After a snafu that caused many runners to go an extra half-mile, the race director of Sunday’s Maine Coast Marathon apologized and is offering refunds to those who were attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

“We’re going to offer a full refund for this year and free entry into next year,” said race director Charles Melton. “That’s all we can do here unless (Boston Athletic Association, which runs the Boston Marathon) allows us to do more.”

Melton apologized on Facebook on Monday for the mistake. He planned on sending out an email Monday night explaining how to apply for the refund. The entry fees this year ranged from $75 to $95.

“Unfortunately it happened,” said Ward Boudreau, of Gardiner. “I’m not blaming anyone, no one would do that on purpose. Hearing (about the refund) is nice but honestly the only reason I ran that race was to qualify for Boston. Right now I’m at six in a row for Boston and I’m trying to maintain that streak. But I don’t have a time that will get me in next year.”

Boudreau, 41, finished with a time of 3:13.53 – under the Boston qualifying time of 3:15.00. But he is now on a bubble because other runners may post better qualifying times and knock him out. He figures the detour cost him about 3:30.

“I’ll be surprised if Boston can do anything about it,” he said.

Similar incidents, where a course has been long or short, have happened at other marathons, in South Carolina two years ago and in Portland, Oregon, last year. But in those instances, all the runners ran the same course so times could be adjusted accordingly.

But not all of the 643 finishers Sunday ran the extra half-mile. Melton said that would make adjusting the times difficult. Still, he said he has contacted the BAA to see if anything can be done.

The Maine Coast Marathon runs from Kennebunk High School through Kennebunkport to the finish line at the University of New England.

For some reason, the course marshal just before Mile 12 directed runners to a dead end dirt road, instead of keeping them straight. Knowing that the marathon course had been changed this year to include such a turnaround, many runners simply completed the loop. Some, however, realized a mistake was made and turned around before getting to the end of the dead end.

Eventually, Melton said another race official drove past Mile 12 and noticed what was happening. He quickly corrected the course marshal and informed race officials. The actual turnaround was near Mile 20.

Melton said that based on results, it appears that 31 runners had their attempts to qualify for Boston affected by the detour, but admitted that there were perhaps many others who slowed down after the detour after realizing they would not make the qualifying standard, which is different for age groups. They can also apply for the refund.

He said 43 runners had qualified for Boston, “even with that extra half-mile.” But he realizes that some of them might get bumped out of Boston by runners with better qualifying times.

“When it comes time for Boston entries, if you ran a qualifying time and get bumped, we’ll extend the same (refund) offer,” said Melton.

Laurel Jones, of Somerville, Massachusetts, ran a time of 3:33.54, under the Boston qualifying time (3:35.00) for her age group, but is unsure if she will make it in the Boston field.

“It was devastating,” she said after finding out about the extra half-mile. “(The refund is) something but it still pretty frustrating that I will never know the actual time I ran for this marathon. The way training works, this was a four- to five-month commitment.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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