The organisers of the Essar Chester Half Marathon have apologised 'unreservedly' for cutting off the race early - resulting in some runners feeling 'cheated'.
A handful of participants took to social media after Sunday's event to express their anger at being diverted at the five-mile marker point, with some being told by a marshal that they were not allowed to continue because they were 'too slow'.
One said she was 'really disappointed' to be told by a worker that she wouldn't finish the race in the allocated three hours, meaning she could only complete 9.4 miles of the 13 mile run.
She wrote: "I raised money for a charity and I feel I have cheated them because of this man's decision. My running girls went through the cones, they felt demoralised as originally we were in the middle and when people got diverted they felt they were at the back.
"I spoke to a man and lady at the end they took my bib number and said I will get an email, what the hell is that going to do? It’s not going to makes us feel any better about ourselves."
Another said it 'really messed with our heads' to be told they had no chance of finishing within the allotted time, and even though they did manage to, 'it really spoilt our experience'.
Organisers Active Leisure Events Limited said that due to the length of time they are allowed to close the roads, there is always a race cut off time based on three hours for the full distance, calculated pro-rata for a couple of points along the course to give maximum times the runners need to reach them.
But a spokesperson admitted the cut off time for the five mile point had this year been enforced earlier than intended.
They told The Chronicle: "Unfortunately, the cut off time for the five mile point was enforced ten minutes earlier than we intended. As a result some of the runners who were diverted should have been allowed to carry on and run the full distance.
"We apologise unreservedly to all the runners who were diverted too early. From the timing mats around the course we can tell exactly who was affected by this; and the number of runners who should have been allowed to carry on is very low.
"We will respond individually to all those who contact us regarding this matter," the spokesperson added. "We are sincerely sorry that this has happened and will ensure that it is not repeated going forward."
Despite this, there was much praise for the overall event, which saw almost 6,000 runners take to the streets of Chester - with around £500,000 raised for charity.
And even most of the runners affected by the early cut-off described the organisers and race angels as 'absolutely amazing'.