Organisers forced to defend half marathon as runners label it 'diabolical'

James Hockaday

James Hockaday

Organisers forced to defend half marathon as runners label it 'diabolical'

Credit: Richard Knight

Organisers behind the Royal Windsor Half Marathon River Trail Run have been forced to defend the event after angry participants labelled it ‘diabolical’ and a ‘nightmare.’

On Sunday about 2,000 runners turned out for the event which is now in its fourth year.  

But far from enjoying a smooth race, runners were quick to voice their dissatisfaction, complaining about poor organisation, lack of water stations and a bottleneck at the start.

Writing on Facebook, Dom Short said: “All I wanted was a bib number to be posted, regular water stations, more signage and most of all feeling valued with some food and water at the end.

“I suffered badly from dehydration to the point where I had to walk at mile 10 and wanted to drink the river!”

Sara Caine wrote: “I genuinely couldn’t believe it was so unorganised! The lack of water from 7km to 19km was absolutely diabolical.”

Danielle Moss added: “Horrible organisation turned what I’d been looking forward to and trained hard for into a nightmare, not an achievement.”

The event, which included a 10k distance, sees runners race from the town up to Taplow and back along the Thames through Water Oakley.

Organiser F3 Events told the Express it had hired another company to organise staggered starting times, which it had failed to do.

It said because all racers started at once, one of the water stations ran out of water and could not be restocked in time.

In a statement it told the Express: “One of our drinks stations temporarily ran out of water as it was such a hot morning and only around 200 people had to go to the next station to get water.

“The bottlenecks at the start were something we did not expect but within 500 metres it all thinned out.

“The timing company we paid to start the event was meant to start it in waves, which we did send an email out to participants in regards to this. However, they sent everyone at the same time for both distances which then caused a problem with the bottlenecking.

“This was a large event and double the size from previous years and with the backing from Windsor Boys’ School, Eton College and the RBWM, it goes to show that we are doing something right and we look forward to taking on board the constructive feedback.”

People commenting on the event’s Facebook page also raised concerns the organisers had deleted their comments.

In response, F3 Events added Facebook comments were deleted due to a barrage of abuse and ‘troll like behaviour’, claiming that some people who commented were not on the participant list.

Elisha Hall, of F3 Events, who claims some users even made fake Facebook profiles, told the Express: “I’ve had emails from people threatening the company.

“People have said ‘we’re not going away until the owner is bankrupt’.”

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