Sheffield Half Marathon committee media statement

20 June 2014

After 30 years and more than £1.5million of fundraising for local charities, the team behind Sheffield’s biggest road race has announced it is stepping down.

Sheffield Marathon Limited directors and organising committee - a team of volunteers who have run the not for profit organisation which is behind the Sheffield Half Marathon since 1982 – have decided they will not be involved in future marathons.

Their decision was taken within 48 hours of the cancellation of this year’s event but delayed announcing until now in order to facilitate an orderly conclusion.

Robert Jackson, Chairman of Sheffield Marathon Ltd., said: “I would like to thank the directors, trustees, organisers and volunteers who have worked so tirelessly over the last 30 years to grow the Sheffield Half Marathon to the event it is today.

“We are proud to have been involved in so many races which have raised £1.5m for local good causes.”

Mr Jackson commented: “There has been a great deal of sensitivity from all parties involved in the cancelled 2014 event. For the runners, we can once again only apologise for the upset and inconvenience caused by the safety officer’s decision to cancel the race. After all the hard work, training and fundraising done in the months leading up to the race it must have been devastating to end in this way without the opportunity to fully complete personal goals.

“However, we also wanted to take this opportunity to place on record the distress and upset this situation has caused us. In no way are we are seeking any sympathies from runners, the general public or media, but there comes a time when enough is enough and a sense of proportion has to prevail. We did not expect anyone to be pleased by the decision to cancel but nothing could have prepared us for what followed.”

Mr Jackson outlined the impact.

“On the day of the event and since there have been personal attacks on some of the committee members, some of who have received abusive emails, calls and letters to their workplaces and homes.

“None of us wanted this to happen or end like this. The last few weeks have been some of the worst of our lives.

“For the last 30 years we have given up our time to put on this race, for no other reason than to benefit others, but now we feel it is time to step aside and let someone else take the strain for the benefit of runners.”

The organising committee remains in confidential discussions with regards to the cancellation and, at this stage, cannot say any more so as not to jeopardise those discussions.

“Any remaining money left after runners claim refunds from the 2014 cancelled race will be donated to the event’s 10 nominated charities.

“When the confidential discussions have been concluded, we hope to make a further communication. In the meantime, we are unable to make any further comment, said Mr Jackson.

He added: “Whatever the future holds, we hope that Sheffield people will come together to rebuild and stage a road race that the city deserves and one which continues to support local good causes.”