Morpeth Harrier promoted to first place after 'winner' is disqualified at the end of the Kielder Half Marathon

Morpeth Harrier athlete John Butters was denied his moment of glory in bizarre circumstances at the Kielder Half Marathon.
John Butters, second from left, was upgraded from second to first in the Kielder Half Marathon after the 'winner' was disqualified.John Butters, second from left, was upgraded from second to first in the Kielder Half Marathon after the 'winner' was disqualified.
John Butters, second from left, was upgraded from second to first in the Kielder Half Marathon after the 'winner' was disqualified.

The ‘winner’ was found to be an unregistered runner who was wearing someone else’s number and so deprived Butters of the acclaim on the day.

A statement by the event organisers said: “The individual who claimed the win did not turn up for the presentation, we presume because he knew that his dishonesty would be exposed.”

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A second runner who was wearing a female runner’s number stepped off the course before the finish after being warned by officials.

Butters found out the following day that he had won, but said: “It doesn’t feel like a win.”

The event organisers went on to say: “We condemn the actions of both of the above runners, and those who were complicit in them. Following discussions with officials and race adjudicators, we will be taking appropriate action.”

Morpeth Harrier Andriy Volkov also took part in the half marathon.

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Colleague Andrew Hebden came fourth in the 10k event on Saturday, with Volkov ninth and Lindsey Quinn 27th and seventh female finisher.

Colin Archer, Anna Wright, Laura Mclean and Jane Briggs finished the Kielder Marathon.

In happier circumstances, Morpeth Harriers’ Senior Men were just over a minute off a medal when finishing fifth at the English Road Running Association Six Stage Road Relays.

The day features the strongest clubs and the best runners from across the country, with competition for Young Athletes over three stages of 3.88k and the Seniors each completing 5.8k.

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After early legs by Finn Brodie (17:43) and KEVI sixth-former Will de Vere Owen (18:13), GB international Rory Leonard produced a barnstorming run of 16:38, the third fastest overall of the day, to take the team clear.

But with strong national outfits all having their own big hitters on last legs, it was always going to be a challenge to hang on, and despite good runs by Lawrence McCourt (17:54), Will Cork (18:15) and Carl Avery (17:31), the club just slipped out of the medals.

The B team, which featured teenagers Liam Roche and James Tilley, were the fifth B team.

Morpeth’s Under-17s finished 17th in the Young Athletes races out of 71 clubs, with legs by Joe Close (12:26), Oliver Tomlinson (12:48) and Elliot Kelso (12:14).