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Running notebook: Small glitch

When it comes to a marathon, there's always an unexpected glitch. One popped  up and bit me on Sunday.

I picked up the results of the Buffalo Marathon and Half-Marathon at about 11:15 a.m. That's more than four hours after the start, which allowed 50 finishers for men and women in both. I wrote my story based on those results.

I always like to include top local runners for the marathon when I can. So I recognized the best Western New York finishers in the marathon in the story.

On Monday, I got a somewhat sheepish note from the local male "top finisher." It seems that he had entered the full marathon, ran several miles and decided to just do the half-marathon. He went left, instead of straight, and crossed the finish line less than three hours after starting. The problem was that he never told anyone he had cut short his run, and his chip was registered for the full marathon. Our runner was apologetic and thought the real local leader deserved the credit. (Steve Bohan, this is your substitute moment of glory.)

This actually happens quite a bit. Jeff John from buffalorunners.com spent most of Sunday trying to sort out the names and races, an effort which is more heroic than merely unsung. I've talked with race officials to tell them about this situation. They seem to think it would be easy to put some sort of timing mat at the halfway point of the marathon. Then, they'd know who crossed it on the way to completing the full marathon. Those who didn't cross the mat could be taken off the marathon list. It's another item on the list of things to fix for 2013.

For the most part, though, I heard few complaints about the race. The number of entrants was up by something like 20 percent. The change in the course went over well. It's good to see the race doing so well.

Shorter distances are on tap for this weekend. Here's the schedule, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* Brian Dugan Memorial Scholarship 5K, Lincoln Park in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. Friday.

* Woods Walk and Trail Run, Assorted, Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville, 8 a.m. Saturday, 933-0187.

* Flight 3407 Memorial Race, 5K, Clarence Town Hall Grove in Clarence Center, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 636-0209.

* Running Water 5K, Northtown Center at Amherst, 10 a.m. Saturday, 536-3004. I ran this race last year, and organizers did a good job. Good to see it back for Year Two.

* Run the 'Burg for Autism 5K, 4236 Clark St. in Hamburg, 11 a.m. Saturday, 572-3613. This has taken over the spot formally filled by the Kyle Reid run, and continues to draw big crowds.

* Juneteenth Run for Health 5K, 585 William St. in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 830-6560. I'm glad I don't live in the neighborhood when the P.A. system comes on at full blast on a Sunday morning. But this always has been a very runner-friendly race with good people running the show. 

* Buffalo Orienteering Runs, 5K & 10K trail runs, Hunter's Creek Park in Wales, 10 a.m. Sunday, 652-8727.

--- Budd Bailey

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