Organizers hope they have eliminated wrong turns from the fifth annual Blue Nose International Marathon.
A slightly altered race route and coloured bibs are two of the steps taken to help Sunday’s Blue Nose go off without a hitch after last year’s setup led to a chaotic day for runners.
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Last year’s route funneled more than 5,000 participants of the 5K, 10K, half and full marathon up Agricola Street. With each event requiring its own separate turnoff, volunteers struggled to point runners in the right direction.
One woman was even declared the Blue Nose champ until it was revealed she had taken a wrong turn.
This year, the northbound route is twinned between Maynard and Agricola, splitting traffic from the four events. The coloured bibs, meanwhile, will make life easier for volunteers.
“Bottom line, we didn’t do a very good job managing it last year,” said Blue Nose co-chair Rod McCulloch. “They’re not on the same street now so you don’t have that confusion. We know who (the runners) are and where they need to turn, and with coloured bibs, volunteers can tell who’s who more easily.”
An improved system is particularly important because participation numbers are projected to climb to 9,000 from last year’s 7,800. Those numbers include Saturday’s youth run.
McCulloch estimated that 6,300 have already signed up, including more than 4,000 for Sunday’s adult events.
“We’re very much on target at this point,” said McCulloch, noting that there is typically a rush of last-minute signups.
“Our rallying cry is 9,000 in 2009 and 10,000 in 2010.”
McCulloch said if the numbers continue to grow in the future, the Blue Nose will consider holding some of its adult events, such as the 5K and the 10K, on Saturday.
“Eventually trying to run all four adult events on Sunday will be too much,” he said. “That’s in the future.”
Saturday’s youth run is at 11 a.m. at the Town Clock. Sunday’s events begin at 9 a.m. at the same location.