It is going to take a couple of days to confirm a new date and it is subject to the availability of the venue and our key suppliers.
The commercial use of the Eastnor Castle Deer Park increases significantly from now into the Summer and we need to find a date that fits in with this and does not clash with important local or national races.
We will produce a policy confirming arrangements for transfer to other events should the revised date not be suitable for existing entrants.
The decision this morning to cancel the race was a significant blow to everyone concerned, especially given the lateness of the call.
We had been obviously been monitoring weather reports continually on the days preceding the race and were tracking those against what we were actually experiencing at Eastnor.
Rain was not a concern for us – but the high winds and low temperatures that we were experiencing were. We expected the winds to abate and blow through, but they didn’t, in fact they significantly increased from about 0800. This introduced two key factors effecting the viability of the race; 1; Wind chill, which we believed created significant risk to the welfare of the juniors in particular – in regards to the potential of them suffering from exposure and core body temperature drop.
We had mitigated this yesterday by erecting a large heated marquee – but experience has taught us that we would doubtless have to recover several if not many individuals from around the course, and given the conditions this morning, it could place an unsustainable load on the marshalling/safety staff and their ability to react with the right kit and vehicles.
This concern, although not so significant for the senior race, was compounded by factor 2; falling trees and branches; One of the marshals performing a pre race safety inspection returned to his Land Rover to find it pinned down by the roof by a blown over tree; the vehicle was damaged and immovable. A recovery vehicle sent out with a chainsaw to recover him, was blocked by two other trees blown down around the course.
This in itself is certainly a hazard for the runners, but the effect it has for us as organisers, means that we lose our ability to provide a sustainable emergency and first aid service to recover injured/cold or exhausted runners from the course. We have no ability to drive on the course itself when the race is live obviously and rely on a network of unseen tracks to support race security for the runners and marshalling staff. These were rapidly becoming compromised.
Mud Runner has enjoyed the most incredible support, loyalty and regard from its runner base over the last 3 years and that energy now flows through us as organisers, which gives us with a passion to stage challenging, tough, fun and filthy runs – but ultimately in an environment that ALL can enjoy and savour.
In regard to this, we also have a responsibility to the friends and family that come to support the runners, those die-hards who travel with the runners and cheer them on regardless, and also our many volunteer staff, who without, we couldn’t run the race at all. The risk of exposure for our marshals who spend +/- 6 hours out on the course in one place was also a consideration.
We have to assume the responsibility for the welfare of all these people also.
There is nothing worse as an event organiser having to make the decision we took this morning; we know that many runners, families and friends had gone to considerable expense, time, training and organising to turn up and that to have the race cancelled within a few hours of the start is irritating beyond belief. Many runners would have raised sponsorship for todays race, so the disappointment for those guys becomes compounded further.
We held out to the 12th hour because we genuinely felt that the conditions would improve.
We looked at all aspects of the above, and felt in balance that our responsibility in running a safe and enjoyable event overrode the ability to run ironically the toughest Mud Runner yet. We are all desperately disappointed.