Directing a running event, even on a local level, is a daunting task. And let's be honest: we runners are often a demanding group. Directing a major race, especially a marathon, can be fraught with peril. For the race(s), to succeed, many parts of a well-oiled machine must mesh. Then all one can do is trust the folks, most of whom are volunteers, to do their assigned jobs.
On Saturday, the 5th annual Charleston Marathon suffered a major glitch.The lead vehicle, which led both the marathon and the half marathon, took a wrong turn between mile one and two. The result was an additional .3 of a mile or so added to the race. For the half marathon, my watch read '13.43' at the finish line.
Many runners were disappointed, others were baffled; while some were downright irate.
Yesterday, the Charleston Marathon sent the following email to all marathon and half marathon participants.
FULL /HALF COURSE DISTANCE UPDATE:
As most of you who ran on Saturday realized, the lead vehicle led the marathon and half marathon down the wrong street between mile one and two, causing the races to be slightly long. We sincerely apologize for this and we are working on a plan to adjust all times for the total distance you ran to the true marathon and half marathon distances. This will require an official measurement of the added distance which we will take this week and will adjust times immediately. Another e-mail with these adjusted times will go out as soon as this is completed. Corrected times will be sent to the BAA for Boston Marathon qualification purposes
Hats off to the Charleston Marathon for this truly classy move. Look, We're all human and we all make mistakes. The Charleston Marathon and it's staff owned up to the error and will take the proper steps to correct it.
I applaud the courage of the Charleston staff, and I, for one, will return to this great race in a beautiful city.