A spectator mistakenly flipped around a sign before Sunday’s Kansas Half Marathon event.
The individual probably thought it was helpful; but instead, the gesture caused mass confusion and threw about 500 runners off course.
“Before I knew it, we had hundreds of runners going the wrong way,” said Ryan Robinson, race director.
Here’s how it happened:
The Kansas Half Marathon event includes three races — a half marathon (13.1 miles), 10K (6.2 miles) and 5K (3.2 miles).
Everyone was supposed to run along Perimeter Road, which circles around Haskell Indian Nations University for at least the first mile.
But the sign, which was supposed to be backwards so the runners couldn’t see it, directed 10K runners to turn right onto Shawnee Avenue at about the quarter-mile mark. The 5K runners were unsure where to go because it wasn’t indicated on the sign, so they followed the 10K runners.
Fortunately, it had the correct direction for half-marathoners.
In the end, Robinson believes most of the 343 5K participants ran a half-mile extra, and the 191 10K participants ran a half-mile short.
“It is what it is,” he said Thursday by telephone. “At that point, it’s not like I can do anything.”
The event drew 1,205 participants from two dozen states. It was a benefit for Health Care Access, a medical clinic for the uninsured of Douglas County.
Sally Monahan Zogry, Health Care Access development director and race organizer, apologized for the incident.
“We are disappointed, and we feel terrible about it,” she said. “Our goal is to put on the best race we can and for everybody to have a great experience.”
Tagged: Kansas Half Marathon