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The Marathon course was measured by an accredited measurer in 2013 and was used for the race that year. The measurement was also used as the basis for the races in 2014 & 2015, with some adjustments. Following the 2015 race, there were suggestions that the course was short and AUKCM used GPS traces and video evidence from runners, together with satellite mapping services, to check the distance run on the day.
Distances determined using these methods are not as accurate as a measurement using the calibrated bicycle method, but the checks indicated a course short by about 400m. After extended discussion with the organisers, it was agreed that AUKCM carry out a verification measurement of the course as run in 2015 in conjunction with the measurement of the course proposed for 2016. This measurement was done in October 2015 and showed that the course run in 2015 was 380m short. This was confirmed by a second measurement performed by two measurers in preparation for IAAF/AIMS certification in 2016. (The 2016 course was later changed and was measured separately.)
AUKCM were unable to identify any error from the original measurement report, but increasing differences in the positions given for mile markers compared with the verification measurement indicated a possible error in calibration of the wheel for the original measurement. A check of the calibration course used showed that it was short, the error accounting for about half of the deficiency.
We conclude that the 2015 course was 380m short and the courses used in 2013 & 2014 were also short by similar distances. AUKCM regret the error in measurement and the effect it has on runners times. Significant errors in measurement are rare - our procedures are designed to find them at the reporting or checking stages.
The revised course used for the 2016 Manchester Marathon is not affected by this error. It has been measured by two measurers and both National and IAAF/AIMS certificates have been issued.