Marathoners fuming over dirty, dangerous race conditions - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Marathoners fuming over dirty, dangerous race conditions

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Taking on a marathon or half-marathon is no easy task. Planning one isn't easy either. 

After many runners from this year's Palm Beaches Marathon complained of dangerous and dirty conditions, race officials are vowing to do better.

"It was a good thing that they did the marathon, but just clean up after," said Suzanne Whitmore, who lives along the marathon course.

The race was Sunday, but on Tuesday, bags of garbage were still left behind on the sidewalks along some of the 26.2 mile course.
The biggest challenge, though, came during the race. A few miles in, half-marathoner Heather Lebedeker needed to rehydrate. 

"When you don't have that vital component, your body just starts shutting down," she said. 

But Lebedeker said volunteers at race water stations ran out of cups. 

"You start looking ahead and hoping there are some cups on the ground or anything like that," she said.  "And then it becomes, you know, I hope there's something up there."

Lebedeker even debated diverting from the race to her downtown home to find water to drink. But like many runners on Sunday, Heather found a less sanitary solution. 

"I had to get a dirty cup off of the grass because they ran out of cups and the man poured water into my cup," she said.  

Chicago-based Special Events Management helped organize the race. But the race director was hired just two months ago after deals with previous organizers fell through. 

On the event's Facebook page, amid many complaints, officials acknowledged that changes need to be made for next year -- including making sure there is enough water and water cups for every runner.

Race officials are asking for participant and spectator feedback online to help make sure the problems are not repeated. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the city of West Palm Beach said all of the trash from Sunday's race should be picked up by Wednesday.

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