The figure used to compute adjusted times in the Marine Corps Marathon was incorrectly listed in Friday's editions. The correct figure is 1.01163. The elapsed time must be converted to seconds and multiplied by this figure. The Washington Post regrets the error.
After a three-day study that included interviews with lead vehicle personnel, course sentries and runners, organizers of Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon yesterday acknowledged errors in four disputed areas of the race and are also offering a formula for adjusting times.
The Marines said in a statement that the study began 3 1/2 hours after runners started crossing the finish line, when "several area runners reported course alterations from previous Marine marathons."
The study, undertaken in cooperation with the Potomac Valley Athletic Council (PVAC) of The Athletic Congress (TAC), concluded, "In each of the four disputed areas, Marine sentries were properly positioned and briefed and the lead military vehicle traveled the correct race course." The study found the course to be short by .3013 miles and that errors were present in all four locations in question.
When asked how the mistakes arose if the sentries and the lead vehicle performed their responsibilities correctly, race coordinator Capt. Pat Paxton said, "No comment. We are acknowledging that there were mistakes. I can explain it if I want but I won't comment. We regret the misfortune to any runners."
Interviews with runners and others associated with the marathon indicated that, while the lead vehicle may have traveled the proper course, other vehicles ahead of the race, such as press and photography trucks, were led in the wrong direction and the runners followed them.
In contrast to earlier reports, the Marine statement went on to assert that, "Errors which occured affected the entire field of runners and all runners negotiated the same altered course. Hence, course correction factors and adjusted times can be computed." These conclusions were based on interviews with sentries and runners.
Marathon officials are working on completion certificates to send to the runners. The certificates will list the actual elapsed time and the adjusted time. The elapsed time will be at a slight variance from those times that were published Monday due to normal verification procedures. To compute adjusted time, the elapsed time must be converted to seconds and multiplied by 1.101163.
For winner Michael Hurd of the British Royal Air Force, the time adjustment will cost him the honor of being course record holder. Women's winner Jan Yerkes will maintain her course record but her time will jump over the prestigious 2:40 barrier.
Yesterday's statement also said, "Will Cloney, Boston Marathon race director, has indicated they will be lenient in accepting adjusted Marine Marathon times." An approximate two-minute leeway will be allowed.
Some runners expressed relief at the statement while others were devastated.
Washington's Bob Dorsey, who by virtue of the slight variance in elapsed time plus the adjustment factor, came out four seconds over the Boston Marathon cutoff, said, "I was timing myself trying to run 6:20s (per mile) between the 17 and 20-mile marks. I ran a 6:20 between the 17- and 18-mile marks but because we didn't run completely around Hains Point, we never passed the 19-mile mark and that knocked off my timing."
In conclusion, the statement said the course was "never intentionally altered and as measured is still certified and sanctioned. It is expected to be used next November for the sixth annual race."