Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An Off Course Dilemma Question

I was chatting with another runner, after the Zion 100 race.  I had told him I missed the right hand turn, and continued down the road, until some kind crew member drove by and told me I had missed the turn.

The other runner asked if the driver gave me a ride back, which I replied no, I never really even thought about asking.  I can't remember if the other runner said he had done the same thing,  (in a different race) but he got a car ride back to the spot where he went off course.

So what is your take on this?  It's generally accepted if you go off course at a race, you return to the spot where you left the course, and then resume the race.

Is it  "cheating"  for a runner to accept a ride back to where you left the course?  I really do not know the answer to this.
 I don't think this is generally addressed in "Race Rules" handbook.  I've seen where some races will specifically say no crewing or pacing from a vehicle or a bike.  But what about lost souls out there?  Is there a rule for that?

I just figured it was my own dumb ass fault for wandering so far down the road, and it was up to me to make up the miles back to where the turn off was.

Is there one answer? 


  1. I do not believe there is "1" answer. Depends on the individual and each race and their rules.

    Would have been quite tempting to get a ride back to your missed turn if that was allowable.

  2. Most races do state in rules that if a runner gets off course, he/she has to return back under his/her OWN power. The only one race I am aware of with rules specifying OK for using other means is Badwater.

  3. Hmmm. I know in Badwater, you can leave the course by car to go find A/C and/or sleep in a motel and you just have to return to the place where you left the course when you continue. I suppose that ought to be allowable in any race, technically, but good question.

  4. I have not seen this in any rules of races I've run, but my own personal opinion is that it should be allowable. I say this because the overall point is to cover the race distance. If someone gives you a lift back to the error, I can't see how this in any way compromises the integrity of your finish. It's the equivalent of sitting at an aid station for way too long, in my opinion.

  5. Great question... I made a wrong turn in a 1/2 marathon (I went with the 5k runners) admittedly I was wearing headphones and cranking tunes, I'm sure someone was directing me, but I didn't hear it.

    When I realized my mistake I had to double back and looked into the eyes of support vehicles to offer me a ride... nobody did.


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