First off, the Dallas White Rock Marathon, Half and Relays make up an awesome event. The organization is generally great, the volunteers are amazing and police force controlling the course work very hard. I don't wan't to take anything away from this.
However, incorporating multiple events into a marathon is challenging, and White Rock has hiccups like any other. The half marathon course is a bit convoluted, and my best guess is that many half marathoners ran the wrong way (or were directed the wrong way) and that some marathoners even ran the wrong way.
I do know that any half marathoner who was directed to the marathon finish ran 400 meters shorter than if he/she went to the half marathon finish in the final 1.5 miles.
I am not sure if Fasil and Valentine, and/or any of the other top male finishers went towards the marathon finish. But I do know for sure that the 3rd place finisher in the marathon, followed me to the half marathon finish (as he was directed) and thus ran an extra 75-80 seconds. In fact, when I directed him towards the organizers in the chute, he was quite distressed. I think some people forget that this is the livelihood of some of these professional runners. I tried to make sure the organizers understood he was directed the wrong way.
There were no signs directing half vs. marathon runners at the last diversion (past the 25 mile mark). There were volunteers yelling, who in general were awesome, but at this intersection it was definitely not enough. I was pleased he was given his much-deserved 3rd place finish regardless, although his time reflected (2:18:11) is slower than he actually ran for a marathon (~2:16:55).
The reverse happened to the top 2 women in the half, who did finish in the wrong place, running shorter than those who finished in the supposed correct spot.
Furthermore, I realize that online mapping tools are not that accurate, however the race as some of us ran it was about a half mile long. Even if the mapping tools are not that accurate, a direct comparison with last year's half route shows that this year was 0.4 miles longer than in 2005.
This doesn't explain my absolutely horrible performance personally, but it didn't help!
Finally, Fasil is a bad ass. To run 1:03 (or 1:04 if they went the shorter way) over that route yesterday in windy conditions (15-20 mph) was just amazing. I agree with the sentiment that he will be a great road racer, I venture he already is! Frankly, I would not be suprised if he is one of the top 5 runners in the country in the coming years over longer distances. Fasil, Valentine and the other 2 runners in the lead group were exciting to watch (albeit briefly)!