The organisers of Peterborough’s Great Eastern Run have explained why they decided to call off the half marathon today (Sunday).
Cambridgeshire police said the decision was taken after a man was seen acting suspiciously in Alexandra Road.
Now, in a statement, the race organisers said: “In the interests of safety for our participants we took the decision to cancel the half marathon half an hour after its original start time because of police information that a man was acting suspiciously close to the route.
“We will contact runners next week to confirm the process for the full refund of entry fees, which will include the option to defer this year’s entry for our 2020 half marathon.
“We are disappointed, as we are sure you are, and can only thank you for your understanding.”
The decision to cancel the race was originally described as being due to a “police incident”.
A police statement issues earlier said: “We were called at 9.50am this morning with reports of a man acting suspiciously in Alexandra Road, Peterborough, close to the route of the Perkins Great Eastern Run. This information was passed to the race director who made the decision to cancel the race.”
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said no calls had been received for its support, but that it remained on standby.
Runners preparing for the half-marathon have given their reaction to the cancellation to PT athletics correspondent Barry Warne.
John Herbert of Helpston Harriers said: “On a personal level I’m gutted as I think I was on for a good time. I enjoy running in the rain and my legs felt good. It’s such a shame for the runners who’ve come from all over the country to compete.
“For some it was probably the biggest race of their life. An awful day to be standing around outside for ages as a lot of runners and marshalls were doing. I hope charities don’t miss out too much, and regarding the incident I hope everyone is safe.”
Mark Kirk, Northern Ireland and Ulster team manager, said: ”We flew over yesterday, and while it’s a shame to come all this way and not race it’s just one of those things and it’s beyond the control of the race organisers.
“I understand that Aaron Scott has taken a lot of the elite runners out for a run by the river to try and assimilate what they expected to do today.”
Steve Robinson, elite race organiser, said: “It’s such a shame, especially when we’ve had a team fly in from Northern Ireland. I hope this incident won’t affect the reputation of the race as it could have a knock on effect next year.”
The Anna’s Hope fun run went ahead this morning but the runners for the main race did not line up before a public announcement confirmed it had been called off.
At around 10.15am this morning the wheelchair racers were on the line. That is when organisers became aware of the incident and that race did not start.