Sunday 17 December 2017

Organisers defend 'shambolic' half marathon event

Scenes from Sunday’s Titanic half-marathon in Belfast
Scenes from Sunday’s Titanic half-marathon in Belfast
Scenes from Sunday’s Titanic half-marathon in Belfast
The medals which it was claimed did not arrive in time

Claire McNeilly and Sarah Jane Murphy

The organiser of the Titanic Half Marathon and 10K has staunchly defended the event after it was branded 'a shambles' by competitors.

William Anderson, confirmed that all requisite safety standards were complied with.

He stated that there were 20 race marshals and three water stations on the course last Sunday. He said they provided an ambulance, a paramedic and eight first aid personnel, which he said had been stipulated by the authorities.

According to participants the organisation of the Titanic Half Marathon and 10K was "really really poor", and complaints were made in relation to various aspects of the event.

The alleged problems outlined by athletes included:

•although the race was billed as an officially measured course the half-marathon route was actually half a mile short of the 13.1-mile distance;

•there was no first aid presence for runners after the race;

•there was only one ambulance, which had to rush five miles to the finish line to treat a runner;

•insufficient toilet facilities;

•there was no official start or finish line;

•the race started 50 minutes late;

•there were only minimal water stops and they ran out of water at the end;

•medals that had been advertised ahead of the event didn't arrive in time for the race, so commemorative plaques were offered as alternatives;

•there were no technical T-shirts for runners.

Read More: 40,000 women to hit streets of capital for mini-marathon

As a gesture of goodwill, the organisers of the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon have offered disappointed participants a 50 per cent reduction in the registration fee provided that they can provide proof of participation in the Belfast event.

The Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon will be held on Sunday 2nd August.

Thomas McCallion, a runner and instructor from Rise Running Club explained that approximately 100 participants missed the starting gun. "The race started about 45 or 50 minutes late and a number of runners were left behind because there was no PA system to let them know that the race had started. There weren't enough marshals on the course and no medics along the route as far as I could see." he said.

Read More: Thousands brave the weather for women's mini marathon

Athletics Northern Ireland, who have launched an investigation into the event, have confirmed that they had collaborated with coordinators prior to the race.

"We advised the race organisers prior to the race of the benefits of accurate route measurements and therefore can confirm that the race was accurately measured.

"However, we have been informed that this changed slightly on the day, for reasons that surpass us."

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