There was real drama in the finishing stretch in the Belfast Marathon today, when, coming into the final 100 yards of the race, three men still in contention entered into a neck-and-neck sprint finish, only for one of them to bow out 10 yards from the line when he trod on a dog shit and fell.
The three runners, Kenyan, Kip Kenya, Norway's Stig Dump, and Ireland's Seamus O'Cropper, had kept each other company for the entire 26 miles of the race, and could not be separated even as they approached the last 385 yards. They jostled for position, but there was nothing in it as they came within sight of the finish line, and a huge crowd of spectators cheered them towards their destiny.
Unfortunately, for Ireland's O'Cropper, his destiny wasn't what he'd trained day-and-night for the last 18 months for. He stretched himself into the lead, but as he was about to dip for the line, he saw a dirty brown object in his path, which he was unable to avoid. As he planted his foot on this object, he gained a new momentum, slid sideways, and was sent sprawling to the ground, grazing his knees.
It was the first time in Belfast Marathon history that a competitor had been denied victory through slipping on a dog turd, but probably not the last.
The dog responsible for the turd, was later made to clean up his mess, and given a stern reprimand by race officials.
One of the other two won, whilst O'Cropper finished 44th.