Extra steps taken to win marathon

Dunedin runner Simon Cromarty on his way to winning the Wellington Marathon on Sunday. PHOTO:...
Dunedin runner Simon Cromarty on his way to winning the Wellington Marathon on Sunday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
First things first — Simon Cromarty promises he did not wear the South Park singlet to send a message to organisers of the Wellington Marathon on Sunday, but you could understand if the rather acerbic phrase was on his mind after a mid-race mess-up led to him having to run 2km more than the standard 42.2km.

The Dunedin runner did not break the tape at the annual marathon, but he was declared the winner.

Confused? Everyone was for a while.

Cromarty, 34, had a handy lead in the race when he and his two closest challengers, David Haunschmidt (Wellington) and Tom Galloway (Christchurch), were mistakenly directed off the main course and on to the half-marathon track.

"We must have got to about 34km and there was a turn-off, but the lead bike kept going", Cromarty told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"I sort of twigged when I saw a sign that said 10km to go. I looked at my watch and I was already at 34km. And I’m thinking, jeez, every kilometre matters here.

"I actually caught up to the biker and I said, is that sign right? And he said, ‘Yeah, but just follow me and we’ll be right’. That’s when I knew something was up.

"Then we finished and the guys who were second and third, who had gone the long way as well, were wondering what had happened because their watches all said 44km-45km."

British runner Edd Charlton-Weedy, who had been running fourth, had not been sent the wrong way and crossed the line first.

But it all worked out well in the end.

Organisers spoke to the runners and all agreed the order at the point of error should stand, so he was declared the winner in a time of 2hr 27min 31sec.

Some way to win your first marathon title.

"It was a bit of a shambles", Cromarty said, laughing.

"Nobody went too crazy but the organisers just worked out normal times and it all got worked out in the end."

Cromarty, a theatre assistant at Dunedin Hospital, won the 10km title in Wellington last year, but had not run a full marathon in several years.

He is not affiliated to a club any more but has stretched the legs with the 03 Dunedin group who do Monday morning runs from the Esplanade.