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Monday, June 04, 2012

Organiser's Headache

The HiVelocity people had been getting hell for the last minute change of route for the Sundown Marathon. Originally, the route was supposed to be from the City to the West and back but just days before the race, the route was abruptly changed to the usual East Coast Park. Along with that change was a change in the start time for all the categories. The end results was a big hue and cry from all runners.

It was the same situation last year at the North Face 100 race when the 100km Duo start time was changed leading to runners leaving for Malaysia in a limbo.

The next hue and cry will probably come from the participants of the Waterway Passion Run when they realised the run route has also been changed.

And of course, the event organiser get all the blame. But is it really the fault of the organiser? Will any organiser worth his salt tablets really suka suka change such important details at the last minutes incurring cost of printing new route maps, direction sign etc etc? Or are they masochists who loves to have people rant at them?

Of course not. The sad fact is that inevitably any last minutes changes are forced on the organiser by the authorities. Take this year Sundown. After getting everybody excited about a new West Coast route and after the map has been published, it was abruptly changed. Why? I can only suspect that the Traffic Police had a change of mind after getting some "feedback" from people who will be affected by the road closure. And the change of start time? That could have been due to the Army Open house being held in the vicinity and the authorities wishing to avoid a human jam. 

Ditto last year TNF start time.What actually happened was that one of the people responsible at MacRitchie refused to open a gate at the required time. The other party refused to let the participants run through the wooden bridge and so the poor organiser ended up having to delay the start time.

Next week Waterway Passion Run also had its route changed because the authorities had a change of heart and refused to close the road apparently after in principal agreement had been obtained.

Most of the experienced event organiser had already anticipate such problems and hold off announcing the route until the very last minutes. That of course leads to a whole new lot of complaints from participants but what is the poor organiser going to do? Announce a route without getting the final approval and risk having it changed beyond recognition or delay the announcement until the final minutes?

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