However, after the men took the wrong turn, Gebrehiwet was even with just one other runner, Mohammed Mussa.
Eyob Faniel, a talented 24-year-old runner but not a marathon elite, was about a minute behind the leaders when a motorcycle led them the wrong way 16 miles into the 26.2-mile race.
The group followed the bike for several hundred metres before the mistake was spotted and they were sent back towards the course, losing up to two minutes in the process.
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The favourites to win a marathon in Venice finished behind a local runner - after they were led along the wrong route by a motorcycle guide.
Faniel completed the race in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 16 seconds, a full two minutes ahead of any competition.
It's fair to say things were not supposed to go this way at the Venice Marathon.
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The 25-year-old runner found himself immediately leading the race after the bad error by lead runners Abdulahl Dawud, Gilbert Kipleting Chumba, Kipkemei Mutai and David Kiprono Metto.
A runner has won the Venice Marathon after a freakish incident in which the leading six runners took a wrong turn.
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