SOUTHAMPTON residents are calling for changes to be made to the ABP Southampton Marathon after angry motorists reportedly attacked volunteers.

Residents are calling on the local authority to change the route of the next marathon after several volunteers said they were physically and verbally abused on Sunday.

One Daily Echo reader said: “For me it was very frustrating. One of the marshals refused to help, so I drove around the mulberry bush to try from another direction and although the road was closed the other marshal couldn’t have been more helpful.

“The only people to blame is the authorities for closing the roads.

“We have pavements, and lots of country lanes, perfect for runners.”

Another added: “I don’t agree with these idiots but I live in town centre and having a marathon on a bank holiday Sunday wasn’t the best of ideas should be at the Common or just outside the city.”

It comes after a group of volunteers told the Daily Echo about the barrage of abuse they suffered as a result of road closures to ensure the safety of runners taking part in the event.

Hayley Lonergan, 40, was part of the team manning the Cobden bridge to Portswood route, when they were met with both physical and verbal abuse for “the majority of the time”.

One man was even reportedly grabbed by the throat.

However, council officials have said they will not be amending the marathon route due to the actions of “a small minority”.

Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Councillor Satvir Kaur said: “The ABP Southampton Marathon, half marathon and 10k event does a great deal of good for the city.

“The event brings in over 30,000 people to the city each year, contributing over £1 million pounds to the local economy.

“We won’t let the actions of a small minority affect the route for the marathon.

“Their actions are anti-social and unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Rees Leisure and the ABP Marathon said: “We have looked at all the routes and over the years have listened to feedback from not only runners but also the council, the residents, bus companies and local businesses to do all we can to minimise disruption.

“Larger roads are more accessible and it is possible to flow all around and through the city unaffected - we also deliberately utilise all of the green areas within the city centre to minimise use of roads where possible."