THE ORGANISER of a scrapped running event which saw thousands of people left out of pocket side-stepped a question about insurance.

Would-be participants branded the planning team behind Reading Half Marathon as a 'disgrace' after the event was called off last minute on Sunday morning.

Heavy snowfall which swept across the town overnight forced organisers to cancel the annual event, which would have seen around 15,000 people running through Reading.

Disappointed runners were awarded a £40 voucher as a sweetener for the event being cancelled, but organisers stressed they would not receive a refund.

Race director Judith Manson was quizzed on whether she and her team at Sweatshop, which organises the race, had taken out insurance to cover for sudden cancellations.

People were left furious after the race was cancelled just hours before it was set to begin, despite snow having fallen the previous day.

Snow continued to fall throughout the evening but organisers held off cancelling the race until after 6am on Sunday morning.

The call sparked a wave of anger on social media.

Chris Valentine wrote on Twitter: "Nothing has changed since yesterday's forecasts. People have travelled great distances at great cost. Disgrace."

Jack Penn added: "Awful to leave it so late. This was always the forecast and a lot of people have risked travelling across the country for this at great risk and expense. All about money for you."

Others backed the call to cancel the race in the wintery conditions, while organisers stressed it was scrapped with a "heavy heart".

A statement reads: "These conditions are not taken lightly, we have done everything we can to continue the event but the health and safety of our runners, workforce, volunteers, partners and all involved is our first priority.

"Our Terms & Conditions state that this is a non-refundable event, even under cancellation.

"We will be reviewing this matter and ask all runners to bear with us at this difficult time. We thank them for all their support and kind words the team are receiving today."