March 29, 2023

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Sports: The Milwaukee Marathon got the distance wrong again, and it could have big implications for some runners

For the second year in a row, the course distance for the PNC Milwaukee Marathon wasn’t properly measured, according to Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In 2016, the course was reportedly too long, forcing some runners to go half a mile longer than necessary, with a few dozen runners going even farther.

This year, the course was about eight-tenths of a mile, or approximately 4,200 feet, too short.

According to Nickel, the race changed ownership, but the course, which changed from last year, was measured by the same organizers, who once again got it wrong.

The race director said there was an error on the route-certification map, causing a turnaround to be marked in the wrong spot.

Joe Zimmerman, the president of the marathon, said in a statement, “We deeply regret that this human error by experienced professionals happened and are notifying all concerned.”

According to Nickel, it could have real implications for runners trying to qualify for other marathons like the Boston Marathon. USA Track and Field said the course failed to meet its standards, which means runners may not be able to use their time to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

According to Nickel, last year race organizers adjusted the times for runners who went over the 26.2 miles, but the Boston Marathon would accept only the standard qualifying times, even if runners had gone over 26.2 miles. Nickel estimates that times won’t be accepted this year either, even if they are adjusted upward.

Some runners said they were alarmed when their fitness trackers said they were short of the standard marathon distance.

Chris Ponteri, the creator of the race, told Nickel: “Runners are pretty forgiving when it happens once. They don’t forget, but they forgive. When it happens a second time … I’m not sure there will be the same forgiveness.”

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