Yesterday, an error occurred during the marathon when a course marshal instructed runners to make an incorrect right-hand turn off the intended certified course and down a dead-end road. We believe that this error affected about two thirds of the field of runners before the error was detected and corrected. Runners who made the incorrect turn went down Turbats Creek Rd in Kennebunkport just before the Mile 12 marker, turned themselves around at some point, and then turned right back onto the certified course.
We believe that the course marshal at the intersection misunderstood her instructions and accidentally instructed runners to "run to the end of the road and turnaround". We do not know why this happened. In order to insure that we had every intersection covered with a course marshal, we hired a company to provide us with traffic control personnel to supplement our base of volunteer course marshals. I drove the course with this company last week and stopped at each of their assigned positions, showing them where it was and explaining what the course marshal would be doing. I also provided them with an instructions sheet for each course marshal position. Each sheet included a blown-up Google Maps diagram of an intersection, green arrows before and after the intersection, and detailed written instructions.
What happened on our marathon course yesterday at mile 12 was very unfortunate. I take my job as a Race Director very seriously. As a runner in one of our races, you are our customer. I am responsible for keeping you safe and providing you with a fair and accurate course to run on. My goal, and the goal here at GiddyUp Productions is to exceed your expectations on race day. Yesterday, we failed to do that. I know that many of you questioned this erroneous turnaround, and knew that the course was altered from previous years. Due to construction at the University of New England we changed the location of the finish line, and this forced us to change the course. In order to recertify the marathon course with USATF we did add a new turn-around point just before Mile 20. The first turnaround that people ran was unintentional, the second turnaround was by design.
As a runner who has qualified for Boston on 3 out of 5 attempts, I know how much time and effort is spent and how many sacrifices are made during the training time for a marathon. I wish that there was some way that we could truly make up for the fact that some of you will miss qualifying for the 2018 Boston Marathon due to our error.
The question has been raised regarding an alteration or adjustment of finisher times, similar to the Charleston Marathon in 2015. We have reached out to the BAA and are waiting to hear back from them. We could very easily go out on the course and certify the extra distance. The problem is we don't know for sure how far people ran down the dead-end road before they turned around. By their own admission, many runners realized there was a mistake and did not run to the end of the road. This means that there is no set amount of distance that we can add to their race. If you ran to the end of the road and back this added about 0.5 miles to the 26.2 mile course. If there is a favorable ruling from the BAA regarding time adjustments for a Boston Marathon qualification we will let everyone know.
Based on an analysis by our timing company there were 41 runners who probably would qualify for the Boston Marathon even after running the extra distance. They estimated that 31 runners who had an overall pace for 26.7 miles that would have qualified them for the Boston Marathon if the finish line had been 0.5 miles closer. The remaining runners would not have qualified either way.
We also recognize that some of you, upon realizing that you had gone off course, may have been affected mentally for the remainder of the race, and this may have affected your ability to achieve a qualifying time.
If you were one of those runners who believes that the course error affected your ability to qualify for the Boston Marathon then we would like to offer you a refund of your entry fee and also a free entry into the 2018 Maine Coast Marathon. Please complete the following form so that we may facilitate this process.
Let me finish by saying that our volunteers are the best in the world. The paid course marshals did a great job yesterday also. They stood in the wind-driven rain, some of them for several hours, to support you. We stand behind all of our volunteers, staff and vendors.
Yesterday a mistake was made and ultimately, it is my responsibility.