A Real Shame: Milwaukee Marathon Was Almost a Mile Too Short

mexico city marathon
Written by Charlie

The recent Milwaukee Marathon was almost a mile too short, costing runners their qualifying times for other races and the overall feeling of satisfaction of completing a marathon.

This is a real blow to every single marathoner that lined up for this marathon this past weekend. They found out after they finished (with what some runners felt was an absolutely incredible time for them) that the course was actually 4,200 feet short – almost an entire mile less than the certified 26.2 miles of a genuine course.

Milwaukee Marathon Was Almost a Mile Too Short

To non-runners, a course that was actually a little short may not sound like a big deal. After all, the runners finished the race and received medals. But, it is a huge deal for any runners that were trying to qualify for any other USATF-certified race (like the Boston Marathon). Since the actual course that the race ran on was short, non of the runners who ran this past weekend in the PNC Milwaukee Marathon will be considered for any other race that requires a qualifying time.


milwaukee marathon

It is also a big deal for runners that were not qualifying for some other race. After all, we run this distance because we enjoy competing against ourselves in pushing our time envelope. To find out that your time doesn’t really matter since you didn’t actually run a marathon is a big disappointment. Being about 8/10s of a mile short means that a runner that maybe just broke 4 hours for the first time would actually have had a time more like 4:07 and change. That is a big difference!

Also, how about the first time marathoners? There were some of them in this race as well and now they have had that great accomplishment taken from them as they finished a 25.4 mile race, not the 26.2 miles of a marathon. Ouch, that would really hurt!

But It Had Been USATF-Certified!

The race was advertised to runners as being USATF-certified – and it was. But someone on the race staff improperly set up the turnaround point around miles 22 which left the overall course short.

milwaukee marathon

Where the Milwaukee Marathon fell short

This is a huge error and one that cost these runners something. I mean, each runner paid the race organizers between $80 and $100 to run a course that they were assured was certified. Some of these runners had trained hard to try for that Boston qualifier for 2019. Imagine their excitement when they crossed the line and either saw that they just made it or maybe that their finishing time left them with enough cushion to assure entry to the Boston Marathon.

And then to find out that the course was short and their results would not count. This is not simple thing. It isn’t like they can just go out next week and run another marathon. So, I certainly feel for everyone of the 587 finishers of the 2017 PNC Milwaukee Marathon. At the very least, they should be given some sort of refund or an entry to the race next year.

If that is not enough, this is actually the 2nd year in a row with course problems – last year, the course was too long! Seriously, this is an embarrassment for this city marathon and I wonder how many runners will stick it out to try a third time with them.


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Maybe if you ran last year and this year you could do an average BQ 🙂

    This is bad. For an average middle of the pack slow guy like me it might not be the end of the world but imagine you are a top marathoner and just trying to get your BQ race out of the way and then find out you have to re-qualify. What a pain.