Response to Open Letter:
I understand where this runner is coming from, in theory, you pay your entry fee and you should be entitled to all of the services the faster runners receive. However, as a practical matter, marathons are expensive, everything costs money and most of it is paid by the hour. For example, photographers are paid $50 per hour, paying half a dozen photographers an extra hour is $300. The same goes for just about everyone working the event. At least the paid workers will stay as long as they are being paid, but the volunteers will not. Half of your volunteers will be gone after 5 hours, at 6 you will down to just a few and at 7 hours you are probably down to 0. Some resources are only contracted for 6 or 7 hours and sometimes they have to leave simply because they have something else to do. Also as a very practical matter, at certain point batteries and generators start to die and when it is wet, cold or hot, you reach a point where physically you can't take it anymore. The first marathon I ran had a 5-hour cutoff, then for many years it was 6, now I see some that are 7. 7 hours equals 16 minutes per mile...no disrespect, but that's walking. I don't think you can say you ran a marathon if you walked the entire way.
With all of that said, as a rule, I have always kelp my events live until the last person came in. Recently, I had to backtrack on that when I saw someone go into a hotel to use the restroom and another person walking with a Starbucks coffee. The people working the event are there 2 hours before you get there and at least an hour after you leave. I have worked marathons where my hands were so frozen numb that I could no drive or so exhausted from being out in the heat that I nearly passed out. Everyone needs to be fair to everyone!