Wrong person wins marathon after route mistakenly extended

Portland Marathon route mistake

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Marathon is taking responsibility for a route mistake that caused some racers to run about half a mile too long.

Also, the wrong person was awarded the first [lace trophy.

In an email to KGW (NBC Portland) Tuesday night, event director Les Smith said the mistake came from a missed turn within the first mile of the race.

“The course was correctly marked,” said Smith. “Reports tell us there was no monitor at the corner of Couch, where runners were to turn. Fortunately ‘pacers’ running with a specific time group saw the issue and again started to run the correct route.”

Smith said it was unknown how many runners were affected. If reports on social media are any indication, it could be in the hundreds. 

“Truly, it was a terrible thing that happened,” said Smith. “We are very sorry it occurred.”

Smith said affected runners who wish to correct their times can submit a request form.

Raghav Wusirika and his running team, The Red Lizard Running Club, were the official pacers for the Portland Marathon. Wusirika said it appeared runners in the third coral were the first to go astray. For some, it may have been a devastating mistake.

“A lot of people think about 26.2 miles say, ‘What's that extra 0.3 or 0.4 of a mile?’” Wusirika said. “It's a few minutes and for some people that's the difference between a personal record or the difference between the Boston Marathon qualifying time.”

Team Red Lizard coach Rick Lovett said he knew the pacers couldn't have been to blame for misleading runners, because it’s not their job to lead.

“Part of what you're doing in pacing is keeping people from going out too fast,” said Lovett.

For the sake of those who trained and sacrificed, Lovett said he hopes race organizers can learn from the mistake and make it right next year.

“Do everything in their power to foresee anything that could go wrong and fix the things that do,” said Lovett. “Because in big events, things do go wrong.”

It's unclear whether that would be enough to help anyone who missed out on a Boston Marathon qualifying time because of the route mistake.

At the conclusion of the race, winner Matthew Padilla of Ben never received his trophy, which went to the third-place finisher, Nate Bowen of Los Altos, California, the Oregonian reports.

The second-place finisher Shaun Frandsen, 39, of Kirkland, Washington, crossed the line and was escorted into an area of half-marathon finishers, he told the newspaper.

RELATED: Vancouver Marathon distance too short


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