The Perkins Great Eastern Run in Peterborough, England was canceled due to reports of a man “acting suspiciously, which called for a “major” police response," explains Jen Mills of the UK’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. The half marathon was called off “in the interests of safety,” according to the organizers.
The alert turned out to be a false alarm, but the authorities were too late for the race to push through. At 9:50 a.m., there were reports of a man acting suspiciously along Alexandra Road, “close to the event’s route through the city,” prompting the Cambridgeshire Police to cancel the marathon. Police initiated a “major firearms response,” but the witness “misinterpreted what they had seen,” as revealed in an investigation.
|Photo Credit: ITV News Anglia|
A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson comments, “We take all calls extremely seriously, even more so in light of recent events across the country. Following a comprehensive investigation, it is believed that the witness was acting in good faith but has misinterpreted what was seen.” Dan Vajzovic, Cambridgeshire police’s assistant chief constable, was among the thousands of runners ready to participate in the half marathon.
He states, “I was one of the runners who had spent months preparing for today’s event. I know that the cancellation will have been incredibly frustrating for all those involved.” Organizers will contact the runners to “confirm the full refund of entry fees.” Runners who were unable to participate can defer their entry for the 2020 half marathon.
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Race director Jon Marsden explains that they received a lot of feedback from runners, who understood the situation. On the other hand, there were participants who expressed their disappointment with regard to the event’s abrupt cancelation. Marsden asserts, “But the health, safety and welfare of participants in any event is paramount for us.”
However, Vajzovic remains optimistic amid the incident, emphasizing that “public safety is paramount.” “I will be back next year, looking to achieve a personal best and I hope all the other runners will be too, he says.”