By Jeffrey Schaub

KCBS_740 SANTA ROSA (KCBS) — There was controversy at the Santa Rosa Marathon over the weekend, and it’s not the first time.

Several runners were steered off course by a race pacer, sending the entrants nearly a mile in the wrong direction before turning around and finishing the race.

“The number one thing you have to do when putting up a race is make sure that everything is completely clear,” Alex Wolf-Root, who works at Heart & Sole, a running shop in Santa Rosa told KCBS.

The mistake cost the runners valuable time and could potentially impact entry for some into the 2017 Boston Marathon.

“If somebody in ahead of you goes the wrong way, it’s a chain reaction – everybody follows – and that’s kind of what happened,” Heart & Sole owner Danny Aldridge told KCBS.

In 2013, a runner deliberately went the wrong way, cutting off other participants, and taking 1st place before being disqualified. A mishap in 2015 also marred final results, but this year’s mistake might have affected the field the most.

No word yet from race organizers about what went wrong.

Comments (3)
  1. Alex says:

    This is Alex Wolf-Root, one of the individuals quoted above:

    Jeffrey just talked to me and others at my store (Heart & Sole) about the SR Marathon story, and despite calling out a factual error he reported it in the first line of this article:
    While there have been three mishaps over the last four years, the following line is false. “For the third time in the past four years, several runners were steered off course by a race pacer,”. We discussed this, how one of the mishaps was a runner cutting the course on her own and not fessing up to it, and the other involved three lead runners being led off (I think, I heard this second-hand) by a course monitor. So at best there are two incidents like this, though they are still quite distinct.

    There is a significant difference between an individual cheating and runners being steered off course by a race pacer. There is also a significant difference between three runners going with the half-marathoners (instead of staying on the full marathon course) and runners being steered off course by a race pacer. And, if anything, it isn’t even the case that runners were (at first) steered off course by a race pacer, but rather by a lack of signage and course monitors. We spent ample time talking with Jeffrey, who’s a nice enough guy, bu the fact that he kept that line despite us being clear how false is, quite frankly, embarrassing.

    I’m not trying to overly support the event, or say you can’t cover it (I gave many quotes), but please be accurate, especially when called out in person when trying to discover the facts.

    P.S. This was also sent in the contact us form, but who knows how soon that’ll be read, so I’m also posting it here.

  2. carloscbs5 says:

    Thanks for your feedback. We have amended the story based on your clarification.

  3. Brownie says:

    I was in the group that got taken off course by .87. Cost me a BQ.