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Charity apologises for marathon blunder.

A CHARITY has apologised to the thousands of people who took part in Cardiff's half marathon after it was cut short by more than a tenth of a mile.

As reported in yesterday's Echo, angry runners bombarded messageboards to complain after their personal tracking devices showed Sunday's course did not measure up to the full 13.1 miles. Race organiser Barnardo's Cymru last night confirmed it had to make changes for safety reasons because an obstruction was discovered on the route just 24 hours before the start of the event.

Martin Field, Barnardo's UK director of fundraising, said: "On safety grounds there was an amendment to the Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon route on Sunday, October 17.

"Following an investigation by the race organisers, Barnardo's, the route was reassessed and it was discovered that the length of the course was reduced by 0.12 miles.

"Barnardo's wishes to apologise to all participants for the impact this has had on run times and people's enjoyment of the event.

"The safety of all runners and spectators was our primary concern when making such decisions and the change in the course had to be undertaken when an obstruction was identified by race organisers. The obstruction resulted in the urgent decision to change the route to ensure there were no risks to runners.

"As a result of the race going ahead, race organisers estimate that the amount of money that will go to charities this year will be approximately pounds 1m."

Qualified course measurer Michael Burns, who has previously measured the Cardiff Half Marathon route, said the scaffolding which caused the obstruction had made the section of the route unsafe.

"These things happen and are clearly beyond the control of the race organisers," he said.

"Where possible it is useful to have a contingency where you can call on a local measurer at short notice to make a minor adjustment to the course, for example by adjusting the start or the finish line by the appropriate distance. However, there is a shortage of qualified measurers and therefore this is not always possible."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 20, 2010
Words:348
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