On Sunday, Dec 2, over 200 runners went off-course at the Raleigh Marathon. Here is the explanation posted by the Race Director:


STATEMENT FROM THE RACE DIRECTOR



Runners,



The purpose of this message is not to place blame on any individual, nor is 

it to make excuses.  It is simply to let you know what happened and what steps 

were taken by the race officials to prevent something like this from happening in 

the first place.  The actions which led to the confusion on Sunday were well 

intended, but misinformed, actions which we plan to eliminate in the future. 



Every race director knows that we are at the mercy of things happening in a 

race which are beyond our control.  We plan, along with our staff, to identify 

and eliminate these in the weeks and months preceding the event.  Because of 

the new course this year being in the Downtown area for the first 8 miles, we 

barricaded each turn, and barricaded and taped off each side street which did not 

have a police officer.



The lead procession in front of the runners included:

   1. Joe Lugiano - Course Director - lead truck - 

      positioned 1/4 to 1/2 mile in front of runners.

   2. Major Dennis Ford and myself - police vehicle - 

      positioned within 1/4 mile of the lead runners.

   3. Two motorcycle officers - 

      one with the wheelchair participant - 

      one immediately behind the wheelchair

   4. Lead police vehicle - 

      within 50 yards of the lead runner.





Each officer had written instructions as to the correct route.



We passed each intersection at about 10 mph, so eye contact and 

acknowledgement was generally made with each officer.



Joe Lugiano and Maj. Ford drove their vehicles past Morgan Street and continued 

north on Wilmington Street.  Because of the upcoming downhill section, we wanted 

to get to Peace Street and watch for the wheelchair participant. As we passed 

Morgan Street, we were within 100 yards of the motorcycle officers.



A person with no race authority told the police officer at the intersection that

the runners were to turn right on Morgan, even though the first two official 

vehicles had continued straight. Without consulting Maj. Ford, who was the 

supervising officer, the motorcycle turned and took the first group of runners 

with him. Included with this was the vehicle immediately in front of the 

runners. The officer driving had written directions and an officer riding with 

him who was reading the directions. They did not question the incorrect turn to 

Maj. Ford either.



The two lead vehicles, Lugiano's and Maj. Ford's, discovered the problem 

when an officer reported seeing runners on Person Street, just past the 4 mile 

mark.  Maj. Ford immediately radioed the officer at Morgan Street to correct the 

mistake and Lugiano drove quickly to the problem area to make corrections, 

too.



We estimate that about 1 mile was cut off of the course.



Now, what is being done to correct the situation?



We had a timed 10K Split, so we can identify every runner who ran short 

because of the gap in the two groups.



I have contacted our course certifier, who is the same person who certified 

the Olympic Trials Course in 2000. He is coming back to measure the part missed 

and the part the runners ran on Morgan Street.



Using ChampionChips allows us to have each runner's minutes-per-mile pace.

What we will do is take the runners who ran short and add their average pace to 

the end and come up with their "official" time.



I have been in contact with the Boston Marathon officials and they will 

look at information we supply them and make a decision then. They do not see 

any problems with how we will be doing this timing correction. In fact, their 

quote was, "We do not want the runners to be punished for what happened and we 

are not out to punish them."



I should have this done by the weekend and will be posting updates as they occur.



We sincerely apologize to the runners who ran the wrong course.  Our 

committee, the Raleigh Police Department and all of the volunteers and sponsors 

feel badly about the mistake.



Butch Robertson

Race Director
Cougar 5K
Sunday, March 25, 2001 9 a.m.
Oakton HS, Vienna, VA
Reston 10 Miler
Sunday, March 25, 2001 8 a.m.
South Lakes HS, Reston, VA
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