Mansfield runner beats Sheffield Half Marathon chaos for PB

Sam Blease and Julie Upton, who ran the 'cancelled' Sheffield Half Marathon.
Sam Blease and Julie Upton, who ran the 'cancelled' Sheffield Half Marathon.

A Mansfield runner was blissfully unaware of the chaos at Sunday’s Sheffield Half Marathon, setting a personal best.

The race made national news after being ‘cancelled’ by its committee because of a lack of water for participants.

But a number of runners completed the course not knowing of the abandonment, including Sam Blease, 40, and friends Julie Upton and Lee and Vicky Palmer.

It proved a good move, as she posted a PB of two hours, four minutes, 24 seconds.

“We didn’t have a clue what was going off,” said Sam. “There was about a half hour delay where we were just stood, but everyone started running and we followed.

“We didn’t realise until the end what had happened. It was only those at the front who heard it over the tannoy and those at the back who were told by police that new the race had been called off.

“There wasn’t any water at the first station, but after that Costa were handing out little cups of water and there was water at some of the other stations.

“I don’t think the pace car went off, but my timing chip worked fine because I also timed it on my own watch and we got a goodie bag at the end, minus the water.”

Sam, a member of the Sunday run group Fitness Matters and online club UKnetrunner, has done ‘about seven’ previous half marathons.

She added: “I was surprised but really pleased with my time because it is quite a hilly course.

“When I heard it had been cancelled I thought we might not get an official result, but I’m pleased we did.”

Organisers of the Sheffield Half Marathon have started a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the race’s cancellation.

Margaret Lilley, chairman of the organising committee, said: “We will specifically focus on the circumstances which contributed to our suppliers failing to deliver the water bowsers as expected.

“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.

“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.”