Half-marathon in Sheffield, Britain cancelled due to 'lack of water'

LONDON (AFP) - With its rainy climate Britain is not normally short of the wet stuff, but a half-marathon in Sheffield was cancelled at the last second on Sunday because of a lack of bottled water.

Chaotic scenes erupted after the announcement, as many of the 6,000 participants set off anyway and the police in the northern English city reportedly tried to block them from running.

"It is with huge disappointment and regret that we have been forced to cancel this year's race due to a problem with the delivery of water," the organisers said on Twitter.

"We would like to express our sincerest apologies to everyone involved in the race who will be affected."

Neil Mutch of South Yorkshire Police told the BBC: "We attempted to convince runners not to carry on, but decided it was a lesser risk to let them run the race."

Local newspaper the Sheffield Star said runners were kept waiting in the cold for an hour before organisers finally said the race was cancelled.

Many spectators handed the competitors their own bottles of water while others went to the supermarket to buy more, reports said.

The first runner to complete the cancelled half-marathon, Mr Toby Spencer, was quoted by the BBC as saying it would be his "first and last" race in Sheffield.

Photographs showed runners carrying on with the race and pounding over streets slick with rain.