Cornelius Horan is a laicized Irish Roman Catholic priest who invaded the track at the 2003 British Grand Prix, and is also infamous for invading the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, which led to his defrocking from the Catholic Church in 2005.
2003 British Grand Prix incidentEdit
On 20 July 2003, Horan ran across the track at the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, wearing a kilt and waving a religious banner, which stated "Read the Bible. The Bible is always right". His protest took place on the 200 mph Hangar Straight. Several of the drivers had to swerve to avoid him and the safety car had to be deployed to protect him and the competitors. Horan was tackled by race marshal Stephen Green, who removed him from the track before he was arrested. He was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, aggravated trespass and sentenced to two months imprisonment.
Stephen Green, the marshal who handled the invader, was later awarded the BARC Browning Medal for "outstanding bravery in tackling a track invader during the 2003 British Grand Prix at Silverstone", the second to do so after David Purley 21 years previously.
However, after his release from prison, Horan also disrupted the 2004 Olympic men's marathon in Athens. During the marathon he pushed leader Vanderlei de Lima, costing him 20 seconds from his 48-second lead and ultimately causing him to finish in bronze medal position. Horan was given a 12 months' suspended sentence by a Greek court and fined €3,000. Although he could have been sentenced to up to five years' imprisonment, the judge gave him a suspended sentence on account of his mental state. Horan also apologized. At the closing of the games, Vanderlei de Lima was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for the spirit of sportsmanship.
Removal of priesthoodEdit
In January 2005, Kevin McDonald, the Archbishop of Southwark (South London), defrocked Horan. Horan later made the following statement to the press: "I completely reject this decision. I appeal to the much higher court of heaven and the court of Jesus Christ ... I now cannot preach, I cannot give out communion - I am little more than a pagan."
On 13 April 2007 Horan was served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order that banned him from entering, on the day of the race, any of the London boroughs that the course of the London Marathon passed through.