Run fat boy run! Abuse hurled at marathon strag­glers... by of­fi­cials

Daily Mail - - News - By Han­nah Daw­son

SLOGGING their way round the Lon­don Marathon, they would never de­scribe them­selves as elite ath­letes.

But that doesn’t ex­cuse the abuse many slower run­ners got from mar­shals and con­trac­tors as they fin­ished Sun­day’s race.

Cross­ing the line af­ter more than six hours, they were jeered and heck­led by staff who had be­gun the mam­moth clean-up op­er­a­tion around them.

Jack Glenny, 24, ran the marathon with his twin brother, Joe, for the Cys­tic Fi­bro­sis Trust and raised £6,000. But what should have been a proud mo­ment was ru­ined when cruel work­ers shouted ‘Run, fat boy, run’ at him.

The billings ac­count man­ager said: ‘We felt ex­tremely let down by the [Lon­don Marathon] or­gan­i­sa­tion, we were forced to move out of the way for a mar­shal van, work­ers were tak­ing down bar­ri­ers and posters the whole time. We were be­rated and told “run, fat boy, run”. Then when we crossed the line af­ter hav­ing to move for some work­ers tak­ing down the scaf­fold­ing, I over­heard an of­fi­cial say­ing “these lot should have left at 6am, the f****** amount of time it’s taken them to run this”.

At the end of the race, Mr Glenny was not al­lowed to run in the mid­dle of the Mall but was forced onto the pave­ment. ‘It was very dis­heart­en­ing and you feel like you’re a nui­sance,’ he said.

‘I know I’m a bit of a larger man but that doesn’t mean that I don’t de­serve my mo­ment.’

El­iz­a­beth Ayres had vol­un­teered to run as a pace-set­ter to help the slower ath­letes and was asked to com­plete the 26.2-mile course in seven and a half hours – the equiv­a­lent of 17 min­utes and nine sec­onds a mile. But she was ap­palled by the abuse suf­fered by the strag­glers.

She said com­peti­tors were re­duced to tears by cruel of­fi­cials.

‘Some were say­ing “If you weren’t so fat you could run faster”,’ she said. ‘Oth­ers were say­ing, “It’s a race, not a walk”. These were peo­ple wear­ing the Lon­don Marathon blue jack­ets, they were of­fi­cials.

‘I had run­ners that were cry­ing – ones say­ing they were go­ing to go home and quit. I would rather the race was can­celled than peo­ple be­ing spo­ken to like that.’

Miss Ayres also said that water sta­tions had been cleared away be­fore her group even reached the third mile of the course.

Run­ners were also sprayed with clean­ing fluid and water from clean-up ve­hi­cles be­tween miles 13 and 18 of the race, she claimed.

She added: ‘I vol­un­teered to be at the back of the pack be­cause it re­ally is a lonely and un­for­giv­ing place to be at the back.

‘My heart breaks for ev­ery run­ner over seven hours who had ab­so­lutely none of the worl­drenowned ex­pe­ri­ence.’

James Miller, 35, was run­ning for a de­men­tia char­ity. He said: ‘It was re­ally de­mo­ti­vat­ing to see the course be­ing dis­man­tled around us. I even had to ask for di­rec­tions at a cou­ple of points as the route wasn’t ob­vi­ous. It was like you were for­got­ten about.’

Lon­don Marathon event di­rec­tor Hugh Brasher said: ‘We work hard to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery run­ner in the Lon­don Marathon and we were very sorry to hear about the ex­pe­ri­ence of El­iz­a­beth and a small num­ber of other run­ners.

‘A se­nior mem­ber of our team called El­iz­a­beth yes­ter­day to find out more and we are now look­ing into this in de­tail as part of a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion.’

This year’s marathon was com­pleted by a record 42,549 run­ners.

‘It’s a race, not a walk’

Ap­palled: Vol­un­teer pace-set­ter El­iz­a­beth Ayres

Clean-up: Staff pack­ing away as run­ners fin­ished Medal mo­ment: Jack Glenny helped raise £6,000

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.