SUSSEX, UNITED KINGDOM – Popular 10K race ‘The Hoveathon’ was cancelled yesterday after all contestants stopped en masse during the race. Eyewitness reports suggest that the 8,000 entrants halted, bewildered and bemused, due to a lack of support.
“There was just nobody around to tell us to ‘keep going,'” bemoaned runner Toby Landau, 28, of nearby Brighton. “There were barriers, like a proper race should have, and the roads were closed off, but there just weren’t that many people in the crowd, and those that were there seemed to be mostly staring at their phones and crying, or in groups comforting each other.”
Road races from 10K to marathon distance can often take place in front of huge, cheering crowds, high-fiving competitors and calling the names of those who emblazon their first names, like “Marie” or “James”, or sometimes their nicknames, like “Topdog” or “Wazzer”, on their running apparel. Unfortunately for the Hoveathon runners this side of the race was missing, and people are apportioning blame to the channel defection of a popular television show.
“The race was due to start, but then over the tannoy the race director told us that Bake-Off had been sold to Channel 4,” said runner Christie Halford. “Just afterwards he made another announcement, that Mel and Kim were due to leave the show. He did well to hold it together during the countdown, but then you could hear him break into huge sobs just before he fired the starting gun. At least, I think it was the starting gun.”
Once the race had begun the once-large crowd started to dissipate, with large groups huddling together and wailing loudly, while other empty-eyed hollow people making their way away from the race in order to find a television and catch a glimpse of their cake-baking heroes. In turn this left the thousands of entrants without meaningful support, and unable to continue running due to lack of direction.
“We are genuinely sorry for this unfortunate timing,” said Conor Macaskill, one of the organisers of the Hoveathon race. “If we’d had word just a few minutes earlier that an announcement of such importance was due, we may have been able to cancel the race. But we literally heard about the sale seconds before the start, and the wheels of the race were already turning.”
Some may suggest that runners should be able to make it through to the end of a race without such support. But Landau dismisses this as the typical thinking of a non-runner. “It’s really important that we runners get this kind of support,” he said, “as without it, how would we know what to do?”
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