Director apologises over ‘too long’ Half Marathon

Entrants, like those pictured, complained that the course was 'too long', forcing organisers to re-check their measurements. Picture: TSPL
Entrants, like those pictured, complained that the course was 'too long', forcing organisers to re-check their measurements. Picture: TSPL
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ORGANISERS OF the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon, which attracted more than 2,500 runners, have apologised after admitting the race was too long.

Following complaints from entrants who took part in September’s race, many of whom wear specialist GPS watches which calculate their pace and distance, the course was re-measured earlier this month.

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It was found to have exceeded the standard 13.1 mile half marathon distance by 320 yards- about 0.18 of a mile.

The East Lothian based race started at Meadowmill, then to Longniddry and Cockenzie, finishing at Musselburgh Racecourse.

Before the race, the course was measured by an AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) accredited course measurer.

AIMS works with the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) to ensure the quality of road races world wide.

In the wake of the complaints, race director Neil Kilgour had the course remeasured by a second-AIMS-accredited course measurer, who found that the 2014 event had been set up in line with the original pre-race measurements - but errors in calculations meant the route had been erroneously extended by 292.8 metres.

In an email to competitors, who paid about £30 each to take part, Mr Kilgour said: “Both AIMS and myself apologise for the inaccuracy in the initial report, which was undertaken by an AIMS-accredited course measurer.

“This has fallen well below the standard normally set by AIMS and the standard we look to attain for the event.

“I would like to thank you for your patience while I have been working hard to resolve the issue and would like to assure all runners that I will continue to work alongside AIMS and the IAAF to ensure that runners receive the highest standards when taking part in the Scottish Half Marathon.”

The “turnaround point” between mile five and mile six - west of Gosford House - has been adjusted for next years race, and “moved back” 146.4 metres.

One runner said: “An extra 320 yards might not sound like much, but after 13 miles it makes a big difference.

“I missed out on my target of a sub-two-hour run and many seasoned runners were deprived of personal bests because of it.

“The organisers were maybe a bit slow to get the route checked again. But, to their credit, they did so in the end and deserve praise for that and admitting the error. It’s good to know I’m not as slow as my official time suggests!”

The 2015 race is to take place on September 19.

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