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DHL victory was stolen

This year’s DHL fun-run has become serious stuff for physicist and food economist teams. Last year's showdown was marred by controversy after the food economist team was given a head start

Runners from the Institute of Food Resource Economics may have topped the University of Copenhagen rankings at the DHL-relay last year. But they inadvertently cheated the official timekeepers, and their competitors, by eight minutes.

This emerged when the University Post questioned top teams about their form before the summer recess.

The DHL fun-run is one of the world’s largest fun-runs with over 125,000 participants, and includes many University of Copenhagen teams who have it as the high point on their sporting calendar. See our guide to the fastest teams here.

The honour of being the fastest university team is hotly contested, and is rewarded with a University of Copenhagen mug.

Would have been beaten

Mads Boesen of the university-winning team from the Institute of Food and Resource Economics, FOI 1, is frank and open about how the team got ahead in 2009.

»There was complete chaos at the starting line, and our team leader thought that he had forgotten our numbers. We got new temporary numbers, allowing us to start in an earlier group«.

»But our times were taken based on the old numbers,« he explains, adding that they tried in vain to make the Sparta organisers down-adjust their time after the race.

We are still ‘mighty proud’

The team was sent off eight minutes ahead of their allotted time. As there is only a total time, and not a time for the five individual runners, it is not immediately clear from the result list that something was wrong.

»We all trained a whole year to ‘win’ this race, and we were mighty proud, no matter which way it went in reality,« he says.

Adding eight minutes to their official time of 1 hour 32 minutes 59 seconds gives 1:40:59, solidly behind a team of physicists from the Niels Bohr Institute, ‘The Black Saturns’ who finished in 1:35:21.

To be decided

Kim Splittorff of the Niels Bohr Institute’s Black Saturns team was not aware that they were ousted from the top spot until he received a phone call after the race from Jesper Nielsen of the FOI 1 team, offering them the prize, a University of Copenhagen mug.

»I think they were very fair about it. He called me up and apologised for the mix-up, explaining that they had tried in vain to rectify it. But there is not much we can do about it now. We will have to decide the thing this year!,« he says.

This year the DHL relay is on Monday 30 August. The University of Copenhagen fields a total of 380 teams, highly competitive, each with five participants.

Who are the teams to beat? See the University Post review of university favourites for DHL in 2010.

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