Reminiscent of the Road Runner’s ploy to post phony signs intended to throw Wiley Coyote off track, thousands of runners at the Marathon of the North in Sunderland, United Kingdom were dismayed to find that they had been disqualified after taking a wrong turn in the April 28, 2013 event. Over 5,000 runners were told that they were 264 meters (288 yards) short of completing the full marathon due to their error. This meant that all of the runners, except for the winner of the race who had followed the lead vehicle, had failed to complete the correct course.
Organizers admitted that the error was their fault.
“Regrettably, due to incorrect placing of marshals, which we take full responsibility for, only the lead athlete followed the correct route through the Sheepfold area near the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately, the second and third-placed runners were not within line of sight of the leader and lead bikes/vehicle. This resulted in all those who followed taking an incorrect route through this section. Our course measurer has now confirmed that 264 meters were therefore lost from the measured route. We are sincerely sorry for any confusion and frustration that this has caused.”
Runners were offered 25% off the entry fee to the next marathon the organizers offered. All except Jake Harrison, the winner and only person to have officially finished the race.