“Before it was everybody and their brother coming through there,” said Jon Hulsey, course director. “Now the halves will be on the left side of the roadway and the fulls on the right side. We will be able to spot the winners real easy.”
There are other changes along the course designed to lessen the congestion such as adding more running lanes, moving some relay exchanges and placing water stops on both sides of Classen.
“There have been bottlenecks in the past on different areas of the course,” Hulsey said. “We are trying to eliminate those bottlenecks.”
Hulsey knows firsthand the issues on the course. He ran the marathon for eight years before becoming the course director last year.
The course changes were necessary because the number of participants in the event is getting so large, he said.
Had the cones been in place on the course in 2010, Thompson said there might have been a different winner in the women's marathon.
Jenny Graef of Norman led for most of the race but was caught at the tape by former University of Oklahoma track All-American Catherine Lisle and lost by one-hundredth of a second.
Graef was caught in the traffic and had to waste a lot of energy navigating the crowd down the stretch, Thompson said. She also didn't know Lisle was so close behind her, he said.
“Kat kind of got lost in all the runners,” Thompson said. “Jenny had no idea she was behind her because of all the runners blocking her view.”