Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Runners sent the wrong way in the 2016 Cork City Half-Marathon

Monday, June 06, 2016

Runners sent the wrong way in the 2016 Cork City Half-Marathon

While the full results of the Cork City Marathon will be out later, the most controversial issue of the whole event was the 2000+ runners being sent the wrong way at the start of the Cork City Half-Marathon.

The map below shows what happened. The top image shows the route as it should be. After about 200m, the runners get to a roundabout where they need to take a sharp left onto Marina Terrace...then right and right again onto Albert Road. The marathon and relay route is shown is RED. The half runners shouldn't be on that section until they are about 3.5 miles in.


The bottom image shows what actually happened. From what I've been told, the lead bike missed the first turn and went down Albert Road. After that, they turned left at Hibernian Buildings and then for whatever reason, decided to go off on a tour of Cork City. Once they got to Marina Terrace, they took the field of 2000+ half marathon runners out onto the marathon course. I'm sure those doing the marathon and relay must have loved that. Then once they got to Albert Quay, the penny must have dropped as they did a U-turn and headed back the way they came...shown in GREEN.

In the end, the half-marathon runners ended up doing an extra half mile or so.

There is no excuse for this. The stewards at the roundabout should have been there blocking off Albert Road so that the bike had to go down Marina Terrace. The lead bike should have known the route by heart. This is all basic stuff that most club races deal with week in week out.

This wasn't a cheap event to enter. People trained to run in a proper half marathon accurately measured and with chip timing. What they got was a 13.6 mile fun run. Not good enough.

Update : This is the junction at the roundabout where it all went wrong.


There should have been race stewards blocking the way ahead and directing the lead bikes and runners down the road to the left. Instead, the lead bikes with all the runners went straight ahead.

Someone also asked about how much the organisers got paid for this race? There were 2079 finishers in the half. Probably 10% didn't turn up on the day so that makes about 2500 people who probably entered. At about €50 per head, that means they probably took in €125,000 just for this one race...and that's a conservative estimate.

Update...Statement from the Cork City Marathon organisers...Tues 7th June 2016

Start of the half-marathon. Photo: Chris O'Leary
 
Lead bikes just as the half marathon starts


Start of the Half...

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was by the Elysian. It was carnage. Full being swallowed up by the half and then some of the full going the wrong way with the half runners before trying to fight their way through the crowds to get back on the right course. Then some half runners followed the full course so they would have ended up doing way shorter. Even saw others running back from the south ring which meant they did even longer. Absolutely crazy and I'm sure it would put alot of people off. The half start is awkward enough as it is.

Anonymous said...

Another Cork half and another shambles. How hard can it be!!!

Anonymous said...

When the main field went the wrong way there was no choice at Hibernian buildings but to go right and do some sight seeing. Had we turned left there we'd have been on top of the rest of the half marathoners trying to cross their path at the roundabout.
That must have happened the lead runners as when we came back past Hibernian buildings (4:45/k)there were plenty runners streaming out and going on the detour up to the quay. Crazy situation but had the extra detour not happened it would have been a lot worse.
I wonder did someone cop the mistake early and take the detour to avoid more potential mayhem at the roundabout or was it a bit of luck??

Anonymous said...

I crossed just before the 1:50 pacer and did 1:53! We could have done without the extra half mile in that humidity today!

Glanmire Mick said...

Bit of a disaster alright, reckon I would have scrapped under the 1:40. At least we didn't all head down south link as instructed. New PB for 13.6!

Anonymous said...

A total mess with mass confusion and and chance of running a goal time gone within 2 minutes. Dangerous too running against the full marathon and having to cross over the stream of half marathoners to get back on course. There really is no excuse. Why wasn't there stewards and signage at every turn at the start? Your dead right, this is pretty basic stuff.

Mark Flavin

Anonymous said...

Just using a stopwatch , thought I did a really slow first 2 miles so put the boot down. I suffered in the middle of the race because of it. Plus was congested and dangerous taking the wrong route. A bit of a joke really, hopefully people enjoyed it. Still not good enough.

Anonymous said...

This was a terrible thing to happen , it is a big error after many many smallish errors
I've done this marathon a couple of times aswell as others and had to stop 4 years ago. There was plenty of reasons but the last straw was when I reached the water stop at mile 21 or 22 they were out ........
I was a spectator today and there seemed to be traffic everywhere seen a few instances where runners were nearly knocked down
I've been a participant in some big city marathons and they just shut the roads down ,
Especially on the quays and north mall , runners running right next to traffic ,
God knows the marathon brings enough money into the city

Anthony Flannery said...

Omni-shambles.

After this I got again misdirected. Only realising after a mile. No point turning back so I continued on the marathon route, completing 10 miles. Sorry bit this is not good enough. 53 euro?

Pat said...

As a competitive half marathon runner the event today was ruined after the first half mile. Those organising need to know that people put serious effort and planning to get it right on the day and the most basic we expect is we are directed through an accurate course . Once it goes wrong that early on the motivation is gone. Since they moved to the new HM starting point it's already a challenging first mile with tight corners and back through the start . Unless they switch to a Sunday and change the HM course I will never run the half again . Pity as a cork man one wants to perform in your own back yard. Ran Linerick half a few weeks back perfect organisation . Very disappointed

Michael said...

Pretty basic mistake but not out of character for the cork half. It's never been a perfect event but this was a big boo boo. Pacers had a tough job too trying to make up time for the 13.6 mile run, I died trying to keep up! Move the start further down Victoria Road and eliminate the Albert road loop. No sports caps on bottles was a pain today too. With the heat, it was impossible to run with the bottle without spilling it. Why remove the caps? Is there any runner input on the organising committee?

Cathal Daly said...

This was awful. I knew after 1 mile the game was up (i normally run between 1.34 and 1.35 in the half). Apart from running a course that was too long it could have had serious health and safety issues - what if a car had come in contact with runners on the second loop or pedestrians? I found myself having to push the pace just to keep up with the mile markers on the course which 0.3 of a mile out each time, as a result I was beaten by 8.5 miles. Called it a day and jogged back to the car. Won't be back lads.

Pat said...

Not to be totally negative the support on route was fantastic at various points so thanks to all. Acknowledge there was no intent for the chaos around the half start happen , but those organising have to respect the commitment people make for the weeks prior to the event . In any event no one died no serious injuries as I Understand and we live to fight another day. In conclusion Cork get your act together to make this the great event it should be

Anonymous said...

The 1.50 pacer (mé féin) announced at several occasions to his group that he was bringing them in for a 1.53 chip time at the 1.49.30 (8.21 min mile) pace for the 13.1 and holding this pace for the 'additional' .35 of a mile.

pushing people to make up .35 of a mile in speed over the remainding 12 miles would have fragmented most pacing groups and I believe most pacers avoided that option.

hopefully the organisers will look at moving the start to somewhere more appropriate as let's be honest the streets are too narrow around Kennedy park for a mass start off anyway. A clock on the finish line with the half time would be suitable too.


Anonymous said...

A farce. There is a Monty Pyton scetch of 100 yard dash and it really was like what happened in the half today. 53 euro and 1 mile in and your PB goose has been well and truly cooked. I also did Cork the year of the delayed start and bus fiasco Please learn
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bYvbaqfq9mI

Anonymous said...

Was with the 1'50 pacer almost all the way and have to say they did a fantastic job keeping everything going after the problem at the start! Great support and encouragement and kept everyone upbeat in aiming for their sub 1'50 time

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

awful shite from the cork city marathon - really useless right from the t shirt for the half , to the goody bag to the bad start. 50 quid?

Anonymous said...

I have seen this over and over again, they charge people way too much to take part in these races, and then greed takes over, and sloppiness.

Anonymous said...

This error was so disheartening and demotivating. I was confused at the time but thought I had the course wrong, as I approached the one mile marker and had 1.36 on my garmin I knew it was all off. The event claims to be 'the marathon for everyone' but trying to run 5 ambitious events simultaneously in a city centre does not seem to be working. The relay, half, youth challenege and inter-services championships can't all stay. It's messy. The resources don't seem to be there to police them.

I also didn't appreciate running around with the word 'half' pinned to my back all morning. If it is neccesary to differentiate the runners from each other from behind as well as in front then please go with '13.1' next year, it's less...demoralising? The support from the crowds was great, especially around the lough and turner's cross, but the whole outing was a bit of a bummer in the end.

John Leahy said...

and what about the numerous ½ marathoners who collapsed in sight of the finish line .. try telling them the extra ½ mile didn't matter!

Unknown said...

They should do what Dublin do and just do the full marathon only on the day and do the half another day! At least then there would be no confusion! I was supporting and felt so sorry for all running with the humidity so to have to run further than planned, there really is no excuse for it! How could the lead bike not know where he was going! Crazy stuff!

John Leahy said...

After I took out all the advertising and clothes whitening and the too tight tee shirt I was left with .. a plastic bag. €50 for a joke 27/52 marathon.

Anonymous said...

something to tell your grandchildren later ;)

Don't get me wrong, I personally think, charging that much and calling yourself a "City Marathon" you have to get it right...but it will make a damn good story to tell!

Mise said...

My first half marathon chip time at 1:49..sod that, I'm sticking to my 13.1 Garmin time of 1:45😊

FearDamhan said...

Two collapsed as I was crossing the line. So completely agree

Anonymous said...

I know it was terrible for all involved, including the organisers. They spent months preparing for the day. Hopefully lessons learnt.

Agree with the comments regarding just having the marathon on the day. I guess trying to cater for everyone is stretching resources.

I still enjoyed the run. I knew after one mile with the heat and all no PB today so just enjoyed the run. Great support on the course..

Not the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

"Something to tell your grandchildren later," is that a joke from the organisers?

Anonymous said...

Its the half and relay that brings in the cash, so doubt they will drop them. There was no issue with the same half route last year bar being a bit tight further down the field I heard at the start

anonymous said...

Don't think running only the marathon on the day is viable as less than 1400 runners doing it unlike dublin which gets roughly ten times that number. Without the relay and half marathon races there would never be a cork city marathon.

I was disappointed that the course was incorrect and really didn't need to run a extra half mile in this heat. However I knew for the last few days with the weather forecast that a pb was not on the cards anyway unless the course was has a mile short 😂

anonymous said...

Annoying that the half was inaccurate, however I think it would be a lot more serious and disappointing if it was the full marathon that was incorrect as people train for many months to run a marathon and generally only do one or at most two a year. With a half marathon most runners will be able to run another one in 3 or 4 weeks time so it's not the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

Every one on have very good points but there was a chance that the half might have been abandoned which would have been more disappointing .the spectators we're amazing

Unknown said...

The goody bag more than made up for the start. Although I had the Korma Curry Sauce at mile 5. Was downhill from there...

anonymous said...

Think the marathon organisers should offer a reduced price to the 2017 marathon or half marathon to any runner who did this year's half marathon as a gesture of goodwill.

michael forde said...

And they got the age categories wrong I'm down as 21 year old senior and I should be O35

Anonymous said...

Don't you mean 13.6? ;)

Anonymous said...

Ran the Half(ish) Marathon today and have to agree with most of the comments today about how this level of organisation can't be accepted. When you do the maths - over 2000 runners x €52 it comes to a serious amount of money. How about the organisers offering some sort of partial refund or even a discount for next years event??

Anonymous said...

A little harsh to blame the lead bike I think, John. It took a combination of errors for this to happen. Given the size of the field for the HM and the daft convoluted route for the first mile, the plentiful available barriers should have been used to leave no margin for error until the runners were safely headed for the marina. The lead bike's main job is surely to let spectators and stewards know that the leader is coming (rather than to show runners the way)?
It's the job of the stewards (using physical barriers if necessary) to man the course and direct the runners. I ran as a pacer today and regret to say that I was embarrassed finding myself apologising on behalf of the city to runners from Holland, Germany and to Irish runners who had travelled 2 hrs or more to compete. A lot of hard work done by a lot of enthusiastic volunteers but this was not good enough. A general sense of lack of leadership and direction.

Anonymous said...

People train hard and come to our city to run this great event,absolutely no excuse, also for those of us who ran the full, the relay changeover gave us little room to run,on a positive nite,well done to the people of ballyphehane and the lough,great support, fair play to the guy with water hose,we all needed it!

John Desmond said...

I don't think it is harsh. The lead bikes should know the course beforehand but the main fault lies with whoever was organising the race stewards. The head steward should have enough people in place and fully briefed about what they should do. There is no way that the lead bikes should have been allowed to go straight through that roundabout.

Anonymous said...

Who stewards the course is it athletics ireland?

Anonymous said...

Less public servants (council staff) and more running club involvement in the organisation or AAI should pull the permits.
No point in letting people who have no knowledge, experience or interest in running to organise this event. Sure their reputation may be mildly tarnished, there will be some meeting in some board room in county hall tomorrow and all will be well after. They all still get paid..... AAI need to intervene here and show authority,

Anonymous said...

First Cork City Half Marathon completed today (+ the little bit extra) but anyway look I must say I WILL be back to run this event again. I was slightly disappointed with my time but I got consolation later when I realised we'd run that extra bit. Aside from that I found the Goodie bag v.good-plenty decent discounts for the Edge Sports. Love the t-shirt, perfect fit as well.

I thought that there were a great number of water stations along the route. The Lucozade at the Carrigrohane Straight was greatly appreciated too.

Well done to the supporters, they were all so encouraging. I'll never forget that feeling of running down Patrick Street to the finish line today! :-)

To the organisers, well done, but clarification of the course route will be needed for next year.

Anonymous said...

Stewards are all Volunteers. Of the 5 I spoke to today all are or were athletes or involved in athletics in some shape or form. The 3 at the sextant, 2 of which weren't supposed to even be there were controlling both the full coming through the traffic at points and the 1/2 and relay athletes crossing the road. I had come in from and early position once the field went through there in Blackpool just to view the 1/2 and full together. There seemed today to be a serious lack in quantity of stewards and people who knew what was actually going on. No signs at the sextant to direct athletes to the 1/2 start line or the relay D changeover. All in all I had a better impression of the event last year as a participant. My briefing before the event at 8am was to go to a point in Blackpool and that was it. Here's your goodie bag and a packed lunch. No word on incident reporting, just got given a card with numbers to call if something happened. Guards didn't have a clue nor did the purple bibbed security guys.

Anonymous said...

Total disgrace and let down. The half marathon is an after thought,and today proved that. How in gods name did the lead bike not know the course?? Organisers are too greedy. Travelled 5 hours to this shit show. Will not be back.

Anonymous said...

Have to laugh at the comments about less public servants and more runners. There wouldn't be an event without cork city council. There wasn't one until they started it. They invest a lot of money into it. Some completely inaccurate stuff being written here. City Council spend a lot of money on this event and staff give up their entire weekend for free to volunteer.

Anonymous said...

Cork City council You absolute joke shops ! where are you on here apologising .Anyone from the CCC was on full wages yesterday as 'professionals' including the two CCC motorbikes that went the wrong way at the start. I demand a refund for my half with you nonsense top and 'goodie bag'. I'm so embarrassed from my city. A gang of boy scouts could have done better. For shame,so glad my hard earned tax dollars go to paying your wages,ye couldn't run a bath !

Anonymous said...

Organise a few races and have seen this happen before. Awful for organisers, and completely unacceptable for runners especially at the cost of race and a weekend trip for many
A few things we have learned
Lead car or bikes have to do the route in advance with race director or committee route manager
Signs and barriers in place at turns so as routes are clear and there is only one way to go. people will go wrong.
People are not with it when racing they are zoned out or in ! you have to make it simple.
Many stewards get caught up in the event , you need to reiterate what they need to do several times, and if they are on a key turn that should be their only job .

Anonymous said...

and they still cant get it right (by the way they are hardly doing it for free - getting double or treble time)....CCC messed up

Anonymous said...

im a public servant volunteered for 2 days over the weekend. I want some of this magical triple time ye are on about! Where do I apply for that.
get real lads we don't get a single thing only a crew tee shirt and a goody bag and that's the truth. Yes bad mistake for the start of the half. but not ccc staff volunteers fault .

Anonymous said...

Absolute disgrace. This race is not cheap to enter me and my wife paid €50 each. Its €20 to do the full marathon in Riga. To be sent the wrong way at the FIRST CORNER Is a joke. Terrible organisation.

Anonymous said...

Lads and ladies, rather unfair to scathe all the volunteers. I was sent the wrong way even though my fat ass was way down the back. The race map was put up months ago. Take responsibility for not knowing your route if you're that concerned about it or are bursting for bling. I am posting this anonymously as ppl will get thick and its not worth the agro.

John Kissane said...

A few strategically placed 'Half Marathon Route' signs would be an easy fix for this I'd imagine.

Anonymous said...

What an absolute shambles. I have never ran my local Marathon as I cannot support a profit making organization who have no interest in the ordinary runner. A full refund should be the bare minimum. There was a half in Kilkenny for €23 the same weekend ran by a club with proper "cop on". Don't support it in future

John Desmond said...

It really isn't up to runners to know the route. Many won't be from Cork and will have no idea of where they are. That's why race stewards are supposed to be there at junctions.

Anonymous said...

It has to be down to unclear instructions given to the lead bikes - for example "take the first left off the roundabout, turn down the alley and then turn right". The biker takes the first left as if he was driving - Albert Road, because there is no left turn for vehicles onto Marina Terrace and ends up on the marathon course.

Anonymous said...

As one of the people effected by this cock up,I probably should be baying for blood like a lot of ye, but I do think a bit of balance is required here. This was only my second half marathon, so I could definitely have done without the extra half mile. That being said, a fair bit of inaccurate reporting here on the volunteering situation. Firstly, as an employee of CCC, I got the emails looking for volunteers. I didn't volunteer due to other commitments, but a few points need to be clarified. 1.The volunteering that City Council staff were responsible for primarily was with the registration at the weekend and with the baggage collection in the hall on Monday. 2. Of the volunteers that I recognised on picking up my own bag, many were involved in the City Council running club and of those, some were experienced marathon runners, so inaccurate to say they had no interest in or awareness of running events. 3 Regardless of running knowledge, they were not involved in the stewarding. 4. They were NOT paid. 5. As others have said, I recognised many of the people involved in stewarding and at the water stations as members of either the BHAA or various running clubs, so there was plenty running club involvement. 6. The cock up was at the macro level and individual stewards can't really be blamed, however someone should have been there to make sure that people weren't steered off course and this should have been sorted well before the race.

It is not unreasonable, as others have said, to expect the course to be correct. I did the half marathon in Limerick 5 weeks earlier and as has been mentioned not a foot was put wrong. It is perfectly understandable that people are annoyed by this cock up and it was a cock up, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Lots of volunteers yesterday and over the weekend who did their best and acted in good faith. The logistical issue that caused this cock up was unfortunate and let's hope it isn't repeated again, but wouldn't it be a lot worse to have no Marathon/ Half Marathon at all. Hopefully the powers that be will act to ensure this doesn't happen again as it is not acceptable. However, while I understand the frustration, the element of tarring all with the one brush that I have seen by some here is a little over the top in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

You can't blame the runners for not knowing the route. I thought I knew the route, (I'd even run it a couple of times in training) but when we went wrong, I assumed that I was mistaken and put my trust in the organisers. What were we supposed to do? Run the right way into hundreds of people running the wrong way? I was near enough to the front and it was total confusion. I was also going for a time so i was focussed on my pace and the crowds around me. You trust the organisers to do things properly and then go with the flow. That's how it works. That's what you pay your entry fee for. It's not orienteering or trail running, it's a road race on a certified course. I also see people giving out about corporate events and money grabbing. It's true, the best organised races are club races - the Dungarvan 10 is a prime example. If you want to see a money making machine in action go to he Rock n Roll half in Dublin. The only thing is the Rock n Roll crowd want is your money, they want you to come back so they make sure things are organised properly. I know this won't be a popular opinion, but I rather do the Rock n Roll than ever do the Cork Half again. Way more bang for your buck, even with all it's corporate trappings. And while some will find that distasteful, its the truth. And for a well organised local half without all the razzmatazz, you can't go wrong with the Charleville Half. There is loads of choice out there these days, and if the organisers of Cork aren't careful they'll find themselves with an ever dwindling number of participants and the race will become unfeasible.

Anonymous said...

I agree not up to the runners to know the course. This was a stewarding issue. No excuse. On one separate point though I read somewhere the ccc foot the bill for the Marathon rather than make a profit from it.

Anonymous said...

just read statement from director of cork marathon, looks like it wasn't their fault at all and we all need to blame a wheelchair participant who went the wrong way, what a carry on, when the mistake was made the least the organisers could do is take ownership of it - very weak statement

Anonymous said...

€9.99 for a finish line video too - that was free last year!!

Anonymous said...

To the CCC employee above - your right of course, and I don't think many do realise that this is a volunteer based event. There seems to be a history of cock ups with the half though. What I'm afraid of is that said cock ups will lead to lower registrations for future events and that will lead to there being no Marathon or Half in the City. Cork has a fantastic running scene with many well organised races by both running clubs and the BHAA, not to mention Ballycotton running. Marathon day should be the jewel in the crown attracting people from far and wide to the City, but mistakes like that at the start of the half tend to overshadow all the other good work done and tarnishes the reputation of the Cork running scene imo. The fault lies squarely at the feet of "the powers that be" and all credit is due to those who gave up there free time to ensure the races took place. There is no excuse for the mistake that was made though.

andrea bertuzzi said...

When I finished the half marathon my watch indicated 22.38 km... So I am not understanding the reason of that, because the half marathon should be 21.09

John Desmond said...

Andrea >> Because of the mistake, the course was about 1km too long.

fergie said...

Mistakes happen.Unfortuate Still a cracking day for it!

Anonymous said...

I really feel sorry for those on the half yesterday but I did the full yesterday and I have to say I really enjoyed it, the crowds were amazing throughout. Thanks to those volunteers who helped make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the start should be brought back to Mahon. I know there was an issue with the buses - but maybe that is fixable.

weerunaz1 said...

Hi all

Hope every one is recovering ok.

I was one of the two voluntary 2 hour pacers.

Just time wise if anyone wants to cross check we ran an average 9:05 minute mile and had we run 13.11 miles(correct half marathon distance) we would have got in in 1:59:04.
Instead we ran (according to my watch) 13.65 miles and got in in 2:03:56.

Apart from the obvious I personally had a great day shouting encouragement at other runners as we went. Big thanks to all the other volunteers who's numbers are vast and to the people of Cork for coming out to cheers us on.

Onwards and upwards

see ya'll on the road

Happy running

Ed Fitz

Anonymous said...

Looks like some people are taking this far too seriously - mistakes happen - enjoy your health, enjoy your running and move on! Or volunteer to help out and steward next year.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like some people are taking this far too seriously - mistakes happen - enjoy your health, enjoy your running and move on! Or volunteer to help out and steward next year."
People do take it seriously though - they train for months and pay their money and expect to run a properly organised race. We were't just out there for a fun run. This sort of attitude is why mistakes happen in the first place, and this is not the first time there has been problems with the half either. There have been plenty of suggestions as to how to correct the mistakes made, and they are quite simple really and I hope someone takes notice of them.
In saying that, I'd have to agree with the rest of your post. I'm a lot less annoyed than I was yesterday, but then again I'm a lot less tired, overheated, dehydrated and sore!!

Anonymous said...

I am open to correction but as far as I can remember the City Council were at a loss of over 100,000 euro on last years race.

Anonymous said...

If the council are loosing money, then that's not good. In fact it worries me that it may cause problems for the future of the race. On the other hand it does bring thousands into the City to spend money which is a good thing. Dublin is the big marathon in the country. Cork should be bigger (not as big as Dublin) than it is and in the Spring. A big spring marathon and a big autumn marathon with enough space between them to do full training and recovery cycle for both. Fill the cities hotels and B+Bs. Show some ambition. The race is a fantastic course which really shows off the city and we should be proud of it. It should make money - to be ploughed back into growing the event and into local clubs.

Anonymous said...

So don't hold it, but if they do decide to hold it then do it right. Agree with writer who said that based on previous experiences this was a mistake waiting to happen. Also not fair to people who trained hard, made goals, suffered on the day plus an extra ½ mile suffering for free to blithely tell them to 'get over it'!

Anonymous said...

agree with the comment that it should be a spring marathon,and ,to add,the old bug bear for a lot of us,have it on a sunday(when its a long weekend),