London (CNN)The organizers of the London Marathon said Thursday they would investigate reports from a pacer that runners at the tail end of the 26.2-mile course were sprayed with cleaning fluid and hassled to speed up by event officials and clean-up workers.
London Marathon investigates reports runners were called 'fat' and 'slow'
Hugh Brasher, event director for the London Marathon, said he was "very sorry" to hear of the experience of a "small number" of participants during the marathon, which took place on Sunday. A total of 42,549 runners completed the marathon, which takes in the British capital's major landmarks.
Elizabeth Ayres, one of the official pacers at the marathon, told CNN that the attitude and lack of support from officials was the most disappointing part. "The whole marathon was just horrible," she said. "I had runners that were crying." This placed a large responsibility on Ayres to motivate the competitors, who felt like no one wanted them on the track, she said.
Ayres outlined the "horrendous" treatment she and a number of other runners had received in a Facebook post and in an interview with the BBC.
As a pacer, Ayres said she was asked to run the race within seven and a half hours, motivate participants and provide support to them.