Thousands of runners took accidental short cut in Sunderland marathon blunder

Marathon and half marathon runners on their way.'Marathon of the North 2013 event

Marathon and half marathon runners on their way.'Marathon of the North 2013 event

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THOUSANDS of runners fell short of completing the full distance in the Sunderland marathon and half marathon events after an organising blunder.

Organisers have confirmed only the winner of the Marathon of the North last month completed the full distance.

All other runners took an accidental short cut as a result of a marshalling cock up missing 264m of the route.

The error was uncovered in an investigation launched over timings and length. Organisers have apologised and offered all runners affected by the error a 25 per cent discount on other events.

In a statement, DS Media & Events said: “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 metres were therefore lost from the

measured route.

“We are sincerely sorry for any confusion and frustration that this has caused.”

As a goodwill gesture, organisers are offering all affected by the course detour a 25 per cent discount from any of next year’s events.

The statement added: “We will contact runners again at a later date, before entries open, to advise them on how to activate this offer.

“The support that runners from near and far have given our events is greatly appreciated and we hope this will not deter them from entering in the future.”