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Marathon Error Prevents Runners From Qualifying for Boston Race

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    The organizers of the Maine Coast Marathon say around 400 runners were mistakenly directed down a dead end road, forcing them to run about 26.7 miles and preventing some hopefuls from posting times to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

    (Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017)

    Organizers of a Maine marathon are apologizing for a course error that caused many runners to go an extra half-mile, costing some a chance to run in next year's Boston Marathon.

    Officials with the Maine Coast Marathon say approximately 400 runners in Sunday's race were mistakenly directed down a dead end road in Kennebunkport before looping back, bringing their total distance to about 26.7 miles. The error caused some Boston hopefuls to post times that are unlikely to qualify.

    "I was technically a minute and six seconds faster than the Boston qualifying time, but it's most likely not enough to actually get into the race," said Laurel Jones, a runner from Somerville, Massachusetts, who trained for five months for the Maine Coast Marathon. "It's been pretty terrible."

    The course was corrected, but because not all the runners ran the extra distance, officials say they can't simply adjust the times.

    Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

    A spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association says they cannot accept adjusted times, and recommends runners pick another marathon qualifier to attempt.

    "I just don't think that's going to be in the cards," said Britt Ulinski Schuman, a runner from Dover, New Hampshire, who beat the marathon qualifying time of 3:15:00 by just 27 seconds.

    "Had I not done that extra half mile, that would have given me a four minute buffer," said Ulinski Schuman, who does not think she has the time to train or compete in another Boston Marathon qualifier this season. "It's disappointing."

    Maine Coast Marathon Race Director Charles Melton said they are offering a full refund and free admission to next year's race to any runner who believes the mistake cost them the chance to qualify for Boston.

    "We've heard from lots of runners, and we fully sympathize with what they went through," said Melton.

    He said it was a race marshal hired by a contractor who mistakenly directed runners down the wrong path.

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    "We're not placing the blame on anyone, and I accept full responsibility," said Melton.