VIDEO: On their marks for blaming each other

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A blame row has broken out between organisers of the Sheffield Half Marathon and their water supplier – after it was revealed the water company was not paid.

Water Direct said although an order for temporary tanks at Sunday’s race was placed by organisers, the £3,000 bill was not settled in advance as required.

Confusion at the start line of the Sheffield Half Marathon.

Confusion at the start line of the Sheffield Half Marathon.

It refuted claims it had ‘let down’ organisers by failing to deliver.

Organisers have hit back, saying they did not know the money had to be paid up front, and they were not reminded, as Water Direct claims.

Robert Jackson, chairman of the trustees of Sheffield Marathon Ltd, told The Star: “This is the dispute that exists between the two.

“We are saying we were never told we had to pay in advance, although we could have paid in advance – we are talking about £3,000 of a budget of £160,000. They are saying we were told.

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.

“This is where we are in negotiations with that company, because we could easily have paid for the water in advance but believed that was needed only for first time customers. We believed we could pay afterwards. This is the subject everyone is investigating. We are saying we were not reminded.”

Race organisers and the water firm have each launched investigations.

Mr Jackson insisted the race did not go ahead because ‘the water didn’t arrive’ rather than because payment was not made. When asked how long the investigations would take, he replied: “How long is a piece of string?”

Water Direct, based in Essex, said it had been trying to get organisers to communicate fully since the day of the race on Sunday. “But we have so far received few and mixed messages, from various members of the organising committee,” a spokesman said.

The company, which has supplied water to the half marathon for three years, agreed an order was placed on March 31 – but said payment to ‘confirm the contract and trigger our process of scheduling delivery’ was never made.

The statement added: “We have offered our support to the organisers, who we trust will be examining their own processes to establish why payment was not made on time to ensure delivery of such an essential service.”

‘Runner-up’s’ anger at lack of any prizes

A runner who finished second in the disastrous Sheffield Half Marathon has blasted a ‘shocking’ decision now not to award prizes.

Alex Smith completed the route in memory of Cian Pace, who was killed in a car crash in Sheffield last year aged 19.

The 27-year-old was hoping to donate his prize worth £200 – as well as £850 in sponsorship – to boost funds for a family room at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where Cian was treated.

He had no idea why the race was even axed until he arrived at the finishing line after 74 minutes.

Alex, of Meersbrook, said: “I think it is shocking that they took all that money, going into a contract with runners, and now they aren’t giving out the prizes.

“It’s not a lot to them but it is to small charity causes like this.”

Alex, a former Yorkshire track champion who has raced for Great Britain, returned to training after a long break to help Cian’s family.

Cian saved the lives of four people when his organs were donated following the smash near Brook Hill roundabout in November 2013.

He was a passenger in the car which crashed, and worked as a cleaner at The Stag pub in Nether Edge which Alex runs.

Robert Jackson, chairman of the trustees of Sheffield Marathon Ltd, said the prizes to be given to runners were not cash but vouchers.

And he said the vouchers would not be given out because the run was ‘not a race’ as it had been cancelled.

They will be saved to use next year, or refunded if required, he added.

Mr Jackson also said organisers were ‘hopeful people will think hard’ about persisting with demands for refunds – but denied there will not be any.

“I have not said there are going to be no refunds,” he said. “I said if we paid refunds to everyone, with 5,000 runners, that’s £125,000, and we would go bankrupt. We are taking legal advice on it.”

What you’ve been saying online about the halt marathon water row


“How many years has the Sheffield half marathon been going, and the organisers are unaware that they have to pay in advance? One word, idiots! A bit of communication could have stopped that.”


“What a carry on indeed. You couldn’t make it up. Anyone with half a brain knows that, when organising something like this, you ensure all these things are ready to go at least a week in advance.”


“It defies belief that the directors of the Sheffield Marathon Ltd can collect thousands of pounds in entry fees and turn up on the day without checking that all of the key resources are in place.”


“The comment from the organisers yesterday that they won’t refund the entry fee is scandalous.

“How can they possibly charge when they cancelled the event?”


“It is an utter farce. I hope the Tour de France is cancelled so we are not a worldwide fiasco, only a national one.”

LS Sheffield

“Mickey Mouse organisation skills.”


“It’s pretty normal for payment for any services or goods that can’t be returned after they’ve been used to be paid for in advance. Otherwise the supplier has no way of reclaiming its property when you’ve failed to pay.”