Ready, steady, go, stop... Taking part in the run that never was

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IT was an event they had spent months training for.

However, many of the thousands of runners who participated in yesterday’s race were last night left wondering whether their time had been recorded or would even stand after the annual Sheffield Half Marathon descended into a shambles.

Runners told how they did not realise that the race had been cancelled until they crossed 
the finish line to be told the devastating news by friends and family.

However, there gratitude to the crowds who handed out bottles to the runners after learning there had been a problem with the water supply for the race.

Alasdair Menmuir, of Sheffield, who took part, said he was aware the start had been delayed but he said he could not make out everything that was being said on the PA system.

He said when people started running he presumed the race had got underway.

“I got to the end of the race before I realised it had been cancelled.”

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

The force, initially present on parts of the route to assist with the road closures to motorists, added: “Working with the organisers, officers attempted to speak to participants who had chosen to run and divert them on to a shorter route to the finish line.”

Mr Menmuir added: “I was surprised and shocked to find out it had actually been cancelled and the sinking feeling was: ‘What if my time does not mean 
anything? What if its not been recorded?’”

Angry comments were posted underneath a cancellation announcement on Facebook, which contained spelling and grammatical errors.

Adam Stern said: “So disappointing for the runners but I also have to say hats off to the Sheffield communities for their efforts in supplying water unofficially to the runners! Proud to be from Sheffield for that, just a shame the organisation and communication of the race was so shambolic!!”

Margaret Lilley, chair of the race organisers said: “We had a problem with the supply of water.

“We have scoured supermarkets around the city, but unfortunately we have not been able to secure enough water for the medical-and-safety officers of the race to say it is safe to go ahead.”