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Security to guard marathon water

15 June 09 10:37 GMT
By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Security guards are to watch all the water stations along the route of next year's Edinburgh marathon before the race to protect supplies from thieves.

Organisers have told the BBC Scotland news website of their contingency plans following the theft of 7,000 bottles and 4,040 gels from this year's event.

The water will be guarded from when it is dropped off at midnight on the day of the race until 0600 BST.

A £5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction has also been offered.

The event on 31 May was marred by complaints from many runners that inadequate supplies of water had been provided along the route, especially as it was a hot sunny day.

Damien O'Looney, Edinburgh marathon marketing director, said he was "very, very angry" when he discovered the water had been stolen.

He said: "Everyone was really cheesed off and deflated when they realised we had been targeted by thieves as we had not been able to understand on the day why there wasn't enough water at two of the water stations when all the rest were fine.

"The water was dropped off at midnight and then checked two hours later so they must have been stolen after that.

"We will be putting a security company such a Rock Steady at the water stations next year so that this does not happen again."

Run dry

He said about 7,000 250ml water bottles were taken worth £3,600, along with £3,600 worth of Lucozade energy gels.

The theft left two water stations in a remote part of the route without water for 40 minutes.

Organisers quickly organised mobile teams of police and support vehicles in an attempt to deliver water to those who missed out when it became apparent that two of the nine stations had run dry.

One participant told BBC Scotland after the race that "people were dropping like flies" due to the lack of water during the event as temperatures soared to 22C.

It is understood 10 people had to be taken to hospital after collapsing due to heat-related problems and 160 were treated by medical staff at the scene.

More than 13,000 competitors entered the marathon.

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