Italian Runner Wins Venice Marathon After All The Favorites Take A Wrong Turn : The Two-Way In a bizarre twist, the city's own Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel won after leading racers followed a motorcycle off course. In the process, Faniel became the first local to win the marathon in 22 years.

Italian Runner Wins Venice Marathon After All The Favorites Take A Wrong Turn

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

As any tourist in Venice, Italy, can attest, it can be really easy to get lost in the city's winding streets. Runners of the Venice Marathon held on Sunday can now attest to that, too. NPR's Colin Dwyer reports on a bizarre twist that dramatically changed the results at the finish line.

COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: For most of the race, the guys who were expected to win the Venice Marathon were winning the Venice Marathon. Then about 16 miles in, they took a wrong turn. Instead of following the course, the runners followed some motorcycles and cars in front of them.

ENRICO JACOMINI: The runners go one way, and the cars go another way.

DWYER: That's what was supposed to happen anyway. But the runners at the front of the pack kept following the cars.

JACOMINI: Our men ran after them, and they caught them about a hundred yards from where they had left the course.

DWYER: Enrico Jacomini helped establish the race over three decades ago. He says it took a while for those runners to get back on track, and it took even longer for the guy who passed them, a local Venetian named Eyob Faniel, to realize he was actually winning.

JACOMINI: About a couple of kilometers to the finish, he was told that he was in the lead.

DWYER: He became the first Italian man to win the Venice Marathon in 22 years.

JACOMINI: He was doing well (laughter), and this was just a lucky circumstance.

DWYER: But maybe we should've seen it coming. After all, you can always trust a local to get the directions right. Colin Dwyer, NPR News.

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