Marathon goes off track as racers dodge traffic

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Marathon goes off track as racers dodge traffic

Poor organization during an international marathon in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, caused marathoners to veer off course midrace, resulting in confusion and chaos for spectators and racers alike.

During the 2011 Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon Race held yesterday, the 40-kilometer (24-mile) post was left without a guide. The staffer assigned to help racers navigate the three-way intersection had left his post before his replacement arrived, and the staffer assigned to replace him had gone to another post by mistake. Without the guide, runners were left to dodge cars and public buses for a few hundred meters.

Although no one was hurt, some racers were penalized by the incident because it was not taken into consideration in the race results, which are certified by the Korean Association of Athletics Federations. Amidst the confusion, Oh Seo-jin, 23, who had been in first among Korean runners, Kim Ji-hoon, 23, who had been in second, and two others strayed off course. Kim was later guided back to the course by spectators, but the others continued on another path.

Before the race, the event organizer had announced that the course would include trafficked streets at the 40-kilometer point, but the racers seemed reliant on the guides and went off course when they did not see any. Upon seeing this, a coach on the sidelines of the race stepped in and pointed subsequent racers in the right direction.

The KAAF is now facing criticism over the race results. The winners were determined based on the order the racers crossed the finish line. Some spectators believe, however, that the mix-up during the race should be taken into account.

One sports promotion foundation representative expressed his sympathy for those who “raced and only looked forward” and said, “Though it’s called an international race, I have never seen a race organized so carelessly.”

A representative from the Dong-A Ilbo, the race organizer, said that it, too, was dismayed to learn that the guide who was supposed to monitor the 40-kilometer post did not appear. He also said that race operations staff were not trained properly.

A similar incident occurred at the Gyeongju race 13 years ago, when Kim I-yong, 38, ran off course in 1998.

The Gyeongju international marathon is an annual mid-October race first held in 1993. It received Silver Label Road Race status from the International Association of Athletics Federations last year.

By Sarah Kim []

한글 관련 기사 [연합뉴스]

세계육상대회 치른 나라서 이런 마라톤 …

경주서 열린 국제마라톤
40㎞ 지점 심판들 자리 비워
일부 선수들 코스 이탈 실격

경주에서 열린 국제마라톤 경기대회 중 선수들이 집단으로 코스를 이탈하는 사고가 벌어졌다. 16일 오전 경북 경주시 일원에서 열린 동아일보 2011 경주국제마라톤대회에서 40㎞를 지난 지점부터 코스를 알려 주고 차량을 통제해야 할 심판들이 자리를 떴다. 국내 선수 중 1위를 달리던 오서진(23·국민체육진흥공단)과 2위 김지훈(23·고양시청) 등 4명이 피해를 당했다. 김지훈은 팀 관계자들의 제지를 받고 뒤늦게 코스로 돌아왔지만 나머지 3명은 계속 다른 길을 달려 실격됐다.

 현지에서 지켜본 관계자들에 따르면 선두그룹 10여 명이 40㎞ 지점을 통과한 뒤 몇백m 지나 오서진과 김지훈 등 국내 1·2위를 다투는 선수들이 나타났지만 경기 운영요원은커녕 안내표지판도 없었다. 표지판은 바람에 쓰러졌고 교통 통제가 이뤄지지 않아 국내 선수들은 달리는 버스와 승용차 사이로 위험하게 달렸다. 선수들이 허둥대는 모습을 본 국내 실업팀의 한 지도자가 뒤이어 따라오는 선수들을 원래 코스로 유도했고 5위 이후 선수들은 제 길을 달렸다.

 피해를 본 체육진흥공단의 한 관계자는 “세계육상선수권대회까지 치른 나라에서 어떻게 이런 일이 있을 수 있느냐”며 혀를 찼다. 연맹과 주최 측은 올해 경주 대회 마라톤 코스를 새로 짰으나 경기 운영요원과 심판들을 제대로 교육하지 않아 사태를 키운 것으로 보인다. 최근 남자 단거리 선수 임희남(27·광주광역시청)의 약물 양성반응 파문을 덮으려다 비난을 받은 육상연맹은 마라톤 코스 이탈 사태까지 겹치면서 총체적 난국을 맞았다.

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