1976 Boston Marathon winner Jack Fultz just forwarded me this link to Natsuki Terada's wrong turn at this year's Hakone Ekiden showing up on ABC News. It's nice to see Hakone get mentioned on ABC, but they misreported what was happening and missed the point of the clip. While dramatic and funny it's important to point out that Terada did not lose the race. The pack of four guys he was in was racing for 8th-10th place, the last three seeded spots for the 2012 Hakone Ekiden. Having a seeded spot is a prestige which means the school is free to compete in October's Izumo Ekiden. The last of the four runners would finish in 11th and his team would have to requalify next fall. Terada's school, Koku Gakuin University, had never made the seeded bracket.
He had kicked into 8th at the time of his wrong turn less than 200 m from the finish and looked as though he would have held that position if he had stayed on-course, but Terada nevertheless miraculously returned from the wrong turn to overtake Josai University and finish 10th. Koku Gakuin got its seeded spot, Terada's only goal in that last kick. Whether it was 8th or 10th made no difference, hence Terada and his teammates' elation and the 11th-place Josai runner's devastated collapse at the end of the Youtube upload, cut from the ABC video. In other words, despite the entertainment value of the clip its point is that Terada succeeded, not failed. If hearts go out to anyone it should be to Josai's anchor.