Marathon Course Goof Leads to Debate About Real Winner

Brighton Marathon organizers apologize after cone line was placed incorrectly
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2021 1:32 PM CDT
Marathon Mistake Causes Controversy Over Win, Times
File image of people running a marathon.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

A marathon runner who runs an extra half-kilometer might be proud. Then again, a runner winning at the 26.2-mile mark, where the finish line should be, might be more than a little annoyed if that extra distance gives another runner a chance to pass and win. Sunday’s Brighton Marathon in England was just a little too long thanks to human error, and now there’s a controversy brewing over the real winner, Newsweek reports. Ollie Garrod was all set to win when, in the last 200 meters Neil McClements surged past him. Those last 200 meters were a few hundred past where the finish line should have been, though. McClements was named the official winner with a time of 2:33:44. Garrod was officially second at 2:34:01. Verity Hopkins won the women’s race without controversy.

In a Facebook post, organizers apologized for the course being 568 meters (roughly a half-kilometer, or 1,863 feet) too long, saying, “We are wholly disappointed that this has affected our runners.” The course had been measured correctly initially, but a “basic human error in laying out a cone line” changed the distance, event director Tom Naylor said in a statement, per CNN. Mileage mistakes aren’t incredibly uncommon: in 2017, the Milwaukee Marathon was nearly a mile too short, and the Manchester Marathon was 380 meters too short for three years running. Confusion over times aside, the charity event raised about $4.8 million, ITV reports. (More marathon stories.)

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