Lydd Half-Marathon Results

I'm not quite sure where to start!
But I suppose that the first thing that needs to be said is a big thank you to those of you who took part in today's race at Lydd.
Those of you who have taken part in the race before will know that we have suffered marshalling issues in the past - particularly last year. Such were the issues then that Cathy and I decided we did not want to organise another Lydd Half Marathon. However, we had a huge response from runners - those that know us and those that don't - that asked us to stick with the event. And so we did.
Just to give a little bit of background, the race is organised by us on behalf of Lydd Town Council who wanted to revive a previously popular event in the town to raise money for the Mayor's Charity Fund. We don't do it for money - we do it for expenses only. And we do it because we want to help bring quality events to runners in the south east. Moreover, as runners ourselves, we have a genuine love for the sport. Those who know Cathy and I will know how much we appreciate the support from friends in the running community - we always try our best and most times we seem to get it right. But, frankly, this event has plagued us from the start. We agreed to organise the race on one condition - that we received full marshalling support from the town. Our stipulation was that a minimum of 20 marshals were needed to put on a safe event. We reduced that to 10 during the week when it became clear that the town couldn't provide the 20 we asked for. Yesterday we were told the town could only provide 8 - and this morning only five of those eight tuned up, including two children (and, by the way, we are very grateful to those five!).
So, what do we do? Our Course Director Steve was adamant that, with the level of marshalling we had, we should cancel the race - which left us in a very difficult position. In the event we managed to beg, steal and borrow a bare minimum number of marshals in order to put the race on - and that was the reason we had issues out on the course. I think that if I had paid money to enter today I would have had issues with the number and quality of marshals - and the toilets (the Sports Pavilion with extra toilets remained resolutely shut throughout the morning despite promises to the contrary) - so please don't think that we don't understand. [CONTINUED}


  • I think that we are once again faced with some very difficult decisions about this race. Cathy and I are not prepared to run the risk of compromising runners' safety by not providing a safe, secure and enjoyable running environment. And, frankly, we are not prepared to run the risk of ruining a so-far, half decent reputation. So the bottom line is that if we are faced with the same marshalling problems this time next year there will not be a Lydd Half Marathon. This is a real deja vu situation for us but we took another kicking today - particularly Cathy who took some pretty severe stick on the finishing line from half a dozen disgruntled runners, which is very upsetting for both of us - and, whilst I accept those with a beef have every right to express it, we are simply not prepared to go through it again. We know how to put an event on - those that have taken part in the Ashford & District 10K, the Rye Series, the Christmas races etc will know that - which just makes us so frustrated and angry that this event doesn't make the mark.
    However, its probably not the best time to start making decisions about the race today - we will wait for the dust to settle first. But our inclination is that the race will not continue in its present format, if at all. That might mean simply cancelling the race. Or we may consider moving it to another community in the area that will support it, or involve another organisation that is able to provide the marshalling support we need. We will, though, consult with friends in the running community and take on board any suggestions you may have.
    Long ramble over!
    On the positive side I think we found a great course - one that is much better than the previous out and back course to Greatstone. It is fast and flat and, whilst we were blessed with good weather today, it is a course that wouldn't be as severe as the coast road when the wind blows.
    The provisional results are now available on the Nice Work website, although with the luck we've had today who knows ..... we are aware that there are a couple of missed numbers, so do please let us know if you don't appear on the results and we will track down your time.
    To those that did express their gratitude today, we are very grateful - and from my point of view I'm grateful to those that supported Cathy when she needed it!
    If you'd like to make any suggestions about the event then please drop me an email.
    Kind regards

    Martin Burke
    Race Director
  • Hi Martin,

    I have done several of your events and they have always been well marshalled and well organised.

    I've not done the Lydd one so cannot comment but just wanted to say chin up matey and keep on organising great races.

  • Martin

    As a race organiser and competitor I sympathise with marshalls and the lack of them. However, there are a number of groups you could ask for help who would be happy to help out. Scouts, Guides, Army Cadets, Sea Cadets, Venture Scouts all have ready supplies of 16-18 yr olds who are community minded and can actually sit still for about 2hrs with a bib on and follow orders. Schools that run Duke Of Edinburgh awards also have reasonably mature young adults that will do as they're told in return for you signing off part of their community help programme.
    Our local council also runs a HM as a showcase event and has an army of volunteers who are happy to help out, be they local council workers to members of the public.
    Have you approached local running clubs for help with volunteers?
    Our club has just introduced a rule that any person who wishes to run our own 10k has to provide a marshall in an effort to garner the 50 marshalls needed for the event and I know of another local club that doesn't allow ANY of it's club members to enter their 10k promotion - they have to marshall instead.

    Have you looked into asking PCSO's for their help instead of regular police? Might increase the costs but may be worth it

  • Hi MM - thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts.

    My understanding is that there are some issues in Lydd which prevent those voluntary groups you mention from helping with this race - read into that what you will! In 2008 we did have the Scouts and also the Guides helped out but apparently neither is prepared to help now. I hasten to add that there are no issues whatsoever between us and those groups - and we would be delighted to welcome them as part of the team.

    The challenge that we are faced with is relatively simple - if we are organising on behalf of a charity or a community group we will provide the race management expertise and key staff on the day - Race Director, Course Director, Timing and Results and also four people to act as Key Marshals. All we ask in return is that the small army of 'regular' marshals that we need to staff water stations and act as course guides are provided for us. The race profits are provided to that charity or group in return for that guarantee. The fact it works is evident from the respnse we get from races such as the Rye Summer Series, Beckley 10K and Ashford & District 10K.

    What is annoying is that we had issues last year and made a decision that we wouldnt organise it again unless we were guaranteed the marshalling support. Our stipulation was for a minimum of 20 - which we reduced to 10 last week. On Saturday we were told only 8 could be found and, in the end, just five, two of them youngsters turned up.

    More frustraing is the fact that we have links with local charities and groups who would jump through hoops to have the opportunity to be involved in an event like this - and provide the neccessary marshal support.

    I have to say that we have been overwhelmed this morning with the emails of support from those who took part - astonishingly, we have had emails from over 20% of the particpants!! It is most heartening and we will take this as a sign that if we can work these issues out we will try our best to maintain the event on this course - but where the Race HQ could be and the what the event name could be is for dscussion later!

    Thanks once again for posting.

  • I don't understand what people are moaning about,

    Who runs that sort of distance without taking a drink with them?  

    I can't say I had any problem with lack of marshalls, just follow everyone else. The roads were mostly straight and wherever there were junctions there was someone pointing you in the right direction.

    Please don't give up on this event, I think this route was really good, definitely the nicest half marathon I've done and much better than running along the coast.

    Don't let people get you down, I'm sure the quiet majority of people enjoyed the race!

    On a side note I noticed there were pictures being taken at the finish line, do you know if these are going online?

  • Hi Martin

     I really enjoyed the race and had no problems with the marshalling etc. Please keep the event going as its one of my favourites!.

  • In response to Jason - I don't carry water with me when racing this distance.  i'm heavy enough, why carry more weight around when there is water provided on the course?  It's really a basic requirement on this kind of event to provide water at appropriate points on the course, and sufficient toilets.

     Really sorry to read about the problems, it's good to see that the majority of folk realise that nice work were let down again, and that it's not a reflection of how they operate.

  • Sir CdeC. It's a long story, one which I may bore you with when I'm drunk enough.
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