5 Memorable Finish Line Crossings


If you’ve been running for quite some time, you may have experienced a relaxing feeling after a good run. Scientists often refer to this feeling as a runner’s high, which may be connected to short-term psychoactive effects like calmness or reduced anxiety.

Furthermore, crossing the finish line may give some runners a similar feeling, including confidence. Such behavior may influence them to perform interesting or controversial acts upon reaching the end of the race. Regardless of what happens, that moment of crossing the finish line is one in a million. You can personally involve your loved ones wherever you are by sending them a handwritten note before the race, and have it delivered to them through this site hassle-free.

What are the most unique and interesting ways runners have crossed finish lines? Has there been a runner who celebrated too early? What about a runner getting disqualified despite finishing the race?

This article discusses five incidents of runners crossing the finish line in entertaining or provocative ways and the outcomes of their actions.

Tape-Tripping Finish

During the Bath Half Marathon in 2016, Robert Mbithi of Kenya broke the course record with a time of 61:44. However, as he hit the finish line, the tape did not break. Instead, the tape wrapped around Mbithi’s exhausted legs, causing him to fall to the ground.

Another runner, Jimmy Gressier of France, has a reputation for unique finish line celebrations. One such display was during the French Cross Country Championships in 2021, where he jumped over the finish line tape.

While that gimmick was successful, it did not work all the time. At the 2018 U23 European Cross Country Championships, Gressier held a pair of French flags as he crossed the finish line. However, his knees got stuck in the mud, causing him to faceplant over the line.

Rolling and Diving Finish

In the 2021 Boston Marathon, American runner Michael Porter grabbed the spectators’ attention when he suddenly lay down on the track right before the finish line rolled toward the line.

According to Porter, his action was a tribute to Ironman athlete Jon “Blazeman” Blais. Blazeman did the same act at the finish line of the 2005 Ironman World Championship.

Blais got diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and several athletes performed this action to remember Blais, who died in 2007, and raise awareness of the disease.

ALS is a progressive disease affecting the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, leading to loss of muscle control.

Aside from rolling, diving in a running competition is somewhat acceptable. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas performed this action in the 400-meter finals.

In the last meters of the race, Miller dived over the line to defeat Allyson Felix of America. Some claimed Miller fell, and the move divided opinion. However, the result stood, and Miller won the gold medal.

Confused With the Finish Line

During the 2017 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, Camille Herron of America mistakenly thought she passed the finish line of the 89-kilometer-long track first after a steward handed her a red rose.

She slowed down and started walking, even high-fiving the crowd, without realizing she still had 200 meters to go.

A male runner ran past her and informed her of the mistake. Fortunately, other runners had not overtaken Herron, so she resumed her run and crossed the actual fine line with a time of 6:27:35.

Premature Celebration

There are numerous instances of runners celebrating too early before crossing the finish line, only for another competitor running close by to overtake them.

One example is Mateo Bustos, who participated in the Sagunto triathlon in eastern Spain in 2021. Bustos was about to clinch first place when he slowed down and performed a foot trick in front of spectators.

Germán Cister, another competitor following close by, used the opportunity to overtake Bustos and cross the finish line with only a few feet to spare.

In another event, Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda was about to win the 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) Saint Silvester Road Race (Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre) in Brazil in December 2019. He raised his hands to celebrate right before the finish line when second-place runner Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya overtook him.

In an instant speed burst, Kandie slipped past Kiplimo on the line and grabbed the victory by milliseconds.

Celebrating too early is not the only cause for some runners to lose the race. Profanity can also get a runner in trouble, especially in an event supposed to promote sportsmanship and professionalism.

One such display was when runner Garret Winter of Parchment High School yelled profanities as he finished second place in an American cross country event. Officials heard what Garret said, and a video served as evidence. He ended up getting disqualified due to the use of such foul language.

Being Too Tall for the Finish Line

In 2019, Lukas Bates ran the London Marathon dressed in a Big Ben costume. While running 26.2 miles in such a cumbersome costume is already a challenge, crossing the finish line when the costume’s belfry is too high can get the runner in trouble.

Bates ran the marathon in a Big Ben costume attempting to break the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon time dressed as a landmark.

Unfortunately, he did not break the record. Furthermore, he almost broke his costume when the top part of the finish line scaffold blocked his way. This impediment required a steward to help him so Bates could maneuver under the scaffolding and cross the finish line.

Although you are free to make your gimmicks when running a race, ensure you abide by the rules, so you don’t get into trouble and maintain a safe running experience.


  1. The Truth Behind ‘Runner’s High’ and Other Mental Benefits of Running


  1. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)