‘Ranarchists’ carry on despite water shortage

They're off, or are they? Sheffield Half Marathon competitors set off despite the race being officially cancelled due to lack of water.
They're off, or are they? Sheffield Half Marathon competitors set off despite the race being officially cancelled due to lack of water.
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Thousands of plucky runners dubbed themselves the ‘ranarchists’ today - after rebelling against Sheffield Half Marathon officials’ orders not to race because of a shortage of water.

By the final count 4,100 athletes passed the finishing line, most of whom will now be able to fulfil donations promised to good causes.

Along the route, spectators handed out cups of water while shops and businesses also stepped in providing drinks.

Many runners had no idea the race was even off.

Christian Evans, 21, from Kelham Island, ran the half marathon successfully with his girlfriend Louise.

“We went to the start line expecting a 9am start,” he said. “Then we heard over the tannoy the start had been delayed. We didn’t hear anything else. We waited for ages until about 10am, then we set off.

“I had no idea there was a problem with water. There were people on the street handing out water and sweets.

“I had no idea I was a ‘rebel runner’ until I finished. It’s a farce.”

Athlete John Jeffries said water was plentiful - because of crowds’ generosity.

“There was plenty of water because practically every spectator was waving bottles of water,” he said. “I had more to drink than I have ever had in a half marathon!”

Runner David Pearson, who also took part oblivious to the cancellation, said he was ‘extremely grateful to the complete strangers who bought me a drink of water’.

“I could not hear any announcement that the event had been cancelled, and ran the race entirely under the assumption it was going ahead as planned,” he said.

Mandy Moore, from Totley Athletics Club, said many runners didn’t hear announcements. “We were waiting in pens for over an hour - everyone was getting cold,” she said.

Fellow club member Catherine Robertson said: “Everyone wanted to run regardless. I always have water with me anyway. The downside is we didn’t get an official time.”

Runner Laura Ellis praised Sheffielders for providing drinks for participants.

“People near the back were not told the race was cancelled, only that there was a delay,” she said.

“I’ve been told I ran at my own risk. I ran six miles without a drink, only to be given one by the lovely people of Sheffield.”

Student Joe Elliot, 19, also completed the course.

“The race was saved from disaster by the great people of Sheffield who showed what the city is really made of,” he said.

Organisers said ‘a number of people’ who ran required medical attention, including the transportation of ‘some’ to hospital, ‘mostly as a result of lack of hydration’.

UK Event Medical Services, employed to provide medical support, said they ‘fully support’ the decision to cancel.