FOLLOWING a battle with breast cancer Anne Pharo set herself the challenge of running the Frankfurt Marathon.
She travelled to Germany only to have her dreams dashed – when organisers forced her to stop running because she was ‘too slow’.
The 41-year-old, of Sunnyside Walk, Leigh Park, was left hurt and humiliated by the episode – which she said was tantamount to bullying.
Anne, who works in e-banking, said: ‘I completed the London Marathon in 2012 in 5hrs 19mins and, perhaps I was a bit slow, but I raised over £2,000 for Breakthrough Breastcancer.
‘When my friend suggested last year that we do Frankfurt I thought I’d go for it. It was a tough year. In January this year I was told my cancer had returned in my other breast.
‘I had surgery and reconstruction but unfortunately the reconstruction did not work and I got a serious infection and had to have a second surgery to remove the implant.
‘In June I broke my foot but I kept going with training. So, to be told to stop running because I was too slow was devastating.’
Anne said that had she continued at the pace she was running she would have finished in six-and-a-half hours.
‘From four miles the organisers and police in vans, cars and on motorbikes were behind us, ushering us to “run faster or give up”,’ she added.
‘But I was pacing myself so that I could finish the race.
‘At eight miles they said we were not allowed to continue because they needed to clean the streets. This was just bullying.
‘They didn’t offer us an alternative route on the pavement and, once we stopped, they drove off and left us there.
‘We had no idea where we were and I was devastated.’
Single mum Anne said she has read the race rules and there is no cut-off point.
But athletics expert Colin Goater, race director for the Great South Run, said a cut-off time was normal for marathons.
‘There are various reasons for it,’ said Mr Goater.
‘Road closure orders only last a certain period of time.
‘The administrators will be concerned about traffic problems.
‘And there is the insurance to think about. If a collision occurred it would be a difficult situation.’
The News contacted the organisers of the Frankfurt Marathon but they did not respond.