A MARSHALLING error meant runners in a half-marathon were made to run more than half a mile further than the scheduled distance.
Competitors at the Village Bakery-sponsored Wrexham Half-Marathon on Sunday were directed the wrong way by a marshal during the first mile of the race.
Bob Frost, secretary and treasurer of Wrexham Athletics Club, said the course had been altered prior to the race due to flooding in Holt, causing confusion as to which way the runners were supposed to go.
And after the lead runners had set off safely in the correct direction, led by the race car, a marshal directed runners further back on a loop that added 0.6 miles to the 13.1-mile course.
Mr Frost said: “We are not sure how it could have happened really.
“We are getting a few grumbles since, but on the day the runners were coming up to us and saying ‘oh, it’s only half a mile more’.
“We apologised at the prize-giving and everyone seemed to accept that.
“We try so hard to get things right, so it was a bit frustrating.”
The gaffe comes two years after some racers at the event ran two miles less than they should have after signs were switched
About 40 runners were sent the wrong way after the signs were deliberately tampered with twice before the 2012 race.
Most runners accepted this year’s mistake with a smile.
Jamie Loxam, of the Stockport Harriers Club, wrote to event organisers to express his thanks for the event.
“I ran in the race today and although I was one of many people that went wrong, I am extremely grateful for you and all the other marshals for giving up your free time to organise such an event.
“It is all to easy to be critical and I like many, have the easy part of turning up and just running.
“At the finish and during the warm down people were smiling and I am sure in future years it will continue to be a popular road race.
“If anyone did express their disappointment to you or your team then I recommend that they attempt to organise a race to see how difficult it is.”
Mr Frost added they were not sure how much money had been raised from the event yet, but said it would be donated to the Wrexham Special Olympics athletics club.
The club has around 20 members, aged between 12 and 70, with a range of learning disabilities, who train every week throughout the year and compete at least three times a season in Regional Championships.
Tom Charles, from Trafford Athletics Club in Manchester, triumphed in the race’s male category for the second year in a row, completing the course in 69 mins
47 secs – 30 seconds ahead of Andrew Davies, of the Maldwyn Harriers club.
And Tarus Elly, of Salford Harriers, rounded out the top three, finishing with a time of 72 mins 26 secs.
The women’s race was won by Anna Lupton in a time of 83 mins 21 secs.
Wrexham Athletics Club’s Emma Crowe finished second in 84 mins 28 secs, with Louise Blizzard from Belgrave Harriers in third place, clocking 87 mins 05 secs.
A total 424 runners completed the course – down from last year’s 455 finishers – from a field of 550.