VOLUNTEERS BEHIND Sheffield’s biggest road race are stepping down after 30 years’ service after this year’s event descended into farce.
Sheffield Half Marathon’s directors and organising committee, made up of local people who have helped to raise more than £1.5m for charity since setting up in 1982, have called time on their involvement in the annual
The team has faced a storm of criticism since it cancelled the event at the last minute on April 6 owing to a lack of water. Organisers said they had been “let down” by supplier Water Direct, but the company denied the claim and blamed non-payment for its failure to deliver.
Robert Jackson, outgoing chairman of Sheffield Marathon Ltd, said: “For the runners, we can once again only apologise for the upset and inconvenience caused by the safety officer’s decision to cancel the race. After all the hard work, training and fundraising done in the months leading up to the race it must have been devastating to end in this way without the opportunity to fully complete personal goals.
“However, we also wanted to take this opportunity to place on record the distress and upset this situation has caused us.
“In no way are we are seeking any sympathies from runners, the general public or media, but there comes a time when enough is enough and a sense of proportion has to prevail. We did not expect anyone to be pleased by the decision to cancel, but nothing could have prepared us what followed.”
Thousands of runners who had assembled on the starting line when the announcement was made still went ahead with the race, while others who signed up are continuing to press for refunds on entry fees.
Mr Jackson added: “On the day of the event and since there have been personal attacks on some of the committee members, some of who have received abusive emails, calls and letters to their workplaces and homes.
“None of us wanted this to happen or end like this.
“The last few weeks have been some of the worst of our lives.”
Talks are now underway over a potential takeover for the event.