Go to home page

Back to Investigations index page

Investigation of Hull Marathon course length

Hull Marathon 10k run on 8 April 2012:

Certificate of Course Accuracy: 11/284

Measured by: Neil Pattison 28 October 2011

Distance: Marathon

Notification of Potential Problem: Phone call from Neil Pattison the day after the race. Followed up by viewing the various comments on Runners World Forum and viewing news footage on BBC iPlayer

Investigation: A number of Garmin traces have been viewed by myself and compared to the measured route. There is a significant difference (short) in Pickering Park, and two other points on the route where the measured line has not been taken. (Humber Bridge and The Square) 

Action: This information was emailed to the race director on 17 April, indicating that the measurement certificate would be revoked.

Result: At 11.33 the race director responded thus:

Dear Brian, Thank you for your email. Unfortunately due to health and safety instruction from third parties a minor change was made to the route at very short notice. I am assuming that I can have the course run re measured to maintain accuracy of the event? Could you also advise on the future procedure for changes at short notice to maintain accuracy of distance? I am sure with any races which take place on the public highway that there is a procedure to follow should the police / health and safety or other authority force change to the route due to incident or accident at very short notice? Kind Regards, Karl 

I followed this up with requests for documentary evidence of the nature if the enforced amendments and at 18:02 received the following: 

Dear Brian, I am working on the requested documents, as statements as to why the required changes were made have been requested and I will forward them in due course. Please also note that I have made no such claims to have had the course officially re-measured. Karl 

A statement from the race organisers was posted to their web site on 17th April after my email exchange: 

Following the announcement on Tuesday 17th April by the AUK Course Measurer that they would be withdrawing the certificate of accuracy issued for the Hull Marathon due to the course not being run as measured we would like to make the following statement.

Following the final risk assessment ahead of the race a change was made to the route to protect the safety of runners, this change was both unavoidable and none negotiable. A further minor adjustment to the course was then made to ensure the correct distance of 26.2 miles was completed by all runners.

Due to the extremely short notice of the change it was impossible to have the route officially re measured before the race start.

The safety of runners is paramount and to allow the race to go ahead without the changes would have caused great risk to runners and the public.

A post event review and debrief, including consultation on safety and route measurement is currently progressing.

It is understood and appreciated that this may have caused problems for those runners who were using the Hull Marathon to register a qualifying time for other events, however for those running for charity or for personal achievement please be assured that the changes were made in such away as to maintain the distance and you have completed the 26.2 miles required for a marathon.

Regardless of your reason for running the marathon please accept our apologies for any distress this may have caused, but we hope that you understand why the decision was made.

Please note that while contributing to the review, the Toro CSC team will not be handling any contact regarding the marathon. Until the review is complete please forward all communications regarding this incident to the team managing the event review – hullmarathon@gmail.com

Conclusion: Measured course not followed. Certificate of course accuracy for this race date revoked.

INVESTIGATION REPORT BY:  B. Porter, Measurement Secretary for the North of England. 18 April 2012, 10.00.