Dear Vancouver Sun Run,
I am writing with the hope that race organizers will take action on a course condition that is becoming increasingly dangerous during the run.
I’m referring to the groups of walkers that choose to ignore the race order and start their excursion ahead of the thousands of people who registered as runners.
This morning I started at the front of the green group (50 to 60 min) and within the first 1 km of my run I found myself avoiding large groups of walkers wearing white and purple bibs. I ran the whole race at a consistent 5 min km pace and throughout the entire course I was forced to dodge large groups of walkers. These weren’t runners taking a break, these were walkers who started early. With thousands of runners coming from behind them they are a hazard on the course and they should be treated as such.
In addition to being dangerous, these people slow hundreds if not thousands of people down, which is unfair. If a participant trained to run fast and is registered in the right race group, they shouldn’t be forced to contend with walkers who blatantly choose to ignore the order of the event.
As a long time race participant I have seen this condition become increasingly pervasive and today was by far the worst in my 15 years of Vancouver Sun Runs.
So I have two suggestions:
- Police the course. Every race official and volunteer should be trained to proactively help move early walkers off the course and walking runners over to the right side of the road. This is a no brainer.
- Better signs and race information. From registration right through to the finish line, team and individual participants should be repeatedly exposed to a safety policy that keeps groups of early walkers off the course. I am sure officials can do a better job of promoting safety with the extensive email, social media, TV and print resources deployed by the race.
In closing, I want to make it clear that I don’t want to belittle the participation of walkers, I am very pleased to see people getting out and enjoying our city on foot. However the race is set up with stages for a reason, and if people are ignoring the rules, the rules need to be reenforced.
Thanks in advance for considering my recommendations; I look forward to a safer course next year.