Many road races are being cancelled following introduction of new legislation governing events on the public highway.
The Great Derrynoose Run due to be held this Sunday is the latest road race to fall victim to the new legislation governing running and triathlon events taking place on public roads. Exceptions to the new laws in include cycling races and band parades. The Derrynoose organisers made the following announcement: “It is with deep regret that due to new legislation, regulation and administration fees by our council we will not be hosting our run this year.”
This follows on the heels of the cancellation of what would have been the 39th Jude Gallagher Memorial Round the Bridges Race in Limavady. All this is a consequence of the enactment of The Roads (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (NI) 2010 and the Road Traffic Regulations (NI) Order 1997 before the NI Assembly was shut down in 2017. The legislation requires organisers of any triathlon or road race to foot the bill for the PSNI providing road safety.
“We are a running club that organises events for the whole community and actively promotes a healthy lifestyle. We are not an events company designed to promote events with a view to making a profit. Our aim is to promote a community spirit with running available to everyone,” read the statement released by the race organisers Springwell Running Club.
“While the Constabulary (sic) have their own problems regarding finance, resources and political leadership a consistent approach from the various Command Districts would have been appreciated and may have assisted Race Directors in organising events. Springwell RC fully recognises its responsibilities and has shown over many years and numerous events the ability to safely and successfully manage races but, under the current legislation we find that our experience counts for nothing.”
The crux of the matter seems to be that many local councils now require a traffic plan before giving permission for a race to go ahead. This can cost anything from £1000 and upwards. For instance, a club in mid Ulster was recently quoted £2000 for a traffic plan for their race that attracted only 120 entries last year. That seems cheap compared to the £4000 demanded for a half marathon in north Antrim that had just over 400 finishers in 2018.
Adding to the frustration of the running community it that there appears to be no consistency between councils in different parts of the North. A council in the west recently said that a traffic plan was not needed as the roads were not being closed and allowed the event to go ahead. Meanwhile others have simply ignored the legislation and proceeded with their race without traffic plan, police presence or anything.
Organisers are also finding that switching to the trails does not come without its cost as the NI Forest Service are now charging £400 for use of their paths and facilities. While practically every other country in the world is trying to promote an active lifestyle, it looks like here in Northern Ireland everything possible is being done to prevent people getting out on the roads and enjoying a bit of exercise.
And many good causes are being denied a much-needed source of funds as they suffer collateral damage from what appears to be some ill-conceived legislation. Or did the governing bodies of athletics and triathlon get caught asleep at the wheel when the regulations were put out for consultation before their enactment?
COUNTDOWN ON TO BELFAST IMC
Belfast IMC Meeting director Eamonn Christie confirms that he has now upwards of 100 entries for his track classic at the Mary Peters on June 22. The men’s 1500m remains the feature race but a few other races are also shaping up to be exciting affairs.
Christie expects the bonus £300 on offer for a 3:42 timing in the 1500m to bring in further top milers before the closing date for entries. The British Milers Club are sending four of its best athletes for the race with Ireland represented by, among others, teenage sensation Cian McPhillips from Longford. At the other end of the age spectrum Shane Healy will attempt to beat the world M50 best for the metric mile of 3:58.26 held by Britain’s Adrian Heath.
The men’s 800m looks set to be a cracker too with Annadale Strider Conall Kirk carrying home hopes against the likes of European Junior bronze-medallist John Fitzsimons, Raheny Shamrock’s Kieran Kelly and Mullingar’s Shane Fitzsimons.
The women’s 800m should also be worth watching as Ulster University’s Katie Kirk seeks revenge on Leeds Carnegie student Lea Barrow who defeated her over the distance last weekend in Manchester. Scotland’s Mhairi Hendry and 15-year-old City of Lisburn starlet Victoria Lightbody are also in the field.
The Regent House pupil, coached by Andrea Law, ran 2:09 last weekend and looks set to be a big star in the not so distant future. Nadia Power, fresh from a 2:03 in Belgium, is the latest to be added to the 800m.
Emma Mitchell, a winner over 3000m at this meeting, moves up to 5000m on this occasion where Leeds City’s Claire Duck lies in wait along with Sinead Sweeney and Sarah Lavery. The men’s 5000m looks like a straight shoot-out between City of Derry Spartans and North Belfast Harriers led by Declan Reed and Mark McKinstry respectively but City of Lisburn’s James Edgar may have other ideas as he chases a European Junior qualifying time.
Christie has also expressed his appreciation to Belfast City Council who have grant-aided the event along with all his other sponsors who make the meeting possible.
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ROSSA RUN BECKONS IN JULY
Shane Mallon and his team in Ardboe have been busy this last few weeks finalising arrangements for the 6th The Great Rossa Run on July 7. The organising committee will again cater for all levels of runners with distances of 5K, 10K and half marathon on offer around the quiet lough-side roads on mid Ulster.
“The event attracted over 750 participants last year and we expect more this time,” said Mallon. “The event is expected to increase in size yet again this year and we are gearing up for in excess of 800 participants. In parallel to the timed runs, there will be a 5K walk/fun run for families wishing to take part.
“There is generous prize money of over £1,500 for the leading men and women in the open categories across the three runs and first prize in the O40, O50 and O60 categories within the half marathon and 10K runs. A proportion of each entry fee is being donated to three local charities.”
All routes have been subject to professional measurement and are part of the accredited “Athletics NI Certified Course”. Registration is available on-line at the Athletics NI website (www.athleticsni.org). Collection of pre-registered race numbers will be at the Ardboe Parish Centre on the morning of the run. The Parish Centre will be open from 7:00am on race morning with late entries taken between 8:00am – 9:30am for all the runs.
DROMORE ROAD RACES ON JUNE 22
The popular Dromore (Tyrone) Community Road Race featuring a 10K, 5K and 5K Walk was launched this week. The title sponsor is again McDermott’s Pharmacy with Aware NI the designated charity. Taking place on Saturday, June 22 at 12:00 noon, online entry is open for all runners before the closing date of Friday, June 14.
The organisers are gain offering chipped timing and the runner’s name printed on your number if they enter in advance. Local runner Grainne McRory (pictured) will be hoping to go one better than her runner-up spot in the women’s race last year. Online entry and full information on the race can be found at www.dromore10k.com