BREAKING: Sheffield half marathon organisers launch probe into water fiasco

Confusion at the start line of the Sheffield Half Marathon.
Confusion at the start line of the Sheffield Half Marathon.
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Organisers of the Sheffield Half Marathon have started a ‘full investigation’ into the circumstances of yesterday’s cancelled race.

A statement said the probe would ‘carefully examine all the key issues, including lack of water delivery, which informed the committee’s decision to cancel the race.’

Communication at the start line and the possibility of refunds for runners will also be looked into.

The statement said: “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, chairman 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.

“To compound the situation it appears that many runners did not fully hear the announcement we made at the start line cancelling the event. As a result many of the participants proceeded to run the course. So, once they had set off, our number one priority was to ensure their safety along the length of the route.

“We are extremely grateful to runners for the patience they have shown so far. Indeed as part of our investigation, we will take on board any comments and questions we receive.

“The outcome and findings from our investigation will be made publicly available in due course.

“After many months of planning and hard work by our team of volunteers to put on an event with the ultimate aim of raising vital funds for local charities, it was incredibly disappointing to cancel the event.

“Our committee is a not-for-profit group of volunteers, who are 100 per cent committed to the local community through the delivery of an event that raises money for charity – and one of the only races left where all money goes to charity.

“In the 33 years of running the event, we have brought significant financial benefit to the local economy and businesses by increasing the footfall of people into Sheffield for this popular event.

“Once again, we apologise to all the runners, their families and friends and anyone else who has supported the event. We are committed to carrying out a thorough and comprehensive investigation examining all the key issues including water delivery, communications issues and refunds for runners.

“The Sheffield Half Marathon has been a key Sheffield sporting institution for 33 years over and we’re hopeful the event will return in 2015.”