Well: When Runners Go the Distance, but Races Don’t

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The New York Times.

Photo Carolina Luevanos-Garcia at the finish line in Chattanooga.Credit

When we hear about a road-race shortcut, many of us think of Rosie Ruiz, who notoriously cut into the final mile of the 1980 Boston Marathon to win the women’s title. But sometimes a racecourse is inadvertently shortened by human error — a misplaced traffic cone, say, or a confused but well-intentioned volunteer.

That’s what happened when Carolina Luevanos-Garcia, 53, a retired peace officer from Sacramento, traveled to Tennessee in October to run The 4 Bridges Half Marathon in Chattanooga. It was part of her effort to become a “50 stater” — to run a half-marathon in all 50 states. But the course she ran, she was devastated to learn two days after the event, was six-tenths of a mile short of the official half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles.

“My heart dropped,” she said of the moment she saw the Facebook message informing runners that the course had been short. “The disappointment of trying so hard to have it not count is immense,” she said.

Courses are measured and certified by a USA Track & Field official who rides a bicycle with a device called a…

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