Sunday, October 26, 2008

OMM: on my high horse (again)

I was out at a dinner last night (the Commonwealth Games Scotland Awards Dinner - Chris Hoy won the main award) and the first I heard about the OMM problems was when I received a text from John K about 10.30pm. When I got home I checked out the BBC website and Sky News, both of whom were covering the story in some detail. I know Brian M was running and there were probably a few others taking part that I know, so it was a great relief today to find out that everyone was alright.

However that is not the main purpose of this post. It is to express my disbelief at some of the comments that appeared on the BBC website forum last night, from people who have probably never set foot anywhere near the countryside. For example: "I hope all these runners apologise to the emergency services". What is that person talking about? Doesn't he or she know that a lot of these runners ARE members of the emergency services, and if they weren't used to being out in treacherous conditions they wouldn't be much use when it came to some of the more difficult search work? I know a few people who do some of the more extreme mountain challenges (such as Brian, Marco and Pete) and these are amongst the most experienced guys on the hills you could find anywhere. If I was to be stuck out there in conditions like yesterday I would certainly feel happier knowing they were looking after my safety. It is no coincidence that there were no serious casualties - the people taking part yesterday were experienced and would not be allowed in to the event if they were not properly equpped and able to cope with the worst of the elements.

And while I am on my high horse, what about these comments:
Organisers of a Lake District fell run abandoned in treacherous weather had been warned about the risks, police say.
I don't know if any of you have had experience of organising a road race. If you have organised one in Scotland, you will know that a condition of getting a permit from the governing body is that you have to notify the police about the event. When you have done so, you receive a standard letter back from the police saying that they do not encourage anyone to hold any event on public roads, and if you do decide to go ahead then it is at your own risk and you may be held liable if anything goes wrong. Honestly, it's true. Just ask any race organiser if you don't believe me. Some encouragement to organise an event which will improve the health of those in the local community, is capable of boosting local tourism, and has been proved to play a role in reducing the level of crime, is it not? I know people who have cancelled races after receiving the police letter, which I think is really sad. However, as the police warn every event organiser about the risks, I am not sure there is really anything different about the warning given in this case - although the media seem to think it is a big deal.

Anyway, back to more mundane things. I went up to the WHW on Friday night and ran from Balmaha to Rowardennan and back. It was dark all the way back and I was completely on my own - I should probably have been "warned about the risks" in case I tripped over some stones or trees, fell into Loch Lomond, met some mad psychopath in the dark on the route, or met some other disaster. Thankfully nothing untoward happened, I really enjoyed the run, and finished off with a coffee and muffin in front of the roaring fire in the Oak Tree Inn. Had I not been driving I would have sampled one of their 39 malt whiskies which were sitting on a shelf at the back of a bar - maybe another time. I think we should organise some more 'Friday night runs' - it is good fun doing these in the dark, and would be even better with some company. Those not driving could finish off with a malt.

Then today I went to Kilmacolm, a small village in Renfrewshire near where I was brought up, and did the 10k. I finished in 40.26 which I thought was ok, given the strong wind and my run on Friday night. It was well organised and a nice route, mostly on quiet roads and the cycle path, which I am sure reduced the risks - except for the cyclists and people walking their dogs..


Thomas said...

Ian, I could not agree more to your comments regarding the OMM. Those ignorant comments in the news made me quite angry. I have done the KIMM twice and I got wet. So what?

BTW I planned to do the Kilmacolm 10k but I pulled a few muscles in last Wednesday club speed session...

John Kynaston said...

Great post. I just wish the bbc had interviewed you for your opinion!


Anonymous said...

as a past and present race organizer (the last 17 years) I agree with you in what you stated regarding the police letter. As we live in a built up area we are now trying to set our run's along country paths as apposed to the roads but even this is getting harder to set up. We accept any problems that arise and are well manned if anything does happen to any of our competitors, which touch wood has never happened other than a wasp sting, gnat bite or at worst a sprained ankle. My family and I have been many times to the lakes and as you stated every one is very well looked after by the organizers of large events. I also walk the fells with my wife and dog and if I thought that the weather was to become so bad I would not dream of attempting a walk, unless I had all the right gear. It is up to the individual who is taking part to decide if the risk is worth it. The events are very enjoyable and you get a breath of "fresh air" think out the worlds troubles and meet many a new friend. These events are a real treat and a buzz, be they very tough, but as I said you don't have to take part. The weather was very bad, but it has been all year. What should we all do, sit at home, drink tea or coffee and vegetate, I think not. For any one who has not pushed them selves that little bit harder then I suggest you try it. Who knows you may enjoy it and go out and try other events, Put a little something back it to the local community as they will enjoy you all being there. And if you are lost or in trouble help will be on hand, you are not told off and you don't have to write 100 lines, "I must not - -" etc etc. but you will lean from it and put it right the next time. To every one who did the OMM 2008 good on ya. I bet you'll be back for more.

Anonymous said...

Ian - Totally agree, and have spent a lot of today at work just telling people what I think of the BBC's coverage.. Sorry to hear about people that got injured, but they are experienced and made their decisions to partake and proceed of their own free will. Should the public subsidise the 'massive' rescue attempt, maybe not.. But then maybe I should not subsidise the millions spent on treating the clinically obese or smokers who chose their way of life. Funny thing society - you just can't seem to opt out of the bits you don't agree with .

On the run up in the Great Glen this weekend I was wearing my 2003 Two Bridges Race T-Shirt. This was the last one ever held over the Kincardine and Forth Bridges.. It's gone now, and due to insurance and safety concerns won't be run again.. I count myself lucky to have been able to run it, but sad that I was part of this history..
No need to rant more, am preaching to the converted. Legs sore, but glad I went running with 8 friends, including some I had never met before, in conditions that many people would cower under their blankets in.. Cheers Keith

Brian Mc said...

Well having just returned from the OMM I'll definitely back in 2009!

Great post Ian, well said.

pacepusher said...

Well said!

Rachel Jayne Stevenson/Rogers said...

Well said.
I have had this conversation so many times this week. Why do so many, otherwise 'inteligent' people, allow themselves to be brain washed by the BBC propoganda? It's beyond me!

Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Thank god Brand and Ross came along to give the media folks a new focus :-) I won't even start on that one.

When are you going to get off your high horse and start running again? :-)