Marathon runners react to race route mixup - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Marathon runners react to race route mixup

Ocean Springs High School student, James Harsch, ran in the marathon Sunday too. He also ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.(Image Source: WLOX News) Ocean Springs High School student, James Harsch, ran in the marathon Sunday too. He also ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.(Image Source: WLOX News)
His Cross Country Coach says Harsch is a hard worker who had trained hard for the race.(Image Source: James Harsch) His Cross Country Coach says Harsch is a hard worker who had trained hard for the race.(Image Source: James Harsch)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

When Scott Hawkins crossed the Gulf Coast Marathon finish line, his wife was waiting for him wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt.

"We were looking for the best possible qualifying time so we could all go together as a family up to Boston in 2019," said Scott Hawkins.

Hawkins' finish time qualified him for the Boston Marathon, after three tiring months of training. Fast-forward two days and his excitement about qualifying for the mother of all marathons turned to confusion when he received an email from Race Director Jonathan Dziuba. It said there was a mistake in the route mapping, and it was a quarter of a mile too short.

"I was devastated at first, but I kind of expected it. I guess our watches keep pretty good track of distance, and there were a lot of us looking at our watches at the end saying that wasn't quite far enough," said Hawkins.

Ocean Springs High School student James Harsch ran in the marathon Sunday, too. He also ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

"I was a little frustrated, but it motivates me to train harder for the next marathon, whichever marathon that happens to be," said Harsch

Harsch's cross country coach says he is a hard worker who had trained hard for the race.

"To put in all that work and think you accomplished something and then to be told that because of a mistake it's all for nothing, it's disappointing," said Tim Sayers who is the Ocean Springs track and cross country coach.

Race Director Jonathan Dzuiba took full responsibility for the race being inaccurately marked. He explained that the markings instructed runners to turn around at the second truss on the bridge instead of the third, resulting in the course being 1,555 feet short.

"It is heartbreaking when it's somebody else's fault kind of, but at the same time, I feel like we all make mistakes and poor guy I'm feeling bad for him too because he's just made this mistake that affects so many of us," said Hawkins.

Dzuiba said the Boston Marathon will not honor the times from this race. So, runners will have to run another marathon to qualify. He said they are working to make it up to those who ran in this Sunday's race.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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