If you've run a race that ends up being longer or shorter than 26.2 miles, that race needs to contact the BAA with adjusted times.
DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
I have a question regarding qualifying for Boston when there's a course error. Here's what happened to me: I was running a marathon, and around mile 17, I was directed around an out-and-back. After completing it, I noticed that the runners behind me were not being directed around it. A course marshal explained as I ran by that there had been a mistake, and that we should not have gone around it.
Well, the out-and-back added .2 miles to the race. I wouldn't mind normally, but my time for this race was 3:35:02, just two seconds over my Boston qualifying time. ACK!
How have these sorts of issues been handled in the past? Is my only option to run another marathon? Thanks! Sylvie
Thanks for your inquiry. Regarding Boston, our goal is to do what is right for the runner who is making an honest effort in trying to qualify.
As such, if we hear of a race in which some or all of the runners in the race either ran a little longer or a little shorter than the 26.2-mile distance—due to a mismeasurement or a course marshal error or a course device error or an emergency situation—we simply ask the race director to provide us with the details, including the error in distance, and ask that the race and its timing company recalculate the times of those runners who were impacted based on their overall pace in the race.
Of course, this is not a perfect science, nor will it ever truly "reconstruct" what might have happened, but it gives us the most unbiased and reasonable data to go on. So, the affected runners need to get the race to follow up with this, as we can't and don't do this ourselves based on what individual runners report to us.
On a number of occasions, races have provided adjusted results and we have accepted the data provided to us. This doesn't mean the race has to necessarily change their results—they just need to provide us with the adjusted results for qualifying purposes only.
Note, however, that with our new registration format, just because someone qualifies doesn't guarantee them a spot in the race—it simply allows them to apply and then their qualifying times get compared against others in their age group before the final field is selected.