Refunds for abandoned race will come from funds reserved for charities

The Sheffield Half Marathon was cancelled at the last minute this year because water for runners was not delivered

Sheffield Half Marathon
Sheffield Half Marathon

Refunds for runners who entered the abandoned Sheffield Half Marathon will come from funds earmarked for charities, race organisers have said.

The race, which was due to take place on 6 April, was cancelled at the last minute because drinking water for runners was not delivered.

More than 4,000 runners still ran the course, however, and local people brought out drinking water for them.

The event had 10 official charities, including Breast Cancer Care, the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and the Myasthenia Gravis Association.

A letter from Robert Jackson, chair of Sheffield Marathon Ltd, sent to participants this week, apologises for the cancellation and says that the event, which has been running for more than 30 years, has raised more than £1.5m for local charities in that time.

It says that the half marathon is one of the few remaining events of its kind in that all the money raised through entry fees, sponsorship and commercial activities goes either to cover the cost of staging the race or to charity. The event raised £175,000 for charity in 2012, the letter says.

Jackson says the race terms state that entry fees, about £25 per person, are non-refundable.

"Despite the cancellation on the day, we trust you will appreciate that the full event infrastructure was still provided (everything from medical support to the provision of toilets and baggage storage)," his letter says. "Indeed, more than 4,000 runners completed the course and, in doing so, were supported by this infrastructure. Those costs still had to be met.

"Once these costs are taken from the entry fee income, any residue is donated to the 10 benefiting charities to further the good causes they support.

"Therefore, any refunds that are made will inevitably have to come directly out of money that would otherwise go to charity. Nevertheless, given the public reaction to the cancellation, as a gesture of goodwill, we have decided (without any admission of liability and on an ex gratia basis only) that we will consider applications for refunds for entry fees only out of the charitable sum stated above."

The letter says that if the volume of refund applications outstrips the amount of charitable funds then proportionate refunds will be made on a pro-rata basis.

Runners have until midnight on 20 June to apply for refunds.

The 10 charities are: the Children's Hospital Charity, Breast Cancer Care, St Luke's Hospice, the Sheffield Academy of Young Leaders, the South Yorkshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, Safe@Last, the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Support Dogs and the Myasthenia Gravis Association.

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