425 Runners Diverted Off Course By A Group Of Teenagers At Local 5K

Only nine runners out of 425 completed the originally planned course.


A local 5K may have proved to be one of the most challenging races to finish this year. At the 2024 EPIC Action 5K race for charity in Aylsham, Norfolk, UK, only nine out of 425 participants successfully completed the course.

What made the race so challenging? It wasn’t the speed of competition, the weather, or the terrain. Rather, it was a group of teenagers who tampered with the directional signs and cones, sending most runners off course.

425 Runners Diverted Off Course By A Group Of Teenagers At Local 5K 1
Photo Credit: Norfolk EPIC

The diversion came around the 2K mark, and race organizer Steve Hitcham explained that numerous cars had to stop to allow the runners to pass, a scenario they hadn’t planned for. While the traffic impact was minimal, the situation had the potential for serious consequences.

“There could have easily been an accident. A lot of people didn’t notice, but it could have gone a lot worse,” Hitcham said to Eastern Daily Press. “A lot of cars had to stop to let runners through, which we obviously hadn’t anticipated or had any sort of management in place for. Luckily, in the end, there wasn’t too much traffic about. But it’s more the fact that it could have led to something serious.”

425 Runners Diverted Off Course By A Group Of Teenagers At Local 5K 2
Photo Credit: Norfolk EPIC

Hitcham explained that the lead cyclist and front runners noticed the error around the 3km mark, allowing the participants to rejoin the correct route. As a result, the race extended to approximately 5.25km.

“The crowd was able to join the route again from the opposite direction, and everyone was able to complete the race safely. They just ended up running a little bit further,” Hitcham continued. “We still had a great evening, thanks to our marshals thinking on their feet. But it’s frustrating because the results are now void because it wasn’t on an official route.”

The incident has been reported to the police, and a local officer who was taking part in the race and saw the group of teenagers described them as some of the “worst kids in town.”

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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