BREWER, Maine — Runners in Saturday morning’s second annual Chamberlain March 5-kilometer fun run took a right shortly after exiting the start gate when they should have turned left, one runner said.
Local police could be heard on the emergency radio scanner asking questions back and forth about if the runners took the wrong route, and one commented that, “When they get to Holden, they’ll turn around.”
The wrong turn or two added about a mile to the 5K. The 5K distance is equal to 3.1 miles.
“In the end, most of us runners — there was about 100 — ended up running about four miles,” said Orono resident Tonya Pickering, who ran the 5K fun run while her son Tyler White ran the simultaneous Chamberlain March Half Marathon.
The Maine Infantry Foundation hosted the Chamberlain March Half Marathon and fun run to raise money for a college scholarship fund set up for the children of Maine’s fallen soldiers. Darryl Lyon, vice president of the group, said in an email he was embarrassed runners lost their way. Next year’s race will be better marked, he said.
The 5K race started near the Brewer armory on Elm Street and then went down the Elm Street hill. At the end of Elm Street, runners were supposed to turn left toward Bucksport, but turned right and proceeded up South Main Street before turning around near the Big Apple convenience store and heading back down South Main.
“It was a fluke,” said Pickering, who is an administrative manager at the Bangor Daily News. “All the money went to a good cause and no one asked for a refund.”
Pickering also said the race times are messed up because of the extended route, saying her average mile time jumped by nearly 3 minutes.
“The half marathon was very smooth. No problems,” she said, relaying information from her son, a senior at Orono High School.
Jaron Jones, 20, from Old Town crossed the finish line first in the half marathon with Adam Goode, 29, on his heels, according to the Sub5 Track Club’s website. Jones finished in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 15 seconds while women’s winner Sarah Mulcahy of Baring Pit recorded a time of 1:28:34.
The fun run was won by Vijay Kataria, 24, of Castine (22:39), and 16-year-old Jon Stanhope of Bangor took second. Erzsie Nagy of Albion won the women’s race in 25:23.
At one point near the end of the 5K, some runners turned onto Century Street, which is a dead end street, Pickering said. The turn was supposed to take the runners on a street that connected to Parkway South, which is visible from the end of Century Street. The end of Parkway South leads to a four-way stop that includes Elm Street and the race’s start/finish line.
“It’s follow the leader,” Pickering said. “We ran through someone’s backyard to get to Parkway South.”
All in all, the group simply got a little extra exercise, she said.
“If you’re training for a 5K, what’s an extra mile?” Pickering said.