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Sports board explains marathon error: Athletes turned the wrong way

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The Macau Sports Development Board (ID) gave an explanation as to why a course mistake at the 31st “Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon” resulted in athletes running three extra kilometers. At one point in the route, “it was planned that the athletes should turn left”, competition director Chan Pou Si explained. “Instead, the two leading ones turned right and the other 2,000 runners followed them.” 

This was the case for both the marathon and half marathon, where two signalmen signaled the way in front of the joggers, and two followed behind them. “The signalmen tried to re-position the runners into the right direction, but were unable to do so.” The correction was possible only “after some time”, as “there were more than 2,000 people, and in addition it was raining heavily”, Mr Chan went to explain. 

In the case of the mini marathon, it was the signalmen who were to blame for the athletes turning the wrong direction and having to run “1,000 meters more.” Here, Mr Chan thinks that the fact that the competition started “one hour earlier than usual”, in addition to the rain, may have caused this mistake.

 It was planned that the athletes should turn left. Instead, the two leading ones turned right and the other 2,000 runners followed them

- Chan Si, Competition Director


At the same time, he stressed that normally “all the athletes should know the course” because “they have the opportunity to get to know it before the start.” But this time, “only three athletes went to explore it before the run”, one of them being an invited sportsperson. “We don’t know why”, the competition director stated. It was in fact “the invited runners who turned right and all the others followed them.” 

Although Mr Chan emphasized that “this has never happened before”, he said that the organization would explore all possibilities to improve the marathon. “The signalmen didn’t do a perfect job” and will therefore have to be better trained. All collaborators at each point of the turns will have to be improved.” The organization association is also going to meet the athletes in order to hear their suggestions to improve the race. However there won’t be any changes made to the results. “We apologize and hope this doesn’t happen again”, the competition director concluded. 


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Subscribe to comments feed Comments (10 posted)

Troy 27/03/2013 01:56:38
If the passport is stmpaed/sticker with residence permit, would the passport still be stmpaed every time going through check point between HK and China?How to obtain a China Identity card for long term resident for Representative Office (RO)like HK ID card to go through check point of e-channel?Also where to go to apply for long-term residence permit in SZ? (from the Exit and Entry Department of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau)Pls advise Thanks
james tye 26/12/2012 19:45:54
statistically 2012 would have the worst did-not-finsh among the marathoners and half-marathoners. something wrong. it can be put right, and it will be a grave mistake not to correct it when the is no attempt to put in the very little effort to do so.
admitting a mistake is the easy part, correcting it takes great moral courage and maturity.
most forums on this matter didn't expect the organisers to change the official timing. majority merely asked to be acknowledged with what's is due, largely the finishers' entitlements of medal and/or t-shirt.
i believe these can be acceded by making a calculated adjustment to the official cut-off time to recognise the extra distances covered. i think we can leave it to the experience of the organisers how many more reasonable minutes to allow. the extra effort to append this category to the results would be commendable and even more appreciated.
it's the season of gracious giving, and there's nothing to lose.
james tye 29/01/2013 05:19:07
Received an email from the organisers that "The Organizing Committee of the Macau Gallaxy Entertainment International Marathon 2012, has exceptionally and in accordance to the authority empowered by the event regulations decided on the following:
1) To award the prize money to the top 10 male and female athletes in the Marathon's general classification; and to the top 5 male and female athletes in the
Half Marathon's general classification;
2) To award the prize money to the first 5 Macau male and female athletes successfully completed the Marathon and to the first 3 Macau male and female athletes successfully completed the Half Marathon;
3) To award medals and certificates to all participants who have completed the Marathon, Half Marathon and Mini Marathon*****;

To err is human, to forgive is divine.
james tye 15/02/2013 22:37:29
Received the medal in the post yesterday; perfect Valentine timing, and Lunar New Year!
Good magnanimous gesture by the organisers.
Charles Fung 09/12/2012 19:53:01
It's disappointing for me, running the half marathon in Macau for the first time. I did not qualify for a medal OK, but a DNF description is an insult to me when I ran all out to reach the destination despite the extra distance caused by mistakes that are totally unforgivable and unacceptable.

I shall boycott further Macau running events and call for the AIMS to disqualify Macau as well.
Runner from Macau 05/12/2012 23:25:26
I am so bummed. I am not a professional athlete but did compete this year and ran my heart out. I did look at the course beforehand, but I am sorry, I am going to follow everyone else. As if an amateur like me is going to go a different way than the professional athletes.

I was one of the people who missed out on a medal by three minutes. I ran as hard as I could and knew the time I would need to do but didn't make it. I thought it was just my GPS that was wrong.

Can we get our medals please? I am also not listed as a finisher I am so disappointed.
Marios Cassimatis 05/12/2012 20:38:12
I was the last one, finishing my first full marathon after 5hrs; yes the organisers were kind enough to let me hear the beep on the scanning carpet but the DNF and the medal is something, that despite all the good memories of my first full marathon achievement, I cannot forget; I have run in many smaller events (most of them in China) and I can only say that it is unbelievable to make such mistakes. Very poor from the organisers.
Another comment has to do with traffic; it was the first time I was stopped for buses to go through... I am not sure how AIMS approves these routes/decisions! Let's not mention the AIR quality - I have run in polluted air cities like Chongqing and Guangzhou; the Macau one was the worse being totally exposed to all these cars’ heavy exhaust fumes...
Well done!
Ranny 05/12/2012 18:05:39
Boycott the future Macau marathons! Glad I didn't join this year.
Andrew Dawson 05/12/2012 05:15:15
I'm sorry Mr Chan, but your explanations are as poor as your race organisation.

The mistake that the 2,000 marathon and half marathon runners made was actually to turn left as they exited the stadium, rather than a right turn as you suggest. How can you possibly blame an early start or rain on this mistake? The course is either clearly marked with marshals guiding runners or it isn't. What does rain or an earlier start have to do with your poor organisation?

Apart from blaming the weather (that you knew about), the starting time (that you chose), the marshals (who you trained) you all have the audacity to blame the runners themselves for not knowing the route. Your event is AIMS certified and thus is required to meet specific standards of distance, course design, signage and marshalling; as we all ran at least an extra kilometre your event obviously didn’t live up to the AIMS standards that it claimed to posses. Even if runners do have some sort of responsibility for the race how is it even possible for them “get to know it before the start”? The whole race takes place on roads, some of which don’t have pedestrian access. I’m not sure of the statistics for this year, but in 2011 almost 70% of marathon participants where ‘overseas participants’. How then is it possible for this vast majority of to “explore it before the run”?

What about all those poor runners who missed the cut-off time by only minutes? Runners who ran over an extra kilometre and thus according to your own rules still made the cut-off time of 5 hours for 42.2km. Runners who did not receive a finisher’s medal, runners who did not receive a finisher’s t-shirt, runners that only received a DNF (did not finish) for their trouble. I suppose the only good news is for yourself; the extra distance ran by the elite athletes means that they all ran times well above what they should have and thus weren’t eligible to receive the cash bonuses for finishing under specific times.

I understand that altering times is probably an impossibility, but come on, at least take some responsibility and admit your mistakes and start to address those runners who you claim did not meet the cut-off times, but in reality did.
04/12/2012 21:41:52
Of course the athletes went the wrong way...they did not listen. And of course the computer at the Macau Grand Prix screwed up and played the wrong national anthem....and not the person behind it. Sick of all these excuses!!!
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