Last-minute scrambling led to the mistake, which many runners complained about after the race.
Organizers of last weekend’s Colfax Half-Marathon have conceded what many runners already knew: the course was too short.
Race director Creigh Kelley said Tuesday that the 13.1-mile route in Denver was actually 13 miles, 176 yards short of the proper distance.
The blame, it seems, goes to the company that was supposed to set up the barriers along the course. Highway Technologies, a Houston-based firm, unexpectedly shut down all of its 33 locations last Friday, two days before the race. That left Kelley scrambling for a backup plan.
With the help of volunteers, law enforcement and four new barricade companies, barriers were set up along the course in time for Sunday’s event.
But somewhere along the line there was a mixup and the course was shortened.
Runners complained on Sunday about the course length, but Kelley turned defensive and said there were no problems with the setup.
“This is a non-issue and is clearly meant to harm an otherwise important civic and community event,” he told the Denver Post. “If [the questioning runners] had been courteous enough to inquire about this while on site, it would have been a conversation with immediate review on the ground of course settings to satisfy [their] curiosity.
On Tuesday, Kelley changed his tune and acknowledged there was a mistake.
“Due to the last-minute closure of Highway Technologies barricade company, the Colfax Marathon placed the safety of 39 miles of course on city roadways as a first priority, resulting in a 176-yard inconsistency in the half-marathon course in City Park,” Kelley said. “Race staff apologize for the oversight, and commend the four new barricade companies, three municipalities, law enforcement and volunteers on ensuring that the race took place safely.”
As for all those “13.1” stickers and magnets that were purchased at the pre-race expo, perhaps runners should change them to “13.0.”