02/22/2012 02:19 pm ET

Half-Marathon Route Signs Moved By Pranksters, Riling Runners In North Wales Race

Imagine enduring months of training for a half-marathon and crossing the finish line only to learn you might have not completed the entire race.

That was the case for about 40 runners participating in the Village Bakery Half Marathon in North Wales who were pointed in the wrong direction by misplaced signs, the BBC reports.

Pranksters reportedly moved at least two signs meant to mark the race route for runners.

As a result, only three of the first fifteen runners to cross the finish line actually ran the full distance, according to Yahoo! Sports. The others came up about two miles too short, according to the BBC.

Officials from the Wrexham Athletics Club, which organized the event, noticed the error during the race and later released a statement on the club's website empathizing with the frustrated athletes:

Wrexham AC appreciate that all of you, like us, are very annoyed and frustrated by these actions as we know how hard you all train and how important an accurate time is to you. Some of you have travelled [sic] many miles to be with us and this we really appreciate and we can understand that you will be particularly frustrated.

Still, the motive behind the practical joke remains unclear to chairman David Alun Williams.

“I have no idea why anyone should want to do this. The half marathon has been taking place for years without any trouble at all,” Williams told the Leader.

Nearly 500 runners ran the 13.1-mile race on Feb. 19 and the Wrexham Athletics Club has advised runners who may have finished with unexpectedly short times to note they may have fallen victim to the altered route.