Sheffield's annual 13-mile race was about to begin when organisers called it off because a water delivery had not arrived.
"It is with huge disappointment and regret that we have been forced to cancel this year's race due to a problem with the delivery of water," Sheffield Half Marathon announced.
"We would like to express our sincerest apologies to everyone involved in the race who will be affected. We will update you future plans asap."
But South Yorkshire Police said a large number of participants had still chosen to run the race and that road closures would go ahead as planned.
"Working with the organisers, officers attempted to speak to participants who had chosen to run and divert them on to a shorter route to the finish line," the force said in a statement.
"However, officers have kept their positions and stance with the initial road closures to motorists to protect all the runners and ensure their safety is maintained."
Even Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg waded into the row.
"Everyone involved deserves a full explanation of how this farcical situation was allowed to happen.
"Sheffield is an outstanding city of sport. The extraordinary scenes today shouldn't tarnish that reputation.
"The fact that runners who had carried on regardless were still well supplied with water thanks to spectators, tells you everything you need to know about Sheffield people."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sheffield Half Marathon
- South Yorkshire Police