At lunchtime today I ran the course with a couple of other people, there is a lot of snow and a lot of ice and the tarmac paths are slippery, however, we have decided that we will not be cancelling today and that we will do another inspection tomorrow morning before the run and make a final decision then. We will try to post to our Facebook page and Twitter by 8am, but it is at the Run Director’s discretion to cancel at any point up to 9am. It is assumed that the conditions will not get any better over the next 17hours but we don’t know how much worse they could get.
The decision making process is based solely upon the safety of the runners and volunteers, their getting to and from the event, the weather conditions and the conditions under foot. Some things we cannot influence, if the access roads to the park are impassable there is little we can do we would need to cancel, at the moment they have been treated and are clear. The weather forecast for tomorrow morning is to be 2 degrees and cloudy, again this is out of our control but we have run many times in temperatures colder than that, it is not pleasant but if we all dress appropriately there shouldn’t be a problem. Finally the conditions under foot; the ground is frozen and there is a layer of snow (compacted) and in places ice. The icy patches a mainly in areas of heavy footfall or where puddles normally accumulate. In order to avoid these higher risk areas we will be adjusting the course to run on the grassed fields and hardcore paths, and away from the tarmacked paths. This does not remove the risk but reduces it considerably.
We rely on you as runners to also be sensible, that is to say tomorrow is not the day to be turning up in your racing flats and shorts and trying to smash your PB! Consider how fast you should be running given the conditions, if your foot were to slip could you react, if someone in front were to slide on some ice could you avoid them and the ice. You should be going no faster than a jog, you should be aware of the surface that you are just about to put your feet on. Consider your clothing and especially your footwear. As you are going to be running slower than usual put some more thin layers on, you can always take them off if you get too hot. Your footwear is really important, if you have trail shoes wear them, if not find the shoes with the most amount grip that you own and wear them, normal road trainers will not offer you enough grip on parts of the course – if you are worried about falling do not run.
Listen to the marshals and the importantly the run brief, the course will not be the same as normal and there are some small diversions to help avoid obvious hazards. The marshals will be calling out directions and any hazards in the immediate vicinity, likewise look out for course signage including cones that will also be highlighting hazards, they might not be where you expect them.
I will re-iterate, if we do not cancel the run tomorrow morning, the risk of falling due to ice and snow is higher than normal, if you are worried about falling do not run. The risk of you turning your ankle on uneven ground is higher than normal, if you are worried about turning your ankle do not run.
It would be very easy for us to just cancel but and whilst there is a heightened risk of falling we currently feel that it is still possible to have a safe run if everyone is sensible. Just promise me if we do go ahead please make sure you bring you barcode along!!!