Runner hooked by fisherman misses out on half marathon silver placing

Fishing hook
Not actual hook (Image credit: Getty)

Estonian runner Leonid Latsepov was the one that didn’t get away, when he was accidentally hooked by an angler while running in the Helsinki City Running Day Half Marathon on May 11. And Latsepov believes the unfortunate fishing incident cost him second place.

The runner was comfortably in second place until he was left foundering  at the Lauttasaari Bridge.

The bridge is a popular fishing spot that hadn’t been completely closed off for the race. However, nobody could have predicted what happened to Latsepov next.

A random gust of wind caught the fisherman’s line and blew into Latsepov’s path, entangling his calf and other parts of his body. At the finish line’s first aid station, race medics pulled four fishing hooks off of him, some from his clothes and others from his lower leg.

“I didn’t feel any pain immediately,” Latsepov told the Finnish news outlet YLE. “I tried to remove the hooks but was unable to do so. It ruined my run, though, my whole race time could have been a minute faster.”

Ultimately Latsepov crossed the line third with a time of 1hr 07min 06sec. Julius Muriuki beat Latsepov by 18 seconds, while Solomon Boit won the men’s race in 1hr 04min 25sec.

“Herring fishing is also popular in Estonia, but I never thought this would happen to me,” joked Latsepov. But on a more serious note, he added, “Perhaps fishing should have been banned on the bridge during the race in such strong winds, or a greater distance put between people fishing and runners. Well, that’s something to look back on.”

Lauttasaari brdge in Helsinki

The Lauttasaari brdge in Helsinki (Image credit: Frech)

Race director Harri Hänninen clarified that the race route follows the northern side of the Lauttasaari bridge, while fishermen usually congregate on the south side. He speculated that the guilty fisherman most likely got onto the bridge when no runners were in the area and started fishing on runner’s side.

“Basically, we instructed people who were fishing to leave the side of the bridge where the route runs. However, the other side of the bridge would have been left free for fishing. The northern side should have been free of people fishing. They had been informed by both the traffic control and the police that it was not possible to fish on [that side of] the bridge during the runs.”

There’s always someone who doesn’t get the memo.

Hänninen said that the incident would not result in any route changes in the future but race officials would monitor the bridge to prevent people from fishing there during the race.