Peterborough City Council, organiser of the Perkins Great Eastern Run (PGER), took the decision to cancel the half marathon this weekend, 30 minutes after the race was due to start because of police information that a man was acting suspiciously close to the route.

In a statement, Cambridgeshire Police reported that it was called with reports of a man acting suspiciously in Alexandra Road, Peterborough. The statement read: “We take all calls extremely seriously, even more so in light of recent events across the country, and as a result a major firearms response was launched. Following a comprehensive investigation it is believed that the witness was acting in good faith but has misinterpreted what was seen.

“We would like to thank the public, the race goers and the organisers of the Perkins Great Eastern Run for their patience and support today.”

Dan Vajzovic, assistant chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police, was among the thousands of runners that had prepared to take part in the race. He said: “I was one of the runners who had spent months preparing for today’s event. I was ready to go and looking forward to the challenge. I know that the cancellation will have been incredibly frustrating for all those involved. However, it was the right decision for the event organisers (working closely with police colleagues) to cancel the race. Public safety is paramount. I will be back next year, looking to achieve a personal best and I hope all the other runners will be too.”