Macau Sport Development Board (IDM) President Vong Iao Lek apologised Monday for the routing fiasco during Sunday’s Macau International Marathon when the runners were given wrong directions for the event’s routes.
In a press briefing at the board’s headquarters, Macau Athletics Association (AAMC) Vice President Chan Pou Sin said that runners invited by the organisers to take part in the event, who were leading the race at the beginning, turned left instead of right on leaving the Macau Stadium.
Informed sources told reporters that because of the fiasco all runners were estimated to have run at least an extra kilometre.
The marathon has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres.
Responding to allegations that the stewards had given the frontrunners wrong directions, Chan suggested that since the marathon began an hour earlier than usual so as that traffic would not be disrupted, stewards had been working hard preparing for the race.
According to The Macau Post Daily, Chan also said that as soon as the runners turned left stewards tried to direct them back to the race route but couldn’t as there were thousands of runners already going the wrong way.
He said that organisers usually arranged for invited runners to be taken around the course the day before the marathon. But this year, only one of them actually turned up for the tour. “Their coaches said they [runners] needed to get some sleep so they would not be checking the route,” said Chan. “Did it mean that they were unfamiliar with the route? This could be one of the reasons [for the fiasco].”
Chan said that lessons had been learnt and that there would be stricter guidelines for stewards to prevent such an incident from occurring again. He said that start times and the training of stewards were what the organisers needed to focus on.
But Chan indicated that despite the error, the results of each runner’s race time would stand as per international sporting rules.
Ethiopia’s Heile Haja Gemeda and Ehitu Kiros Reda were the winners of Sunday’s Macau International Marathon. Gemeda won the men’s race in two hours, 23 minutes and 56 seconds. Reda won the women’s race at 2:50.11.
Over 6,000 runners from 57 countries and regions compeed in the annual event, which comprised a marathon, half-marathon and mini-marathon. The event was title-sponsored by casino company Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG).
The world record holder in the men’s marathon is Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya with a time of two hours and three minutes which he set in the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2011.
The woman’s marathon holder is Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain with a time of two hours and 15 minutes which she set in the London Marathon on April 13, 2003.(macaunews)