Athletics events continue to feel the freeze

Events across the country feel the impact of the snow as Road Relays are among a number of meets cancelled or postponed due to adverse weather conditions

Snow running (Mark Shearman)

The snow continued to cause disruption across the country this weekend, with many athletics events cancelled or postponed because of the adverse weather conditions.

Athletes and fans took to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter, which seemed to indicate that it was more the way the cancellation of events was handled and communicated that was the issue, rather than the actual cancellations themselves.

The South of England Cross Country Championships hit the headlines back in January when the event was postponed with five days to go, which was deemed by many to be far too early to make an informed decision.

At the other end of the scale is the cancellation of the Northern, Midland and Southern Road Relays that were due to take place this past weekend (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March).

While the Midland event was cancelled at midday on Friday, the decision to cancel the Northern Athletics 12 & 6 stage Road Relays Championships only came at 8am on the day of the event and the South of England Championships were confirmed as cancelled at 10am on the day, which meant many clubs were on en route to the event before hearing it would no longer be going ahead.

In response to an AW tweet advising of the cancellation of the Southern event, Graham Firth tweeted: “Heard this news just as we were about to join M4 slip road with one third of the Windsor women’s team.”

Dave Turnbull of Holmfirth Harrier Athletics Club noted on Facebook how the men’s team were left to make their own decision as to whether to attempt to travel to the Northern Road Relays event in Blackpool following a ‘lack of leadership’ from NOEAA.

“The men’s team have taken the decision not to travel to Blackpool,” he wrote at 8.16am on Saturday. “The event still hasn’t been cancelled, much to the disgust of me and many others, therefore unless something is agreed we unfortunately won’t be at the nationals.

“The lack of leadership from NOEAA has been frankly a disgrace and teams should not have felt pressured to try and travel in dangerous conditions to qualify for the national. I will be asking our committee to consider a complaint to NOEAA on the matter.”

World silver medallist Hannah England also voiced her disappointment at not being able to compete, tweeting: “Gutted conditions were too bad for southern road relays to go ahead, I was looking forward to getting to run for @oxfordcityac.”

Also commenting on the cancellation of the Southern event was Ian Leitch, who tweeted: “Should have made the call yesterday instead of wasting the time and money of 100′s of people. Absolutely rubbish.”

However, a tweet from Reading AC seemed to sum up the situation: “Proof that organisers can’t win! Either get slated for premature cancellation or equally for a very late cancellation!”

It’s set to be the coldest March for more than half a century, with the wintry conditions forecast to continue until after Easter. So the question seems to be, when should organisers make the call? Were the Northern and Southern Road Relays cancelled too late or is it understandable that organisers wanted to leave it until as late as possible to decide?

Among the events cancelled or postponed because of the adverse weather this weekend are these below, along with any details available about it being rescheduled. Comment below and let us know what you think and keep your eyes peeled for a more in-depth discussion on the cancellation of events in this week’s AW, out Thursday March 28.

» Events cancelled last weekend included (with new dates, if known, in brackets):
- Northern Road Relays
- Midland Road Relays
- Southern Road Relays
- Castlewellan Spring Lake 10K & 5K
- Epilepsy Action Bradford 10K (April 28, provisional)
- Havering Mayesbrook Spring Warm-Up
- Ironbridge Half Marathon
- Ivan Stringer Memorial Open Meeting
- Loughborough Half Marathon
- Radley AC Open Graded Meeting
- Skegness 10K
- BodyFit Lorton School 10K
- Central AC Pre Season Open Meeting (April 14)
- Larne Half Marathon
- Midland Counties Open Outdoor Throws
- Nigel Barge Memorial 10K
- Fiendsdale Fell
- Excalibur Marathon
- Yr Aran Fell
- Dark & White Mini MM
- Blakey Blitz
- Edale Skyline
- Rivock Edge
- Wrekin Fell
- Banbury 15
- Lilleshall Monumental 10K (May 5)
- San Domenico 20
-  Thorney 10K
- Coniston 14

2 Responses to “Athletics events continue to feel the freeze”

  1. A Tucker says:

    Having travelled up from South London to the Southern Road Relays in Milton Keynes I arrived at 10.30 am (for a 12 o'clock start) to be told that the race had been cancelled at 10 am due to icy conditions.
    When I left at 9am the event website confirmed the matter was on unless stated otherwise.
    The course was icy at 7am that morning. Why wait until 10am to make that decision? Our club (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC) had even arrived and pitched the club tent at the track prior to the decision to cancel the race. I, like many others made the journey to Milton Keynes despite the weather. It was bad but not terrible. However, I do not disagree with the decision to cancel the race. As a race organiser, I understand the difficult decision faced by the officials. Continued….

  2. A Tucker says:

    However, the decision to safeguard competitors within the event would also extend to safegurading competitors against making the potentially hazardous journey to get there. It would have been obvious that those attending would have had to travel and would have to leave with plenty of time to arrive. Surely a decision deadline of 7am would have been sensible. With modern phones and tablets, websites can be viewed on the go. A 7am cancellation would have avoided many unnecessary journeys.
    I applaud the decision to take what will always be a controversial decision to cancel a race on the grounds of safety, if it is warranted, but please can we ensure that this is done timely and with due regard to those who will be attending. Thanks.

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