Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Runners get lost in Korean Marathon...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Runners get lost in Korean Marathon...

This story appeared recently about a Marathon in South Korea that went wrong. It kind of shows the hazards of organising a race and what can happen especially if it isn't planned properly. It also underlines the value of having experienced people on hand for the race and out along the course.

Marathon Runners get lost......Poor organisation during an international marathon in Gyeongju, South Korea caused marathoners to veer off course midrace, resulting in confusion and chaos for spectators and racers alike.

During the 2011 Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon Race held on Sunday (16th Oct 2011), the 40-kilometre (24-mile) post was left without a guide. The staffer assigned to help racers navigate the three-way intersection had left his post before his replacement arrived, and the staffer assigned to replace him had gone to another post by mistake. Without the guide, runners were left to dodge cars and public buses for a few hundred metres.

Before the race, the event organiser had announced that the course would include trafficked streets at the 40-kilometre point, but the racers seemed reliant on the guides and went off course when they did not see any. Upon seeing this, a coach on the sidelines of the race stepped in and pointed subsequent racers in the right direction. One sports promotion foundation representative expressed his sympathy for those who “raced and only looked forward” and said, “Though it’s called an international race, I have never seen a race organized so carelessly.”  A representative from the race organisers said that it was dismayed to learn that the guide who was supposed to monitor the 40-kilometre post did not appear. He also said that race operations staff were not trained properly.


Anonymous said...

You don't have to go to Korea for a story like this - it happened in Limerick Marathon 2 years ago. Its a pity that it happens to the athletes with the most preparation done and with most to lose.

John Desmond said...

True. The previous comment relates to the 2010 Limerick Marathon when poor stewarding out along the course meant that some of the front runners in the race took a wrong turn.

Having experienced people at critical junctions would have prevented this.

John Quigley said...

It happened in the Belfast Marathon about 20 years ago. The leader was sent the wrong way, not once, not twice, but 3 times. From a lead of about 10 mins, he ended up third - the 'winner' was not directed to go the wrong way.

Tbh, this is a race director's nightmare. You need to make sure that the people in the lead car know the exact course AND that they have course maps and descriptions AND that several other people know the exact course. Many a problem has been as a result of the only person who knows the course being unavailable on race day.

You need a backup plan for every vital element in a race.