Please accept our apologies for the delay in publishing the results. At Buxton, on Wednesday, there was an issue which quickly became apparent with the juniors' race caused, we believe, by the actions of two individuals and resulting in two signs being turned round in the wooded area on the drop from the marshal point by the stile. These signs had only been put in place shortly before the race, to minimise the risk of tampering. As soon as we realised there was a problem, the matter was addressed. Unfortunately the lead four runners took the wrong route in addition to one or two at the back of the field.
Clearly, runners taking the wrong route, through whatever reason, is something that does happen periodically and, I'm sure, will happen again. This problem can potentially affect most races, wherever they are, and there are some well-documented event malfunctions; many of which have had far greater resources at their disposal. It is for this reason that many runners will acquaint themselves with unfamiliar territory beforehand.
Safety of runners is something that we take very seriously. Most people will not be aware of the months and many hours of planning, and voluntary time and expense, that goes into allowing us to host events for runners to enjoy in as safe an environment as we could reasonably be expected to provide. Will it ever be 100% safe? No. Can we provide guarantees? Again, the answer is no. We mitigate the risks through knowledge of venues, experience of hosting many races, following best practice guidelines, and past learnings, amongst others. Risks evolve through a variety of factors; we try to keep ahead but we are not infallible and it's always easy with hindsight. Ultimately, runners enter events at their own risk or, in the case of juniors, under the responsibility of parents and guardians. To be clear, everyone has the option to not allow themselves or their children to take part in any races which they deem to represent too high a risk to safety.
Regrettably, the actions and comments of some parents led us to review whether it was actually worth our while in voluntarily providing these races. To dispel a myth, we aim to cover our costs in putting on the Summer Series and any excess funds are donated to local charities associated with the venues we use and communities which provide assistance.
As for the results, we have made a decision to allow the Buxton juniors' positions to stand however we have altered the qualifying criteria for prizes to five counting races from eight (previously it was six from eight). The rationale is that the lead runners took the wrong route in good faith as opposed to being careless and not spotting reasonable markings. The decision was in no way influenced by the representations of some parents. We recognise that it may not satisfy all parties however our decision is final. This does not affect the seniors' qualifying criteria and neither does it affect the qualification for t-shirts (for juniors and seniors) which is still six from eight races completed.
We have decided to continue to follow the programme of races, already published, but, should we experience a similar reaction to that following Buxton, we shall have no hesitation in cancelling races.
In summary, please bear in mind that we provide these races for the enjoyment of others but things can go wrong in the sport, despite everyone's best efforts.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Chairman, on behalf of the Committee
Staffs Moorlands AC