CHICAGO – The event organizers who planned a half marathon in Chicago over the weekend came up short — literally.
The HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon was hosted Sunday, with runners starting and finishing in Jackson Park and running along Lake Shore Drive, according to the event’s website.
Runners who participated in the race began commenting on the event’s social media pages, saying that their pedometers and trackers showed that they had run less than the 13.1 miles involved in a half marathon, WMAQ reported.
One comment, on the event’s Instagram page, reads: “I have to ask. Did anyone else feel the course was somehow shorter on the way back? The distance between one of the mile markers felt super short and threw off my timing and GPS tracker.”
“Everybody on my Strava got 12.64 miles. We’re things a tad short today?,” a commenter posted, WMAQ reported. A half marathon is 13.1 miles.
In a response on the event’s Facebook page, the HOKA Chicago Half Marathon said “Our primary goal always is to delivery a safe and positive experience for all participants. A required, last-minute course change was implemented due to unforeseen circumstances in partnership with the city of Chicago. The impact of this change was a reduction to the overall course distance. We apologize for any inconvenience as we chose to prioritize athlete safety.”
Some runners were dissatisfied with the response, commenting, “This is just unacceptable. You can’t tell people on social media that you made this decision after the race. Where was the transparency? The communication while we were there?”
Another commenter on Facebook said, “It is inexcusable to knowingly shorten the half marathon course without notifying everyone and without offering compensation. … You’ve got to deliver on that when you are charging what you charge in fees and when you promise a certified length race because people depend on these races to qualify for others, to set PRs, and to reach their own goals.”
In a statement, race organizers said: “As directed by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Half Marathon event operations team implemented a required course change just prior to the start of the event, reducing the overall distance by 0.5 miles. Given the last-minute timing of this change, options were extremely limited to properly inform all event participants prior to the start of the event. We apologize to all participants for the lack of advance notice of this change. As opposed to delaying or canceling the event entirely, which would have been the required alternative, race operations chose to proceed with the event. We know it requires incredible commitment and training to complete a half marathon and, therefore, all event details are important to understand. While all race results have been adjusted to reflect the actual course distance of 12.6 miles, we regret the impact of this change, which was made in the spirit of prioritizing the safety of all participants.”
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