Luton Marathon

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  • Laura,

    The final kick in the teeth for the organisers was the sudden thaw over the weekend. The pavements were particularly icy on Friday and the route goes up the A6 on the pavement and back through Luton on the pavement. So this would have been a major factor. It was forecast to finally get above zero on Saturday but the extenmt of the thaw was unexpected, however this put a lot of water down which was expected to freeze on Saturday night and it didn't. I had another to go to on Sunday and planned to leave an hour earlier in case of frozen roads (and i was thinking motorways). In the event the pavements were clear in Luton. Couldn't have anticipated that but no doubt left the organisers cursing on Sunday morning.

     Nearly all races have the clause about unforeseen circumstances and the ONLY one I remember refunding was .... Luton a couple of years back when the car overturned. However I think they were insured for that occurence. Weather is more expensive to insure against and generally you just don't do it unless you are organising a 10,000 attendees outdoors concert or something..

     Just about all the costs are laid out before the day.

  • Hi there,

    We are looking at all the options open to us, and will be making a further official announcement soon. But please all be aware that we really value your support over the years. The suggestions being made are sensible, and will definitely be taken into account.

    The only reason I got involved in the Luton Marathon in the first place was because people wanted to enter it. Despite all of the disappointment, it seems that for most of you that is still the case, and all of your messages of support have been incredibly welcome.

  • I've a suggestion, move the 2011 race to January 2011 as a one off and then you have 23 months to relax and prepare for the next one..
  • Money off an entry next year is rather assuming anyone would want to enter this again in 2011......
  • Brooks the beast wrote (see)

    Laura,

    The final kick in the teeth for the organisers was the sudden thaw over the weekend. The pavements were particularly icy on Friday and the route goes up the A6 on the pavement and back through Luton on the pavement. So this would have been a major factor. It was forecast to finally get above zero on Saturday but the extenmt of the thaw was unexpected, however this put a lot of water down which was expected to freeze on Saturday night and it didn't. I had another to go to on Sunday and planned to leave an hour earlier in case of frozen roads (and i was thinking motorways). In the event the pavements were clear in Luton. Couldn't have anticipated that but no doubt left the organisers cursing on Sunday morning. Nearly all races have the clause about unforeseen circumstances and the ONLY one I remember refunding was .... Luton a couple of years back when the car overturned. However I think they were insured for that occurence. Weather is more expensive to insure against and generally you just don't do it unless you are organising a 10,000 attendees outdoors concert or something.. Just about all the costs are laid out before the day.


    Fair point Brooks, but the point is the thaw may have been sudden but it was not unexpected. The weather forecasts were all showing rain and a thaw on Friday night / Saturday morning, and if the decision was left until the Saturday as originally planned then the conditions would have been much different to when the decision was made on Friday morning.

    And that's what I don't understand - why was the decision brought forward? If Saturday was too late to make a decision, why choose this day originally and broadcast it to veryone? I know the organisers have a tough decision to make, but to change the day and move it forward by 24 hours has led to many of the questions being asked.

    BTW, I personally don't want a refund of entry fee - I enter these things at my own risk, and if it gets called off then thats a risk I take. Besides, I expect much of the takings have already been taken up by unavoidable costs, and to refund to everyone could put the organisers in financial difficulties. If the organisers are looking for something to do with the cash, then a donation to charoty, or using it to develop athletcs within their own club is more than fine by me.

  • Stephen Richardson wrote (see)
    I've a suggestion, move the 2011 race to January 2011 as a one off and then you have 23 months to relax and prepare for the next one..


    Far too short a time to move a marathon esp when you have to involve the local council and police, you're also assuming those that had volunteered to help are still availiable in Jan 2011.

    What's to say there won't be any snow and ice in Jan/Feb.

  • Depends on how many of the bells and whistles you want I guess? 

    Some of the other events cancelled at the weekend are being rescheduled.  Looks like the CrowBorough 10k is being run two weeks late.  I appreciate thats a 6 mile course vs 9 miles and the runners will be out for longer.  No doubt more complicated for a marathon, but I doubt its impossible.

    It seems the 100 Marathon club were able to knock up a marathon in a couple of days last week to replace the Luton Marathon in Milton Keynes.

    There is risk of cancellation all year round.  The summer JP Morgan chase challenge was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks on July 7th. 

    Also might be worth having some contingency plans. Ie:

    1. Plan for the cancellation ahead of the event, work with the authorities to establish a contingency date.  If the contingency date has bad weather, then cancel.

    2. If you have to cancel then hijack another event.  Ie ask the Bedford Half organisers if they could at a push make it two lap race with an earlier marathon start.

    3. Have a shorter emergency course.  Instead of 3 laps of the normal course, 10 laps of a shorter course which would be more manageable to grit etc.

    4. Establish the criteria for cancellation and publish it so everyone that enters is aware.  Ie we will cancel the event if 48 hours before there is frozen compacted ice on any part of the course, irrespective of any forecasts.

    I wouldn't mind paying a premium on the entry for this level of organisation and assurance that the 50 ? hours of marathon training you put into an event like luton don't go to waste.  

    I can appreciate that some people want a refund as they feel the paid for a service they didn't recieve.  Having said that the proceeds of the race go to a hospice.  Given there was no bad intent on any of the organisers or runners, it seems unfair that the ones that suffer the real loss are terminally ill people.  So I would agree that the organisers should if possible state that the entire or as big a % as possible will be donated to the hospice, unless a refund is specifically requested by a runner for whatever individual reasons they might have (which could be that they can donate directly with tax relief or whatever)

  • If the Luton Marathon had gone ahead we would have enjoyed some of the best conditions ever.  It should not have been cancelled.  Even the usual nagging headwind halfway round the lap would have been missing.

    Thirty people who had entered ran a marathon anyway.  Two completed in less than three hours.

    I joined 14 others for a training run just a few miles away.  No snow, no ice, blue skies and the gentlest of breezes.  A great morning for early December.

    What little snow that was left on Saturday morning was thawing fast.  Then as forecast the temperature did not fall below zero Saturday night.

    I'm afraid the organisers shot themselves in the foot by telling entrants they were going to check the course and review the situation on Saturday then jumping to a hasty and wrong decision on Friday.  Surely no-one would have argued for a cancellation on the day the review should have taken place?

    The event would have incorporated the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire County Championships.  No-one from those areas would have had any problems getting to the start.  There would have been a good field - many relishing the almost ideal conditions.

    I understand the clause about not getting refunds if an event is cancelled for good reasons.  But there was no reason to cancel.  Hiding behind a clause like that will really wind up people who are already very disappointed.    

  • I think the organizers have forgotten that entrants are paying customers.
  • I think it's clear from reading the messages on this site that runners want SOMETHING to happen with their money...be it a full/partial refund, a money-off next year voucher, another race later in the year, a hospice donation after costs are taken out.
    It's been nearly a week now and the same 'sorry we had to cancel' message is still on the organiser's website while this RW site is buzzing with people interested to know what's happening.
    I, ,and I suspect many other runners, would be upset if their entry fee disappears with not a word about what has happened to it. Can someone tell us please - even if a committee has to meet and then decide please can they give us a clue as to when a decision will be made.
  • Sorry DD, but I think you are confusing the organizers with someone who gives a sh$t.
  • Theres a lot of people who really want it both ways here.
    Most of the money will already have been spent - so you cant have it back.

    Just accept that sh*t happens and move on. Its a ball-ache organising any race and the weather can screw up anyones plans. Especially if you're as blase about the weather as to enter a December Marathon....
  • So what you're saying is that we shouldn't enter ANY race in December just in case it's called off? No, thought not...besides, it's not as if the course travelled over 26.2 miles - it was 3 laps of just under nine. So if we are airing on the side of caution we shouldn't enter any race of around ten miles idstance or higher...

    I fully accept that 'sh*t happens' and I've already said I don't want a refund. What I do want is an explanation why the decision was moved forward by 24 hours. As said before, if Saturday was too late to make a decision, why announce that in the first place? If the original announcement said Friday and they had called it off on Friday then I wouldn't feel half as agrieved as the Saturday, no Friday, announcement process.

  • http://www.lutonmarathon.org.uk/ Updated.

    50% off next year and Marathon moved 3 weeks earlier. Seems fair to me.

    Well done to the organisers for bouncing back and committing to the race for the future.
  • With 2 cancellations in 3 years (granted they had over 10 years without any) i think this Marathon is off my radar.  It's not the money, i appreciate that most of it has been spent, it's that all the training and injuries and commitment along the way to get ready for such a challenge that has now all been in vein. 

    I was determined to get a good time and kick back for the rest of December, best laid plans and all that only for the damn snow to come along and spoil it ! 

    If I have a critism I thought the organisers could have waited until saturday to make a decision then I was still left wondering whether this was going to be re-scheduled in the New Year (which I thought was a good idea!) or cancelled altogether (was it just me?) 

    I'm now looking at 2011 Marathons (Liverpool is a bit ambitous for me living the other side of the country!) but at least i've got a head start with my training though hey!

  • Hello everyone

     please see our website www.lutonmarathon.org.uk  for an update.

    Regards

    Elaine

  • I help out at the Luton Marathon. On Saturday morning I ran passed the road where the car overturn two years ago and this was still icy. So I believe delaying making a decision until Saturday morning would have made no difference.

  • I hope the organisers know that the new (albeit provsional) date is infact Remembrance Day. With this in mind would it be a good idea to hold the start shortly after 11am - so runners can if they so wish observe the traditional 2-minute silence?

  • Very good point about Rememberance Sunday.  It has to be an 11:02 start surely?
  • Would certainly bugger up a few PB's if we had to stop for two minutes at 11.  image

    Same weekend as the Slog as well....... completely different type of race and totally different part of the country but still strongly supported by Forum runners.

    The organisers bless their cotton sock are never going to please everyone, lets be honest. What we need now is a sensible well thought out decision as to what they are going to do about next years race. This one is lost and gone, the money has been spent on all the infrastructure that goes with the race and I for one am not expecting or asking for it back. I would imagine they have taken a look at this years race calender and found a Marathon less weekend in the South/South East of England and slotted a potential date in there. It clashes with Rememberance Sunday which rules it out for me but maybe they have not realised this.

    Luton in December was or always used to be traditionally the last marathon of the year, We have had one cancellation due to the weather in 11 years, (last one was the police stopping the running because of the accident remember). I have done the thing in sleet, rain and howling gales without too much moaning but the ice would have made it treacherous (sp) this year.

    Leave it where it traditionally is and put a disclaimer and a bloody big reminder on the entry form that it is a possibiluty it will suffer due to the weather and that people are not likely to get their money back. Entering a December marathon is a risk  we all take.  

  • Hello everyone

     sorry, proposed date is the 20th November, we wangled with a few dates, statement is being changed now.

    Regards

     Elaine

  • I remain surprised that the early decision to cancel remains unexplained and that no offer of a refund was made, despite what entry conditions were in place. I believe a very significant number of runners would have been very happy for the local charity to benefit from retained entry fees but an offer would have been nice.

    I won't be back next year.
  • So now the 20th November - not a good idea, same date as the very popular St Neots half which is not very far away from Luton image
  • And a probable clash with the Cornish.
  • This is all very well but:

    * The Luton Marathon isn't but a lot of events are, or are becoming, very commercial.  The no refunds clause cannot be absolute.  Runners need a bit of protection from organisers who cancel events for no good reason and just keep the money.

    * I maintain there was no good reason to cancel.  The photo posted on the forum which seemed to convince some was in fact taken in a different place on a different day.  For early December it was a great morning.  I'm local and went running anyway.

    * Unfortunately in my case a 50% off next year voucher is no good to me.  I hope the outcome of a hospital visit due in a few weeks will be more positive but I have to be realistic and had planned this year's Luton to be (probably) my last marathon, even if it took me six hours to get round, and a bit of a celebration of many years of enjoying racing and the hundreds of people I've met - including enjoying several Luton Marathons or relay stages (or both some years). 

    But it's good that it looks like the event will continue.  It would be a huge gap if there was no properly organised road marathon in the whole Herts + Beds area.

  • Elaine - I think Nov 20th sounds good. Time to look forward to it and move on from the disappointment.

    Hope to do it on the back of  autumn training and Beachy Head Marathon 3 - 4 weeks earlier.

    Although was gutted by cancellation many thanks for early decision making and planning for 2011.

    Will await the early 50% entry priority with anticipation. image

  • thanks Elaine

    so many negative post here from grumpy complainers, but please keep on keeping on, there are so many more of us who appreciate your work

  • Well done to the organisers for putting up with so much sh1t from so many people. Even though we do put a lot of work in training for such a race, this is nothing in comparison to the work they do. All we do is turn up, start running, stop running and go home. I, like many, was disappointed with the cancellation as this was to be my first marathon (and still probably will be next year). The offer of half price entry and bringing the 2011 race forward is the best outcome as I think the organisers were at risk of alienating a lot of people (including myself) so well done Elaine and team, ignore all the whingers and see you next year

  • Thank you all so much, it means so much to me and the other people involved, we will be back next year, we love this race and want to see it continue, we will post in the new year as to how we will manage the reduuced price entry, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2011!
  • Thanks Elaine.. although many people here aren't feeling 'wonderful' about the mess over the marathon this year.  Let's indeed hope the race next year is 'amazing' ....

     When you consider the reduced price entry can you please also consider what do to with people - like myself  -who can't make November 20th next year because of prior commitments - perhaps we have a no time limit voucher to run the race another year?

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