'Three strikes and you're out': Alderman upset with Milwaukee Marathon mistake

Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 19:17:48-04

When runners crossed the finish line of this year's PNC Milwaukee Marathon, they thought they just ran 26.2 miles. But yesterday, they learned that wasn't quite the case. 

"I know how hard people train for these marathons and it's really unfair to them," said Ald. Tony Zielinski, who represents Milwaukee's 14th District. 

The marathon course was set up incorrectly, making it 4,200 feet short. 

He says the city has to issue permits for the marathon to take place and next year the city might need to be more involved. 

"We need the marathon to continue, we just need to make sure that it operates in a way that works," he said. "What do they say in baseball, three strikes and you're out, so they got two strikes right now."

Last year, a handful of runners ran an extra mile after someone deliberately moved cones from the course. 

The Milwaukee Marathon received its distance certification for this year's race on Oct. 12, by USATF Certifier David Moore. 

"All we are responsible for is to make sure their distance is the correct distance," Moore said. "But we can't be there to make sure they're setting up their course properly." 

The course was measured twice and verified by Moore before setup. 

He says although unusual, he's seen this happen in other races. He says the Cellcom Green Bay marathon one year had the same problem. 

"They cut off part of the course by accident," he said. "Unfortunately there's always chance for human error in every endeavor." 

We tried reaching the race director Chad Antcliff, who didn't respond to our calls.

In a statement, he took responsibility for the mistake saying, "Misinterpretation of the route certification map caused the turnaround on the Hank Aaron State trail to be set in the incorrect spot, causing the route to be approximately 4200' short."

He went on to say, "I was contracted by the event and it was my responsibility as the technical race director to ensure race staff and vendors clearly understand the route, its markings, and intricacies. I failed to make clear the key points with the layout of the course."

Unfortunately, the mistake means the Boston Marathon won't accept applications from runners in the Milwaukee Marathon. 

T.K. Skenderian with the Boston Athletic Association said the window for qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon remains open until next September.

"Runners will hopefully have enough time to recover and try again at another race," Skenderian said.