By Sara Jerome,
Two runners died following a half marathon in Savannah, GA, and now organizers are facing questions about whether water contamination or water shortages jeopardized the safety of participants.
Officials deny that water problems were a factor. Dan Cruz, race spokesman, said officials did not find evidence to substantiate these theories, according to Savannah Now. The city, along with race organizers, provided water.
“I’ve been reaching out to everyone on our operations and event team, and I can’t find any information that corroborates claims that water was contaminated or there was a shortage,” he said.
“Especially since we tap into the Savannah public water supply, so the source of water was unlimited. We were shocked to learn that a participant passed away at home several hours after completing Saturday’s half-marathon. This news is devastating and our hearts are with his loved ones during this tragic time. We have spoken with the family and extended our deepest condolences,” he continued.
Still, critics are questioning whether organizers could have done more to provide water for runners. A local news station “interviewed a runner who said there wasn't enough water on the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon course,” WJCL reported.
Some details on water provision during the race, per WJCL:
[Officials] say for approximately 14,000 runners, they served more than 274,000 servings of water and 135,000 servings of Gatorade at their refreshment stations. They admit that some of the water stations were so overwhelmed with demand that the teams experienced temporary lapses in refilling and that this may have appeared to runners that the station was out of supply.
Officials confirmed that one water station ran out of water for 15 minutes, and two stations ran out of Gatorade cups, the report said. Officials “apologized saying the demand by runners exceeded even their revised estimates. They said for future events they will cater to an even greater estimated usage and position more cups earlier on in the course,” WJCL reported.
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