JUST two minutes before runners were due to start the Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday morning, they were told it had been cancelled.
All runners were forced to complete only the half marathon after the crashing winds and lashing rain created conditions deemed dangerous by officials.
Forcing themselves through a driving headwind for the last five or six miles, several runners described the conditions as they stepped over the muddy line as "the worst I've seen".
The full marathon is two times round the circuit of the half, and officials were worried conditions underfoot would deteriorate as the mud was cut up the first time around and the rain continued to pour down.
But others felt it should have gone ahead and some felt the decision to cancel it came far too close to the 9:30am start time.
Paul Hawkings, Club Captain of the Stratford-upon-Avon Athletic Club, described it as a "dreadful" decision after the race. "I thought it was stupid," he said. "People have travelled a long way."
The 56-year-old competed in the London Marathon last week, so was only planning to run the half marathon today anyway, but it was those who had trained for months to compete in the full marathon that he felt for.
However, the highest-placed member of the Stratford Athletic Club, Danny Tolhurst, who finished 11th in the half-marathon with a time around 1hr 22 mins, said he thought the decision was sensible.
Orlando Corea, aged 36, from Birmingham, won the half-marathon running for his club, Bournville Harriers.
Lucy Flanner, who works for Stratford-based law firm, Shakespeare's, was the fastest woman on the day with a time of 1hr 25 mins.
Winning it for the second time after coming first in 2010, the Solihull and Smallheath runner said there were lakes springing up on the course. "It felt more like cross country," she said.
Both winners had trained to only compete in the half marathon. See what they said after the race here.
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