'Ruined the race': Uproar over organiser's embarrassing marathon gaffe

·4-min read
Pictured here, Neil McClements celebrates after winning the 2021 Brighton Marathon.
Neil McClements won the Brighton Marathon after organisers admitted it was longer than it should have been. Pic: Twitter/Brighton Marathon

Organisers of a marathon in England have come under fire after being forced to apologise for making the course too long for competitors.

Runners in the Brighton Marathon were forced to go the extra mile - and then some - after an embarrassing gaffe that some competitors say "ruined the race".

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The event returned to the coastal city in southern England for the first time in 18 months due to a Covid-enforced break.

However, instead of running over the regulation 42.195 kilometres, competitors unwittingly ran 568 extra metres because of a mistake from organisers, who were quick to apologise for the shocking blunder after the race.

“We would like to apologise to our marathon participants that the course today has measured 568m too long.

“We are wholly disappointed that this has affected our runners & hope that it hasn’t marred the experience, at what has been a fantastic comeback event after 18 months.”

Many of the replies to the post made light of the situation, with some suggesting they had just finished their first ultramarathon – a catch-all term for races longer than marathon distance.

Neil McClements won the race after crossing the finish line in 2:33:44, just ahead of second-placed runner Ollie Garrod in 2:34:01.

However, Garrod was leading the race until the final 200m when he was overtaken by the eventual winner, adding even more controversy to the race.

“The runner who led all the way was caught with 200m to go. So basically, he was winning at the traditional marathon finish point,” tweeted one user.

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Event director Tom Naylor explained that "a basic human error" was to blame for the length of the course.

“Despite the marathon route being measured correctly in the lead-up to race start, a basic human error in laying out a cone line meant that the final marathon course overran by 568m on the day,” Naylor said.

“We offer our sincerest apologies for this mistake, which was only spotted once participants were on the course, and when an amendment was not possible.”

Uproar over length of course

Naylor went on to say that the course length would be adjusted to give competitors a more accurate representation of their times.

However, the controversy left participants livid on social media, with some claiming the stuff-up siginficantly impacted how they ran the race.

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