Leader collapses near finish of Commonwealth Games marathon

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GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — One of the most dramatic scenes at the Commonwealth Games came early on the final day.

Callum Hawkins of Scotland was leading the marathon Sunday morning when he became physically distressed and collapsed with about two kilometers remaining (video here). Michael Shelley ran past and defended his title.

Hawkins, who had about a two-minute lead over Shelley, first became disoriented in the humid conditions at about the 38-kilometer mark of the 42.2-kilometer race, briefly holding himself up next to a race barrier to try to regain his balance.

He was able to continue, despite having difficulty running in a straight line, but fell to the road two kilometers later and — after several minutes — received medical attention as Shelley raced past him on the course.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a couple of mates (in the crowd) who said Callum was in a bit of trouble. They told me to keep going and gave me encouragement,” Shelley said. “I just tried to hang on.”

Hawkins was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance for testing and Scotland team officials said “there are no major concerns for his welfare at this stage.”

The team passed along a message from Hawkins while the Closing Ceremony was underway, saying “Thanks for all your messages of support today and to the Gold Coast University Hospital staff. I am now feeling much better.”

Television commentators were critical and there was backlash on social media because of the delay getting medical assistance to Hawkins, particularly after a security official tried to move away spectators who were attempting to help the stricken Hawkins.

Shelley finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 46 seconds.

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