By now, you’ve probably heard the news: The Milwaukee Marathon held Oct. 15 was, well, not a marathon. Officials have announced the course was only 25.4 miles after turnaround cones were placed in the wrong spot.
Officials at the Boston Marathon have confirmed they won’t accept results from Milwaukee for qualifying times. Imagine running faster than you thought you could, nailing that BQ, and then finding out it doesn’t count? Ouch.
But Milwaukee is also entering “shame on me” territory. The race was founded in 2015, so it’s a relative newcomer on the scene. In 2016, the course was a half-mile long.
In an email sent to this year’s participants, officials cited “a misinterpretation of the route certification map that caused the turnaround on the Hank Aaron State Trail to be set in the incorrect spot.” Officials apologized for the error, but no other recompense has been offered.
Sure, we’ve all “PR’d” at the local totally-not-5k charity 5k. When it comes to a marathon, though, runners are typically asked to shell out $75 to $200. The Milwaukee Marathon costs $110 for early registration and $120 for late registration. Many runners shell out even more money for plane tickets and hotels, and they may use valuable vacation days to travel to a marathon. All those weeks of training lead up to one day, and you may not be able to recover and run another BQ within the qualifying window, if that’s your goal.
And mind you, we’re not talking about a marathon that your Garmin clocks as 26.3 (or 30.4 if you’re Chicory running Chicago). While your GPS might give you a heads-up that a route isn’t accurate, it’s definitely not the end-all-be-all of course measurement. But that’s a story for another day.
We want to hear from you! Have you run a marathon that wasn’t accurate? What happened, and how did the race directors handle it? Do you check for course accuracy before choosing a race? Race directors, we want to hear from you, too!