The winner of the London Marathon finished just 2 seconds short of earning a $25,000 bonus

The winner of the London Marathon finished just 2 seconds short of earning a $25,000 bonus

  • The London Marathon winner cost himself $25,000 after he was two seconds short of a time bonus.
  • As he approached the finish line, 30-year-old Sisay Lemma slowed and waved to the crowd.
  • The Ethiopian was also had to send his 67-year-old agent to collect his medal on the podium.

The winner of the London Marathon cost himself $25,000 when he slowed down to wave to fans at the finish line.

Ethiopian Sisay Lemma won the coveted race with a time of two hours, four minutes, and one second but had he finished two seconds earlier, he would have received a $25,000 time bonus.

As he ran past Buckingham Palace, the 30-year-old noticeably slowed down and waved to the crowd. When he crossed the line, his celebrations were muted. He put his arms out before collapsing to his knees.


To make matters worse, Lemma was not even allowed to go and collect his medal because his fellow Ethiopian Kinda Atanaw failed a COVID-19 test. Lemma, deemed a close contact of Atanaw, had to have his 67-year-old agent go and collect his prize from the podium. 

Gianni Demadonna waves flowers and a trophy at the London Marathon

Lemma’s agent, Gianni Demadonna, had to collect his client’s award.

Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

Lemma, who finished 27 seconds ahead of second place Vincent Kipchumba, did not leave empty handed though. For winning the race, he received $55,000 and a further $50,000 for completing it under two hours and five minutes.

“Today was the biggest win of my career and a dream come true for me. I came third last year here in London and to return 12 months later and to win this great race is an incredible and proud moment,” he said after the race.

“Of course I would have loved to have celebrated my win by standing on top of the podium but I completely understand why this was not possible.

“We are living in challenging times and I am just grateful that it was possible for me to run today and experience the greatest moment of my career.”

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