A LOVING husband has said he felt sad for his wife after an incident caused her to finish nine minutes short of her personal best during the UrbanX Earley 10k race.

Peter and Sheryl Higgs, from Reading Roadrunners, were mis-directed towards the end of the race.

The pair have been offered free entry to next year’s race as an apology, after the race directors struggled to muster together enough marshals.

Mr Higgs said: “We were coming towards the finish of the race. The directional tape was completely missing so we followed the path and missed the field, we carried on down for about half a kilometre.”

Mr Higgs, of Oxford Road, Reading, was more disappointed after the error cost his wife her personal best time, after her efforts to get “fit and healthy”. He said: “Sheryl was on for a personal best, she has been running for about six months, she has lost about two stone so far. I was upset for her because she was tired and she was doing so well.”

The 50-year-old said the incident has not put him off participating next year. He said: “The course is brilliant. There were a couple of other people who went wrong, Incurro just needed an extra marshal and a couple of extra signs.”

Mrs Higgs said despite the error she was not upset, but hopes similar problems don’t occur again next year. The 51-year-old said: “I just saw the funny side of it.”

She added: “Towards the end of the race they should put an arrow pointing to where you need to turn, or have an extra marshal.”

Race director John Thompson, from Incurro, said the group is working hard to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur next year. He said: “We have issued a survey to participants to get some feedback, so far we have had 91 responses.”

“The problem with marshals was that we struggled to get people to offer.

We have decided to send the people who responded an email next year asking them if they would be able to offer their services again, or if they could suggest someone they know to help out with marshalling.”

Mr Thompson said he felt let down by Earley Town Council’s lack of involvement in the event. He said: “When I spoke to the council in a public meeting and asked for assistance they were all offering their services to help out. However, on the actual day, it was only Pauline and Norman Jorgensen who turned up to help.”

Mr Thompson said he was grateful to the couple and to Mayor of Earley Linda Chambers, who offered their services during the event.

Mrs Chambers said the council did all they could to support Mr Thompson and the Incurro group. She said: “We gave him our support by providing the routes. We said that we want the race to be here in Earley and we promoted the race.”

Mrs Chambers added that the council was not at fault for the shortage of marshals, and she expects to be contributing personally next year. She said: “Next year, my intention is that I will be out on the route somewhere.”