Firstly, I would like to thank you for being part of the 9th English Half Marathon event weekend in Warrington.
An event weekend like this, is a year in the making for the team and I. A busy event week turns into a hectic race weekend full of challenges, stressful decisions and sometimes, it is very hard for us to enjoy the weekend.
This year we kicked off the weekend early with our Inaugural EHM 5k Night Run. Despite course and technical issues with the timing equipment, I was overwhelmed with the response from runners – the big blingy medal, free pint and chilli con carne went down very well. Visually the event looked great, the track animation was brilliant, the music out on the course – then add on top of that the bright colours and head torches on the runners was a real sight! We will stick with this race distance – we will get the course right and we will add even more dazzle to kick off the weekend in style. I will be writing a separate note to those who attended on Friday night – we’d love for you guys to be part of it again next year and we have a little gesture that we hope will make that happen.
As soon as the 5k was over, we were dealt our biggest challenge of the weekend. The UK Terror Threat Level was increased to its highest level – Critical. Many people may ask: what does this have to do with the English Half Marathon in Warrington? Quite simply, we always manage this risk. As well as 7500 participants, we also have spectators, staff and volunteers in our care. Running events have been targeted in the past and unfortunately Warrington as a town has been too.
Over Friday night and into late Saturday afternoon, we had to liaise with all our partners to understand the current threat and the risks that our event carried and how we could mitigate them. I am very grateful to the police, Warrington Borough Council, our security company and whole staff for pulling together to work this through. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that race day is as safe and fun as possible for all.
The main race day morning was frantic as always. The course crews start from 4am, with other event staff coming in for around 5am. We were looking in good shape for a 9am start – but we had traffic on the course that was unwilling to cooperate with traffic management and marshals. We had to fix them before deeming it safe to go. There is no one more frustrated than me to get underway on time – but quite simply, until we have the all clear from all of our partners – the race is not safe to go. Some people say it’s unacceptable to start late – but it is criminal to let runners hit traffic head on. So, I truly appreciate everyone’s patience.
It was well documented that there was growth in our entries this year. This did mean we had spells where we were overwhelmed on the finish line. We know where it fell down and we also know how we will stop this from happening in 2018. Runners who were impacted with a congested finish line will not have their results impacted. We have plenty of technology at our disposal to correct times – this analysis and work is well underway and the results files are regularly being updated. Drop up a line at [email protected] if you have a particular query.
Some great news for Warrington is that, the famous Golden Gates are going to get a refurbishment very soon – this means in 2018, we have the potential of trebling the finish line size, as the aim is to have all 3 gates open – not just the one! We will increase the footprint of the medal, water and goody pick up area and this will allow for a much more relaxing post-race cool down.
As always, the WireFM Mile is a race that brings joys not only to those who take part but also spectators. To see 1300 people of all ages and abilities is an inspiring sight!
I would like to thank everyone for their feedback and words of support. Along with our volunteers, it is the runners that make this event. The smiling faces, medal selfies and good times is what it is all about.
We are motivated by putting on a great event for you and the town.
Roll on 2018 and our 10th Anniversary – take a look at www.run-ehm.com to see how you can get signed up today!
The hotly anticipated re-open of the 2018 English Half Marathon takes place at 6pm Sunday November 5th. Consecutive sell out years and limited capacity mean you need to enter early to avoid disappointment.Register Now
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