Bangkok's botched half-marathon offers T-shirt apology

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2015 9:43 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — They ran an extra 4 miles on their half-marathon. And for their extra pain, they're getting a T-shirt.

Organizers offered runners commemorative T-shirts Tuesday as part of an apology for inadvertently extending the weekend Standard Chartered Bangkok Half-Marathon by almost 7 kilometers (4 miles).

The error by race officials along the route meant participants in Sunday's race ran 27.6 kilometers (17 miles), rather than the usual 21 kilometers (13 miles). Many runners had clocked the race on GPS watches and posted their bewilderment and anger afterward on social media.

Some 6,000 runners took part in the race and everyone — even those who didn't finish — will get a special jersey to wear like a badge of pride, said Songkram Kraison, vice president of the Jogging Association of Thailand, one of the event's two organizers.

"The T-shirt will say, 'Finisher of 27.6 km,'" Songkram told The Associated Press. "The shirts are meant to apologize and also to honor runners who ran in the longer version of the half-marathon."

The Jogging Association of Thailand's website posted a statement Tuesday saying it will mail the shirts within 45 days.

The race looped through Bangkok's historic district, past the Grand Palace, monuments and Buddhist temples, with half-marathon participants sharing the route with full-marathon runners until a specified turn-off. That's where the error occurred, according to organizers, who said officials stationed along the route accidentally directed half-marathon runners to make a U-turn at the wrong spot, which added the extra distance.

"We deeply regret this unfortunate mistake," the Jogging Association of Thailand said in its apology posted in Thai and English on websites and Facebook pages connected with the event. "We admit our mistake and would like to apologize."

The T-shirt is meant to "express our admiration for your spirit in bravely overcoming the obstacles," the letter said.

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Associated Press writer Busaba Sivasomboon contributed to this report.

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