Runners have complained on internet forums and social networking sites after a marshalling blunder knocked a tenth of the distance off this year’s Bradford City Run.

As the fallout from the weekend’s error continued last night, messages were left on the Runners’ World forum and City Run Facebook page slamming the fiasco, which meant runners were sent the wrong way on the 5k loop, causing the 5k race to be around 500m short and the 10k event only 9k.

One competitor who travelled from Hertfordshire to take part in Sunday’s event at City Park last night told the Telegraph & Argus how he would be asking for his travel expenses and race entry fee back after the “farce”.

The man, who did not want to be named, said he gave his medal back to the race director in protest. “At no stage did anyone apologise to me,” he added.

As reported in the Telegraph & Argus yesterday, Bradford Council officers were forced to apologise for the mistake, which meant many runners were unable to tell if they had broken their personal best times.

Organisers said the mistake was caused by an event marshal from ESS Management UK Ltd, not a volunteer marshal, and they were sorry for the “error”.

It was the first time a route starting and finishing at City Park had been used, replacing last year’s event across gruelling hills through the Bronte countryside.

In an e-mail sent to all participants with a full list of race results, an event spokesman said: “ESS Management UK Ltd sincerely apologises to all the participants of this year’s inaugural 5k and 10k Bradford City Run. Due to a marshalling misdirection that occurred at point 17 of the course, the race distance was shorter than the advertised distance by approximately 500m for the 5k and 1k for the 10k. They are very sorry for this error.”

Tom Potter, from Otley Athletic Club, said: “I have done 250 races previously and never come across an issue like this before. We said afterwards it was not acceptable and they will struggle to get it again next year.

“It is usually organised by local running clubs, but an organisation was paid money to run this event.”

Competitors on the Runners’ World forum queried the distance of the course, with some asking if others had also missed out the Easby Road part of the route.

Gavin Dodd said: “I am a race director myself so I know it is hard to put a race on. I believe today’s mistake was due to a marshal sending us the wrong way, but you have to get these things right, the marshals have to know the route.”

On the City Run Facebook page, Kevin Ogden said: “Well done on yet another badly organised, badly marshalled shambles – plenty of disappointed runners in City Park.”

But Rob Rushforth said: “It was disappointing as I was on for a 10k PB, but it wasn’t done on purpose. Everyone makes mistakes.”

Sarah Phillips added: “I really enjoyed the race regardless. It is disappointing, I get that, but mistakes happen.

“That aside, I thought the marshals were really friendly and the event was enjoyable. I can do without the unnecessary spectacle of some of the bigger events. Looking forward to next year.”