Well turds. Two weeks, two marathons, two major issues. The HITS Marathon was a total mustard duck. The Heartland Marathon (Omaha Running Club) was just barely better. The top two finishers removed from the results.
The Heartland Marathon was conducted on an open course last weekend. Primarily on sidewalks, on both sides of the Missouri River. Not a legitimate road course at all. You all know my position about running marathons on sidewalks. Riverside Trail is not fit for Real Racing, no matter which side of the mighty Mo.
An “Open Course” means that you will encounter bikers, runners, and walkers on that sidewalk. Going both directions. Fluster Truck. Why in the world would you offer such a product?
A whole lot more than logistical nightmares however. The top two finishers in the marathon were removed from the results. Overall winner Chuck Engle was removed. He is one of the most accomplished and prolific marathoners in America. SUB 3 Marathon Wins all 50 States. Veteran of well over 400 marathons. 50 States Sub 2:50. Sub 3 all 50 2X. How the hell does this guy get removed from the results? Chuck has filed an appeal with the national leadership of RRCA. With class and grace.
Second place finisher Tim Fry was removed. Tim was caught up in an open course invitation to disaster.
The Heartland Marathon served as the RRCA State Championships. Tim was removed from the results, citing USATF rule even though the event was not sanctioned by USA Track & Field. USATF requires a Referee and Jury of Appeals. RRCA I’m not so sure about. Just glad that Chuck will get a Fair Hearing by those who make it their business making sure things are done right.
Nebraska Marathon coming up October 14. A survey of the course indicates the “Riverside Trail” will be used once again. In the meantime, I sit here shaking my head slowly side to side. Insisting to myself that Nebraska runners deserve a closed road marathon. USATF Certified and Sanctioned.
Until then, Heartland Heartbreak.