Doofus Of The Day #864

Today’s award goes to the organizers of a sporting event in Bangkok, Thailand.

An error by race organisers has turned Bangkok into the home of the world’s longest half-marathon.

Instead of a 13-mile run through Thailand’s capital, the Standard Chartered Bangkok marathon on Sunday accidentally extended its annual half-marathon to almost 17 miles.

The bonus miles came as a surprise to runners, who unleashed a tirade of complaints on social media after the event.

. . .

The Athletic Association of Thailand, which oversees athletic events in the country, said it discussed the mistake with the organisers, who “admitted that a technical error happened during the half-marathon event”, said Surapong Ariyamongkol, AAT secretary general.

He said race officials responsible for pointing runners in the right direction inadvertently directed them to make a U-turn at the wrong place.

“It added more than 3km [1.8 miles] to each lap, therefore more than 6km were added to the whole half-marathon,” Surapong said. “We have rebuked the association but we could not do anything else.”

. . .

… as one Facebook comment noted, it could be seen as a byproduct of race inflation: “Hey, they increased the price this year, so you get more kilometres for your money.”

There’s more at the link.

So, if Runner X was in the lead at the ‘legal’ or ‘regulation’ distance, but Runner Y was leading – and was declared the winner – at the end of the accidentally extended distance, does Runner X have grounds to sue to be awarded the winner’s trophy and prize money?  I should think he does.  One can only imagine the ripple effect as it makes its way down the results!



  1. They are lucky that one of the clowns didn't drop dead from running too far.
    The idea of running that far is amusing to me but this really made me laugh.

  2. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

    I understand this is a competitive event. If a runner were to devise a strategy befitting a 13 mile event yet lose in the subject event, even though they were successful in carrying out their strategy, it would be cause to blame themselves for failing. Consider if it had been 13 miles but in inclement weather. Or, the race course, still at 13 miles, was at the last minute changed and that change included an unanticipated change in elevation (hilly terrain).

    It is ridiculous to consider legal action in what is an amateur event which involves voluntary participation. I say for those participants who complain there should be a run off. It will be the correct length but with 20 Kg packs.

    I played water polo from HS, through college, and thereafter. I've also surfed big waves. And I've sailed in ocean crossing races. And I've run up mountains, sometimes above the treeline. Perhaps it is my perspective which causes me to have little sympathy for what amounts to crybabies.

  3. >So, if Runner X was in the lead at the 'legal' or 'regulation' distance, but Runner Y was leading – and was declared the winner – at the end of the accidentally extended distance

    It may not even be possible to determine who was in the lead at 13.11 miles; if the first lap was screwed up by an inadvertently added segment, then there likely wasn't a timing station (or chip sensor) at the exact half-marathon distance. The race website comes up with an "apology for the error" but amusingly has an additional error for the full marathon, which states that anyone who has not completed 134 km (sic) by 0720 will have to drop out of the race (0200 start). This is remarkable seeing as the full marathon is 42.195km, and running 134 km in the space of 5h 20min would amount to a pace of over 25kph (or over 15 mph). As always, failure to proffrede leads to embarrassment.

    Incidentally, the modern marathon distance of 42.195km was fixed in 1908 (London) to allow the race to go from Windsor Palace to the Royal Box at the finish line in the stadium. In prior years the Olympic marathon was as short as 40 km. Italian candymaker Dorando Pietri would probably have won the 1908 Olypmic marathon had the course not been lengthened to accomodate the royals. The Wikipedia article says Pietri collapsed just after 40km and was assisted to the finish line by the race officials. I had read elsewhere that in his fatigue and confusion, the Italian thought the British officials were trying to sabotage him, and initially fought with his would-be helpers. Marathoning was tough those days: instead of regular water stations, much less "energy" drinks, runners eschewed drinking water and did things such as rinsing their mouths out with brandy, and taking doses of strychnine (!).

  4. As a regular half marathon racist, this is hilarious.

    For most runners this kind of thing is a $#!+ happens moment that you get to talk about for years afterwards, as noted by some of the comments about this being the super half marathon.

    As for the hypothetical person leading at 13.1 who has to run 4 more miles and is over taken in that time: almost all races have some kind of a legalese that says that prizes are awarded to the fastest runner across the finishline – the time may be net (chip based subtracting how long it took you to get across the line at the start) or gross (no changes just first to the end), but that's it.

    I've run races that were a few hundred meters long and at least one that was about 500m short (I failed to complain about my better than expected time). The only way that the actual length matters is if the race is used as a qualifier for some other race

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