both of them and went on to win the women’s race in 2:35:08.
Kosgei did not finish and was eventually treated by medical personnel, according to Polish media.
Polish Blazej Brzezinski crossed the line in 2:11:26 to win the men’s race, taking 51 seconds off the personal best. Kenya’s Justus Kiprotich held on for second place in 2:11:51 with another Kenyan Silas Kipngetich taking third in 2:13:30.
Former Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir said even though it’s not proper to assist an athlete finish the race, Kosgei’s case was different.
“This is beyond acceptable although it’s illegal for race official to help a runner. I think there comes a time when logic takes over @iaaforg,” tweeted Korir.
Saddique Shaban, a renowned sports writer and commentator, said the organisers of Warsaw Marathon are on the spot for failing to assist Kenya’s Recho Kosgei, dangerously needing help, in Sunday’s event.
“Why would an @iaaforg Bronze Label event allow such travesty ? What if she were a local athlete? Would she be left fighting for her life?” posed Shaban on his twitter handle @ SaddiqueShaban.
“Cases of athletes dying in road races, mostly amateurs, have been on a rise. But this was no amateur athlete,” added Shaban.
Julius Kemboy @JKembo tweeted, “Oh no! I hope she is now in good health! Organisers have responsibility to ensure the athletes get all assistance in the race!”
Another veteran sports journalist Makamu Mbaisi was shocked by the incident. “Warsaw Marathon really?? Where were the medics?.”