Chaos at abandoned Sheffield half marathon

There have been chaotic scenes at the Sheffield half marathon. Due to a lack of water supplies the event was cancelled at the last minute but most of the 5,000 runners defied the order and set off to complete the course.

Live updates

Row continues over water supplies at Sheffield half marathon

The organisers of the Sheffield half marathon are at at loggerheads with the firm which failed to supply water for the event, about who is to blame. Water Direct said organisers made an order, but despite sending reminders - no payment was received.

Sheffield Half Marathon say they were "let down" by the company and tonight the city council have said comments from Water Direct conflict with the information provided to the event's organising committee.

“We refute the comments made by Water Direct. The information they have provided at this stage conflicts with the information provided to the Sheffield Half Marathon organising committee. We thank everyone involved in the event for their continued patience during our investigation, which is still continuing. There are a number of other organisations involved who have to be consulted in handling this issue.”

– A spokesperson for the Sheffield Half Marathon organising committee,

Investigation begins into marathon confusion

A full investigation has been launched into events surrounding Sheffield's annual half marathon which saw the race cancelled at the last minute - causing widespread chaos and confusion.

The organisers have apologised to thousands of runners who set off in defiance of a health and safety ruling because water supplies hadn't arrived in time. Tonight there is anger that there is no sign of a refund for those who didn't run on the instructions of race marshalls.

From Sheffield, David Hirst reports.

Advertisement

Investigation launched into Sheffield marathon cancellation

Organisers of the Sheffield Half Marathon have started a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the 2014 event.

Runners were left confused when the race was delayed, then cancelled

They did not say if those caught up in what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called a "farcical situation" would receive refunds. That is due to form part of the investigation.

Sunday's race was cancelled "due to a problem with the delivery of water", which was met with anger when announced by the organisers on Twitter and Facebook.

South Yorkshire Police said that despite the cancellation, a large number of participants still ran the event.

Organisers said the investigation will examine the key issues, including lack of water delivery, which informed the committee's decision to cancel the race.

They said: "The race organisers will also be looking into the communication at the start line which appeared to leave some runners completing the race unaware that it had been cancelled.

"However every effort will be made to ensure that the event's 10 official charities still benefit from the thousands of pounds raised by runners' fundraising."

Margaret Lilley, chairwoman of the organising committee, said: "Our internal investigation into the situation will specifically focus on the circumstances which contributed to our suppliers failing to deliver the water bowsers as expected.

"The requirements for an official race dictate that there is an appropriate amount of water available at every three-mile interval on the course. At previous events we have always taken delivery of the water on the morning of the race and our suppliers have proven very reliable in this respect.

However, this was not the case for the 2014 event and ultimately it was the key factor informing our decision to cancel the race."

Organisers apologise for marathon chaos

The organisers of Sheffield's half marathon which was called off yesterday over a lack of water for runners, have apologised.

Most of the 5,000 participants defied the last minute cancellation and completed the course.

Those behind the race defended the decision saying water has to be available at three mile intervals.

Former Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, says it could have been avoided:

Race organisers apologise and reveal investigation underway

Sheffield Half Marathon organisers have explained why the decision was taken to cancel the prestigious race event for the first time in its 33 year history. They added a full investigation is underway into the circumstances behind why the original water order was not delivered.

The requirements for an official race dictate that there is an appropriate amount of water available at every three mile interval.

“It is with huge disappointment and regret that we were forced to cancel the 2014 half marathon because of a problem with the delivery of water. We apologise to all the runners, their families and friends and anyone who has supported the event. We delayed the start while we made every attempt to source alternative supplies, but it became clear that we were never likely to get the sufficient amount appropriate to allow the race to continue safely,”

“We made the difficult announcement to cancel the event, but in typical Sheffield spirit and enthusiasm a large percentage of the runners set off along the route, determined to complete the 13.1 miles after many months of hard training, and to fulfil their commitment to raise money for the ten local charities. We were delighted to see so many businesses and residents trying to help the situation. Literally hundreds of people were offering bottles of water and organisations such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee joined in.

– Margaret Lilley chairperson of the organising committee

She added that a number of runners who completed the course did require medical attention, including some in hospital, mostly as a result of lack of hydration.4,100 completed the route and each were given a time so that those running for charities could collect their sponsorship money.

“People may not always appreciate the importance of hydration and water intake when running long distances. We fully support the decision to cancel the event and protect the runners’ health and welfare than let the event go ahead and potentially end up with even more people needing medical attention.”

– Robert Kent MD of UK Event Medical Services who were employed to provide medical support at the event

Advertisement

International newspaper coverage for the half marathon

Events in Sheffield today are making international headlines with features in both Holland and New Zealand. A Dutch newspaper and the NZ Herald are both running stories.

In de Noord-Engelse stad Sheffield is de halve marathon uitgelopen op een chaos door gebrek aan drinkwater voor de deelnemers. De leverancier had te weinig flesjes gebracht waardoor werd besloten om de wedstrijd af te blazen.

– NOS

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) The Sheffield half-marathon has been canceled due to a lack of water, with the last-minute announcement prompting angry reaction from the competitors.

The race was due to take place on Sunday but organizers said they had to cancel the event "due to a problem with the delivery of water."

Police said that despite the cancellation a large number of participants had still chosen to run the race.

Several runners reacted with anger to the announcement on Facebook, with a competitor bemoaning a "terrible lack of communication."

– New Zealand Herald
  1. National

Clegg demands 'full explanation' after 'farcical' race

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for a "full explanation" into the "farcical" events of the Sheffield half-marathon.

Read: Half-marathon cancelled due to 'insufficient water'

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Press Association

The event was cancelled at the least minute due to water supply issues, but some runners continued anyway, and members of the public supplied water for them.

Read: Public water support for runners who defied race ban

Mr Clegg said:

"Everyone involved deserves a full explanation of how this farcical situation was allowed to happen. Sheffield is an outstanding city of sport. The extraordinary scenes today shouldn't tarnish that reputation.

"The fact that runners who had carried on regardless were still well supplied with water thanks to spectators, tells you everything you need to know about Sheffield people."

Nick Clegg calls for explanation from organisers of 'chaotic' race

The Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg wants a "full explanation" from organisers who cancelled the Sheffield half marathon due to insufficient water supplies for runners.

Although the race was officially cancelled, many of the 5,000 taking part decided to go ahead and run. Nick Clegg has demanded a ‘full explanation’ from race organisers and praised spectators who handed out their own water to runners.

"I know thousands of people have trained long and hard for this event, with many running for some outstanding local charities and others coming from around the country to take part or watch. I can only imagine how disappointed they must have been when they learned that the race was cancelled as they were on the start line ready to set off.

"Everyone involved deserves a full explanation of how this farcical situation was allowed to happen. Sheffield is an outstanding city of sport. The extraordinary scenes today shouldn't tarnish that reputation.

– Nick Clegg MP

"The fact that runners who had carried on regardless were still well supplied with water thanks to spectators, tells you everything you need to know about Sheffield people."

– Nick Clegg MP
Load more updates Back to top