A Tory election candidate has been accused of “pulling a cheap publicity stunt” by running a marathon to promote his campaign instead of fundraising for charity.
Sean Anstee bragged about his 26 mile run on Sunday and posed for photos with kitted-out campaigners wearing tops bearing with his slogan in the Manchester mayor race.
Anstee attempted to embarass his opponent in the election, Labour’s Andy Burnham, by attacking him for “forgetting” to attend the race.
The Trafford Council leader boasted about his presence at the race, saying in a video message on Twitter that he was running “because this is Greater Manchester’s opportunity to show itself to the world”.
Race organisers confirmed to The Huffington Post UK separately that “a large proportion of runners” participated to raise vital funds for charity.
The stunt appeared to backfire, though, as social media users hit back at Anstee - and suggested he change his campaign slogan to “From Here, For Myself”.
“Today should be about charity not a PR stunt,” Trafford FC fan Adrian Halliwell wrote on Twitter. “Whilst I applaud all runners, sly digs at opponents and shameless PR meant you lost today!”
Another user, Daniel, said: “Turning a marathon that raises money for charity in to a political statement. Running a marathon doesn’t make you a better person.”
The Huffington Post UK contacted Anstee to ask if he ran for a charity, but did not receive a response.
A source in the mayoral race said the 29-year-old councillor had already been quizzed by a local resident on the same question, but had also had no reply.
Both Anstee and Burnham attended a hustings at the Jewish Leadership Council in the evening following the marathon.