'Disappointing': HOKA runners didn't complete full half marathon on South Side, organizers reveal

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
HOKA runners didn't complete full half marathon, organizers reveal
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How far is a half marathon? HOKA organizers revealed the 2022 race in Jackson Park, Chicago on the South Side was 0.5 miles short.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are no signs of the HOKA Chicago Half Marathon in Jackson Park that happened Sunday.

But, there has been an adjustment online. The distance that had been advertised as 13.1 miles is now 12.6.

"Disappointing," said runner Jessie Steele. "I paid a lot of money to run."

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Steele said she began training in April with 13.1 miles as her goal. She said after the turn around, she noticed her tracker was not showing the same distance as the course markers.

"I wanted to get that full experience I wanted to be able to say I ran a full half marathon, but ultimately, I didn't do that," Steele said.

On Tuesday, the spokeswoman for the event said a late request from the city caused the change and offered a statement.

"We apologize to all participants for the lack of advance notice of this change," the statement said, in part. "As opposed to delaying or canceling the event entirely, which would have been the required alternative, race operations chose to proceed with the event."

The Chicago Department of Transportation said the city requested a change due to safety concerns.

"The city requested a change to the course route to ensure the safety of race participants due to a conflict with vehicles around 31st Street," CDOT said.

Officials said there were traffic flow issues related to Solider Field at 31st Street.

Tim Bradley is the interim executive director of the Chicago Area Runners' Association.

"You've got to have accurate courses. You might have people who are trying to qualify for different races. You could have age group records. There's all types of different things that are at stake," Bradley said.

He said they actually had to change a 20-mile training run through Jackson Park the weekend before due to construction.

"I'm sure the runners were frustrated. We put on events ourselves. We are actually sympathetic to both sides, definitely have challenges on event day that can come up," Bradley said.

As for Steele, she is still proud of her accomplishment, but would like a refund and in future, for organizers to inform runners of distance changes before the race starts.