When Heidi Bretscher crossed the finish line at this year’s Rock N’ Roll Raleigh, North Carolina, marathon, she was not happy.
“I’m a little frustrated,” Bretscher told ABC 11.. “I ran three miles off course because I didn’t know which way to run in the race.”
“Usually when you cross the finish line, you’re really excited. I wasn’t excited,” she said. “I was just really nervous that I was going to get in trouble because I didn’t stay on course.”
The confusion came from a split near Lake Johnson whereas runners in the marathon could go either right or left, but choosing the incorrect path would put competitors, following lead bicycles, in the wrong direction.
“I saw Mile 18 while I was on the trail. However, I never saw Mile 19 and eventually it became clear that we were off track,” Bretscher said.
She then asked the lead bikers on the race what she should do, but nobody really knew, so she ran around Lake Johnson.
Bretscher found a cop eventually who tried to put her in the right direction, but he left her back off at Mile 17 where her original troubles began.
“I was trying to talk to people there and eventually a second police officer was kind enough to drive me back on to the race. He dropped me off around mile 22,” she said. “At that point, I had to start running again, but it been about half an hour since I stopped trying because I didn’t know where to run anymore.”
Bretscher said she was on pace to run her best time ever before her troubles began.
“One of the hardest things for me, actually, was when I was in the car with the second police officer. I heard the male runner winning the race, and I knew I should have been really close to the finish line at that point,” she said. “So that was really discouraging for me, but I was still so determined to win.”
She did eventually win.
According to ABC 11, Competitor Group Inc. said that Bretscher was the only runner affected by the course, and as a silver lining, they’re offering her a second shot at one of their other marathons, free of charge.
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