Santa Rosa Marathon has more trouble: Runners sent wrong way
It’s not the Santa Rosa Marathon without controversy.
It played out Sunday for the third time in the past four years as several runners were steered by a race pacer off course, sending some entrants nearly a mile in the wrong direction before turning around and finishing the race, costing some valuable time and potential entry into the 2017 Boston Marathon.
With this marathon being one of the last races to qualify before Boston Marathon registration opens and closes in late September, minutes do matter, and the unplanned detour caused some runners to miss their qualifying times for the legendary race.
This year’s controversial race follows events in 2013 and 2015 that marred final results, but this year’s mistake might have affected the field the most.
According to race entrants, the 3:03 pacer took a wrong turn at the first aid station on Hope and Fifth, turning right instead of left and ended up running down Brookwood Avenue for some distance.
Once the 3:03 pacer realized his mistake, he started sprinting back toward the marathon course.
Race entrant Brigitte Bradford tweeted a similar account of the blunder: “Not a good sign to see the 3:03 pacer sprinting up from behind the 3:29 pacer at the #SantaRosaMarathon.”
A man who was identified by another race entrant as the 3:03 pacer declined to comment, other than to say “I need to go to the beer garden … I’ve had a bad day.”
Cat Jubinski won the women’s marathon in 3:04:58, and was one of the people caught in the unplanned detour.
“We almost did a full half mile and had to turn back around and backtrack,” she said. “We all ran over 27 miles, instead of the 26.2.”
Jubinski didn’t even know if she was the race winner for sure because half-marathon runners were finishing at the same time as the marathon runners. “I don’t know. There may be another girl that’s in front of me. And no one knows because they’re not sure what happened on course,” she said.
An unidentified racer said there’s usually a biker with the lead woman on course, but because of the course error early in the race, the biker wasn’t sure if she was with the right leading woman.
“Maybe I’ll be second, and that’s fine too,” said Jubinski of her unknown result at the time.
Andrew Vogel of Mountain View finished 47 seconds over the Boston Marathon qualifying time for his age bracket — 18-34 at 3 hours, 5 minutes, but has a time from the Napa Marathon that makes Sunday’s result not as important.
“If I didn’t have a 3:02 from Napa, I’d be furious,” Vogel said.
And there were plenty of those runners, too.
Irvine’s Abe Sheppard, who has qualified for the Boston Marathon eight consecutive years, got caught in the detour, and missed the qualifying time in his age group — 40-44 at 3 hours 15 minutes — by exactly 1 minute, 38 seconds.
“Somehow we made a wrong turn,” Sheppard said.
“We were supposed to make a left turn. We made a right. We didn’t realize it until we ran an extra three-quarters of a mile. We just realized there was traffic on the course and it didn’t seem right. It seemed like we were going in the wrong direction.