Sheffield Half Marathon cancelled

Sheffield half marathon was cancelled yesterday with participants on the start line due to lack of water.


by News

Yesterday, Sunday 6th April Sheffield Half Marathon was cancelled with participants on the start line. Organisers cancelled the race due to lack of water for runners.

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

"The company we had asked to supply bowsers for the route did not arrive this morning.

There were 4,100 runners and confused ensued as many of them decided to continue on and run the race anyway.

Insp Neil Mutch, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "We attempted to convince runners not to carry on, but decided it was a lesser risk to let them run the race."

The race has been established for over 10 years and has been rated highly on our site, with over 92% of runners voting that they would do it again: 

This year comments have a different outlook on the event:

 “An embarrassment for Sheffield.” – RJK

“Best cancelled race ever thanks to Sheffield people stepping in to support rebel runners” - Magdalena Boo

“1. The organisers need to look up "contingency" and "communication" in the dictionary
2. The people of Sheffield were brilliant” – Tim Fellows

If you need details on refunds or compensation, please contact the race organisers’ directly entries@sheffieldmarathon.com and visit their website to read a statement by organisers. 


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Organisers refusing to give refunds due to the small print.Estimated 4100 entrants x £25 (average entry fee) =£102,500.Now being told they didn't pay the water bill to the supplier.Are we sure this isn't just a scam where is all that money ending up now then?Hope everyone boycotts it next year!


Posted: 08/04/2014 at 18:55

I'd like to see the small print. I wonder how it would fair in accordance with unfair contract terms act and or unfair terms in consumer contracts legislation??

These people should never be given a uka license again! 


Posted: 08/04/2014 at 19:11

Worth noting that the organier's have already said that this is basically a fib on the part of the water company and given that this hit the national news the reputation of the water company might be screwed if it turns out they where at fault. So perseption at the moment just as inportant as the fact's.

Don't know which one of them is lying at this point but hoping that this doesn't meen the end of the race. It was bad enough when Sheffield marathon was cancelled due to poor help from the local authority.

One thing that corious about is in previous years the website had details regarding the organier's that isn't on there when started to check out info. Might because they have taken it off because of the problems or might be there has been a change in organier's in the last last few years anyone know?


Posted: 08/04/2014 at 19:25

I've done the race before and it was perfectly well organised. I really enjoyed and would happily do it again. 

The thing is, by that late stage in the day all expenses (road closures, staff, etc.) had been paid (except the water, apparently), so a lot of that money would have been spent. I should add that I have no idea how much races cost to put on, but it's not pure profit! 

A lot of people did still run the race, so should everyone be reimbursed? 

For the sake of the race's future, something needs to be done - a goodwill gesture of some sort. A discount on future entry? That might tempt people to come back. Yes, things didn't go to plan this time, but is it really as cut-throat as one bad race and you're out?


Posted: 08/04/2014 at 19:42

I think a lot depends on what the truth of the matter is. I have every sympathy for a race organiser whose race gets called off last minute through poor weather etc, but if the reason is say because the organiser refused to pay for the water up front say then that's no good as an excuse I can give empathy over. 


Posted: 08/04/2014 at 19:46

As bookie says - most of the money is spent at race day. There's precious little to give back.

When a local half was called off due to snow they offered partial refunds or give it to charity. Most runners donated.

It's a stupid act from the water suppliers - they should have foreseen the backlash. I'd rather be paid late than not make a sale at all. Would you hire them fir your event ?
Posted: 08/04/2014 at 22:49

Road closures,toilets,medals,staff costs (perhaps water?) are we saying this all costs in the region of £102 thousand.Its nonsense anything that's left over after these costs should morally be given back to the runners.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 11:15

Some runners ran the race by choice some through lack of information.When they paid there entrance fee they paid for water to be available on the course.If they knew there would be no water not one person would have paid £24-£26.

Whats to stop someone out there seeing this organising a race then not paying some bills (water or road closures) cancelling the race and disappearing with the runners entry fees?Make a tidy 80 thousand profit!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 11:21

Gravies if someone did that they would quickly lose their licence. Don’t get me wrong I’m deeply sceptical about some of what’s the organiser’s said and given some of the mismanagement of sport in Sheffield over the last few years depending on how heavily involved the local authority is involved this might be down to the organiser’s and not the water company but just saying I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. If it is down to the organiser’s whoever is the procurement office for the race should be sacked for gross misconduct and the organisation comity should resign for allowing it to happen but this might not be down to them.

I’ve had some dealing with the local area people at the council for an event I used to run and sometimes they have said they will pay you when they want and not when you sent the bill but I would wait until we know what’s happened instead of what is being said through press releases. At the end of the day Sheffield half has been going for years and gone through many difference organiser’s down the year. If it turns out the organisers are at fault they should be removed there are lots of local’s who would jump at the chance to help for this one.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 11:54

If it is true, and the water compnay failed to deliver due to the fact that they were not paid 

If,  as the race organisers  you enter a contract with the water company and their terms and conditions are payment up front  why didnt they pay it, the race organisers get all the runners entry fees up front before the event 

 


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 12:41

If the water company is at fault the organisers should be suing them to cover the refunds. If the organisers are at fault then as a Ltd Company they have to take the loss. Cancelling due to weather, or an accident or any other foreseen circumstances is totally different to cancelling due to incompetence. I think we all accept mistakes can and do happen but a mistake of this magnitude has to lead to some accountability.

To be honest I find the organisers attitude disgusting, they appear to be demonstrating little if any sympathy with the effected runners.

But I also feel that the article tht this thread is linked to could at be best described as mischievous when encouraging people to email for a refund when the organisers have made their stance very clear.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 13:13

i ran the sheffield half on sunday and there was a complete lack of communication from the organisers to the runners, we were kept for over 45 mins on the start completely in the dark as to why there was a delay, next thing a rumour started that the race had been cancelled (cue the booing) then we were off and running. there was no water at the first two feed stations but spectators and local shops were handing water to the runners, the people of sheffield were brilliant!!! there was water at the rest of the feed stations and water was available at the end of the race although it was clear they were struggling with supplies. it wasnt as bad as the press would have you believe and luckily for the organisers the weather was overcast and cool. That said its a poor show when you have such a large race and the supply of water is left until the morning of the race to be delivered !!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 14:43

the debate about paying the bill for the water should be easy to sort out...........I assume no one for these things by cash so there will be a paper trail to prove it...........unless the marathon organisers produce the proof quickly then I will believe the water company and the whole fault is with the organisers........and if the race is cancelled due to their own incompetence then I believe they should refund...........even if its out of their own pockets


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 14:52

Greavsie said "If they knew there would be no water not one person would have paid £24-£26"
Can't speak for the rest of you, but I don't look at the number of drinks stations (or otherwise) when I enter a race, its way down my list of priorities.

Out of interest do other rules regarding drinks apply to cross country?
Southerns this year at Parliament Hill - no water stations in 15k. Somehow we all survived.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 15:19

yep, ive never seen a drinks station at a xc or multi terrain race. Wonder exactly why the rules differ?


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 15:42

Wow Dustin you don`t expect there to be water supplied on the route of a half marathon when you enter one?I would think you are in the minority on that one!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 19:48

Why did they not have the water delivered days or weeks in advance ?

If you organise an event and leave it until the last minute to get water you have nobody but yourself to blame. 


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 20:00

Cake im not sure the organisers would loose their licence as I doubt these guys will.They will make come out with a nice 60-80 thousand profit im sure.

Reminds me im staging a 10k run in regents park in june if anyone interested?The entry fee will be £15.I will forget to pay the water bill though and will cancel it on the day but im sure you won't mind.500 entry limit but still a nice £7500 profit for me and hey don't even have to pay any water,road closures or goody bags (I will have forgotten them as well).Look forward to seeing the generous running community there!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 20:12

True Brian love how they had the medals all in before the water!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 20:14

Interesting talk about whether or not you expect water at events.  I would at road events but not at off road.  My club hosts a 20 mile fell race and specifically tell people there will be no water available on the course.  Many people are out for 5+ hours and need to carry their own water. (There is water available for emergencies at some check points but the nature of the course means its impossible to get enough water out there for everyone) This is completely acceptable as with other fell type events yet we would expect at least one water station on a 10k road race that will be over in a flash.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 22:22

Greavsie - I suggest you re read some posts.
You say (and I repeat the quotes again for your benefit) - "If they knew there would be no water not one person would have paid £24-£26"
To which I replied that I don't look at the number of drinks stations when selecting a race.
You somehow interpret that as "you don`t expect there to be water supplied on the route of a half marathon" 
I didn't say I don't expect it, its just not that a big deal and would certainly not influence my race selection. (see subsequent posts about no drinks on off road/xc)





Posted: 09/04/2014 at 22:33

"Water being on the route of a half marathon is not that big a deal".Wise words Dustin.


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 23:45

Great deal of difference between cross country and half marathon distances I think you`ll find dutsty bin which is why (and I quote for your benefit) "if they knew there would be no water not one person would have paid £24-£25"FOR A HALF MARATHON!!!!!


Posted: 09/04/2014 at 23:48

If you go onto the Sheffield HM entry page, right at the bottom it says "Under UKA Rules - Race License Applied For" - 

The License was applied for, was it ever granted?  


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 00:34

Forgot to put the site/link in:

http://www.sheffieldmarathon.com/terms


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 00:35

I take it that any results will not be official for PB's or GFA etc as the race was not official...

whether you need water in a half or not is immaterial.....

for the licence and the insurance you will need the water in a half marathon........it will make up part of the risk assessment needed...

 so no water and no official race........

 


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 08:19

Did you run it Seren?If so am betting when you paid your entrance fee you expected your time to be official at the end of it all.


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 09:40

 

seren nos wrote (see)

I take it that any results will not be official for PB's or GFA etc as the race was not official...

whether you need water in a half or not is immaterial.....

for the licence and the insurance you will need the water in a half marathon........it will make up part of the risk assessment needed...

 so no water and no official race........

 

The Sheffield half marathon results for 2014 have actually been sent to Runbritain - how can this be so if the race was not offically run????

 

http://www.runbritainrankings.com/results/results.aspx?meetingid=99596


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 11:47

This whole fiasco gets more and more confusing.

 

So now we have, no water, race was cancelled at the very last minute.  

 

Many people ran anyway, police tried to direct them to the finish line quicker by pointing them towards the finishing area via a shortened route - they eventually gave up and let them run and kept all roads closed.

 

Those that did not run and were journeying home, some reported seeing other competitors running the race anyway and were gutted.

 

There is a photo somewhere showing the time-car actually displaying "zero" - meaning the clock was not working - yes or no?

 

They THEN actually do give times out on their results list and to put the icing on the cake, send the results to RunBritain.  

 

ps - MANY runners are complaining that their own timing on their own watches is 8-10 minutes off the "official" time of the event - this would piss me right off, no doubt about that!!

 

I can seriously see why, thousands of people are now really getting mad.

 

All this, so that they do not have to give refunds, bloody ludicrous!!!

 

 


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 11:55

Lotus the timming mat's where still switched on so they must have sent the info anyway. Would have been inportant for the club runner's as sheffield is part of the clubs champianship

Brian Slack wrote (see)

Why did they not have the water delivered days or weeks in advance ?

If you organise an event and leave it until the last minute to get water you have nobody but yourself to blame. 

Brain, I've done races in the past where they had deliveryed the water in advances and it had been nicked. Other year at stockport 10 they set out the water about a hour in advance and one of the water points got nicked. Edinburgh a few years back got into trouble for a lack of water turned out once they checked the stock and CCTV that some chav's had just nicked a lot of it before the race.

greavsie at schoolchildren can be cruel wrote (see)

Cake im not sure the organisers would loose their licence as I doubt these guys will.They will make come out with a nice 60-80 thousand profit im sure.

Reminds me im staging a 10k run in regents park in june if anyone interested?The entry fee will be £15.I will forget to pay the water bill though and will cancel it on the day but im sure you won't mind.500 entry limit but still a nice £7500 profit for me and hey don't even have to pay any water,road closures or goody bags (I will have forgotten them as well).Look forward to seeing the generous running community there!


Greavies the water will form a very small part of the entry fee most of that will be taken up by the road closer's and portaloo's and very little of there budgit will be the water. But as Seran said above without it they where shafted.

 

If it's any good to anyone whose feeling the pain after the weekend who wants to have anouther go. Eyam half marathon is in may and it's organised by the local village like a well oiled machine so no chance of numpiness. Done it a few times and always lots of water it's a little hilly through.


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 12:33

Greavsie - where did I say ""Water being on the route of a half marathon is not that big a deal"? your quote marks not mine.

Perhaps I should have been clearer in that the supply or otherwise of drinks won't change my decision whether to run a race or not. I don't consider water being supplied as a deal breaker i.e. no big deal.
If I were to run for 90 minutes or so in April, in Sheffield I probably wouldn't need a drink anyway. As Minni says many races (off road) don't supply water. If I want to run the race I'd race.

I will concede there are perhaps less fit athletes that see this as a big deal, but that brings us to the point of the cancellation: they couldn't supply drinks so had no alternative. Those that chose to run probably saw the lack of drinks as no big deal: I know I would have done if I were on the start line.

And if you read my post about the Southerns I said it was ~15k. I'm assuming you haven't done xc to that extent, trust me a street half is a stroll compared to 15k on mud & water (with hills).


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 12:54

Dustin I take your point that you don't need much water when running 10k plus distances and maybe a few towards the front of the field in Sheffield did'nt but i'd guess the majority of the 4000 people would and would have considered it to be a deal breaker when paying their entry fees.

If the organisers paid for the water bill or not it was still within their control to have had water there on site on the day.As there wasn't and it was a deal breaker to most part refunds should be given out from the £100 thousand (after costs).The organisers must think the general public are fools if they think we believe all the money covers the costs of staging the event!


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 14:14

Anyone know what happened to the more than £4,500 worth of prizes?  Did they hand those out to the 'winners', or was that pocketed as well?


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 14:24

I thought it rather bizarre that the TV interview with one of the organisers shortly afterwards had her grinning and practically laughing as she explained why it was "cancelled" - a complete lack of tact or media awareness there.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26910138


Posted: 10/04/2014 at 23:03

If you entered it and think you are due a refund I would talk to your local trading standards authority. Whatever the usual practice at races, it is clearly an unfair term to say that you will pocket the entrant's money if you cancel a race for reasons within your control. So if the lack of water WAS within the organisers' control because they didn't pay the bill in accordance with the supplier's terms, they should provide a refund.  The OFT (which no longer exists so their role in enforcement falls mainly to trading standards now) has issued guidance on events and unfair terms (and on booking fees for those interested - I had to pay £2 on top of my entry fee for a race yesterday which wiped out the affiliated saving, I should have sent a cheque by post) and the guidance is still on their archived website.  I write for a law publishers and I feel a blog post on the Sheffield debacle coming on...


Posted: 13/04/2014 at 19:53

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