Great Eastern Run: ‘Misinterpretation’ triggers cancellation of half marathon after man seen acting ‘suspiciously’

Race called off at eleventh hour as armed police called in

Chiara Giordano
Sunday 13 October 2019 18:01
Stock image of runners during race.
Stock image of runners during race.

A “misinterpretation” led to a major armed response and a mass running event being cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Peterborough’s Great Eastern Run was called off just minutes before it was due to start on Sunday after reports of a man acting “suspiciously” near the route.

Hundreds of runners were at the start line gearing up for the half marathon when a public announcement revealed it had been cancelled at the last minute.

Armed police officers were called in to investigate but found the witness who raised the alarm had “misinterpreted what was seen”.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “We take all calls extremely seriously, even more so in light of recent events across the country, and as a result a major firearms response was launched.

“Following a comprehensive investigation, it is believed that the witness was acting in good faith but has misinterpreted what was seen.”

Organisers of the event apologised for the event being cancelled and thanked participants for their patience.

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Race director Jon Marsden said: “We are really disappointed that we had to cancel the event and we apologise to all of the people that had booked their run with us today.

“Unfortunately an incident occurred around 20 minutes before the start of the half marathon where the police were concerned about the behaviour of an individual on the course at that particular time that required investigation.

“Because of the time it took to do that we then had to consider the issues around the runners who were waiting who were starting to suffer from hypothermia and the road closures, as we had guaranteed that we would reopen these roads by 2pm.”

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