My split for the last mile of the the Bold In The Cold 15K was 9:44, which was surprising because usually I can feel myself slowing down; this mile didn't feel any different from the last few despite being over a minute slower. Turned out, I wasn't slowing down - that mile was about 1.14 miles long because we ran a short out-and-back that's actually part of the race organization's (Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers) 10K course. So my pace was more like 8:30, which would be in line with what I ran over the last three or four miles.
In a perfect world course mistakes would never occur but then again, in a perfect world presidential elections would never be decided by the Supreme Court. When they do happen, it's best to just roll with them if you're a runner, or figure out the discrepancy and get the word out if you're the organizer - which, to their credit, LGRAW did. and I should probably mention that I've run maybe somewhere between ten and fifteen of their races (full disclosure: I'm also a member) and this is the first time that the course was inaccurate. They put on good events, really. Anyway, they did figure out the difference and adjusted the pace in the results - I didn't come up with that .14 figure on my own.
I don't think course accuracy for Bold In The Cold is as crucial as it is for other races - although of course you want as accurate a course as possible - because for most people it's not going to be a PR waiting to happen. First of all, it's in January, obviously, and most people (for example, me) are just starting to resume training. It's also run over a hilly course, especially compared to White Rock Lake - where most of the other area 15Ks are held.
I didn’t hang around for long after the race - there was ultimate to be played that afternoon and I needed to prepare accordingly - so I don’t know if much bitching about the course ensued or if people were even aware of the extra distance. I found out the next day, via the LGRAW Forum. I didn’t see an angry mob surrounding the race director with torches and pitchforks, saying ‘you made us run 9.46 miles, you lousy so-and-so,’ but maybe that happened later. Most runners aren’t going to care too much, so long as for the most part the event went smoothly, but there will be some who get bent out of shape. I ran the Ft. Worth Turkey Trot in 2000; the course wound up being a half mile or so long because we missed an out-and-back down a dead end that we were supposed to run. I finished just ahead of some old guy who was pissed - he paid all this money, the least they could do was have an accurate course! I couldn't relate at all. I wasn't in very good shape at the time and I didn't miss the extra half mile at all; if they had cut off another half mile or so, I'd have been even happier.