A cyclist caused unbeknown chaos at a race in Newcastle by sending hundreds of competitors off in the wrong direction.
Runners in the Heaton Memorial 10k race dutifully followed the cyclist in the high-vis jacket thinking he was a race official, but it turned out he was just a member of Joe Public out for a bike ride.
The field ran for about half-a-mile, obediently following the cyclist in the wrong direction, until they were finally brought back to the start line by race officials.
"In all the years I have been running races I have never come across anything quite like it," runner Paul Smith told the Northern Echo.
The Heaton Harriers club confirmed the error in a statement on their website which read:
"As a result most athletes ran around 800m before they were called back to start the race again.
"This was due to a member of the public entering the course on a bicycle just before the starting gun was sounded.
"The cyclist was dressed in fluorescent clothing and as the leading group of runners ran closer to him they mistook him to be a race official and mistakenly followed him to the right instead of carrying straight on.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will take steps in future events to ensure this does not happen again."
- Sports & Recreation
- Athletics, Track & Field
- race official