Luton Marathon



  • Very poor decision making by the organisers of this race. We could all see the forecast for Saturday and Sunday and after making a good call to inspect the course on Saturday for some reason without thinking about their customers they got scared.

    As race director for 2 races a year I appreciate the stress in organising an event, but having paid my money I would expect the organisers to make every effort to run the race. They do not appear to have done this.

    As a repeat customer in the past I will not be entering their race again.

    I am expecting a partial refund of my entry fee less any costs they had incurred before they cancelled. 

  • ....definately must be a tough decision, but probably the correct one at the time of the decision....probably will damage the event for the future as people will have second thoughts about enterin, but hope this, and the backlash, does not put the organisers off....i couldnt comprehend the time and effort that goes into such events that these people do - for the 'love of the game'....

  • Supershins,

    Everyone appreciates the efforts of all volunteers. If it was a 10k or 5k no one would be bothered, there are plenty more races in the calendar.

    Perhaps it would make it easier for us if you could describe why you cancelled it yesterday given the forecasted weather? The website hasn't given any detailed information.

    Also seeing conditions this morning, why not reverse the decision ? A significant majority could still have made it.

    Two years ago it was cancelled because you had to be a 4:30 marathoner (80% of people based on previous years) for it complete before it got dark. This year it seems it was cancelled for those travelling a long distance. You could argue that its all or nothing, but I would say let some do it..
  • Supershins! 

    All your efforts and those of others are to be supported and praised. I for one will be desperate to enter again and please don't be put off, Luton is a much loved and respected marathon on the calendar.

    Of course a lot of us were prepared for a big race that took much preparation on your part and those of entrants. It is only human nature to be frustrated.

    It was a tough call for you and the runners!  I think the only bit of hindsight would be to wait until the Saturday pm as you originally planned, if conditions are dodgy again. People who travel very long distances and book hotels take their own risks when they choose to enter a race.

    Whatever happens we will nearly all want to run this one again!   

  • hey Supershins

    i am sure most of the negative stuff on here is cathartic and on reflection people will accept the decision was made in everyone's best interests. as you know, runners are generally a responsible lot and strong enough to cope with all sorts of challenges, including this one

    the efforts of you and all the other volunteers are strongly appreciated and i feel for your disappointment at the time and energy spent. take some consolation from the fact that having the Luton on the calendar keeps many of us going as the nights draw in

    i really hope you keep the plan in place for 2011. a december marathon is not without these risks, but please dont be discouraged.

    see you next year
  • Sh*t happens. If you enter a marathon in December you accept the risk of bad weather possibly cancelling the race. That's winter for you. The organisers are doing their best and snow can be incredibly localised - not much here but just three miles away it's like Narnia, so you just never know. Thanks to the organisers for willing to do a thankless task.
  • Supershins - I was one of the folks entered for tomorrow's marathon - I completely respect your decision to cancel the event. Only yesterday I was stranded in Dublin awaiting return flights to UK after 3 days delays - It was a pain, but I now realise that the weather can change quickly and dramatically - you and your organising committe must have made a a judgement call based on the forecast at the time and with the intention to avoid travel distress or late cancellations... fair play to you for taking a brave decision with the full realisation that outdoor sporting events require careful forward planning and need to take into accout the vagiaries of the weather. Folks, lets all respect this tough decision and applaud the effort made by the organisers for a truly difficult call, made after much deliberation.

    Supershines - Please accept our thanks for organising the event - we appreciate your efforts, and truly hope you will be able to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to host a truly magnificent Luton Marathon 2011... bring it on !! Please!!

  • JugglingJunky wrote (see)
    .... I think anyone is only too aware of the risks of adverse weather when signing up for a marathon in December but has accepted them when handing over the money - this also includes the risk of unwanted hotel and travel bookings should the race not go ahead.
    With this in mind, there needs to be a very good reason to cancel such an event due to possible adverse conditions and in my opinion the assessment of the race conditions should have been made at the latest possible stage to give everyone the best chance of running. Very frustrating

    Absolutely agree with that Junky & what cougie said.

    On the upside i guess it means i'm Herts County Marathon Champion for another year!? image

     Merry Xmas & Maybe see ya next year

  • billo, your are an arse.

  • Supershines, there are huge numbers of people who put in effort all over the country to make races work. They know who they are and the people who appreciate them, respect them full stop. There are people who moan about anything. You would not have cancelled it without taking into account all that has happended in the last few days country wide.
    Ignore morons. The last thing I want is for a club to lose money on a race, as I know we dont do it for profit. Far as I'm concerned, you can keep the entry fee to cover the cost and give the rest to the pasque charity.
    I hate moaners with a vengence. Idiots like the last one are not worth the effort to argue with. Long live the luton marathon!!!!!
  • Yes sh*t does happen and the organisers had to make a decision but people are perfectly entitled to have a moan and get things off their chest. Many of us will have trained for this for months and invested significant time/effort in the prep so having a moan is needed to let off some steam.

    People have every right to have a rant it if makes them feel better and i'm sure the race organisers have a thick enough skin to take it on the chin. Unfortunately we can't all be as saintly as you Taff Boy, i won't have the chance to run a marathon until autumn 2011 now and can't really afford to chuck £23 down the drain!

  • tom20, and everyone else. love running. I love marathons. I love anyone who has the nerve to lace up a pair of shoes to get out the front door, to run a mile. Or two. Or three or more. I will argue to the day I die, how much pleasure running has given me. I stand up and argue for any runner, And the team behind them.
    What I cant stand, is people who just moan.
    None of us really wanted the race not to start. Who trains for any long distance event without long term planning?
    So, I stand full square behind the team who organised this event. Thank you thank you thank you. Its a crying shame to those who trained for their first ever marathon, and they are the peeps I really feel sorry for.
  • Yep, its a thankless task Supershins. I was entered in the relay so disappointed its off.

    Did think it was a tad hasty to call it off that early - that was the general consensus today at the Chiltern League cross country..BUT had it gone sub zero again overnight it was bound to be icy.

    Hey ho - fingers crossed the Bedford half survives next weekend!!

  • On the Friday after it was called off I replied to the email thanking them for letting me know and my understanding of the decision, both for runners, organisers, marshalls and spectators.

    However, on reflection, I too am a little bit annoyed that the initial statement was for a Saturday inspection, but this changed to a decision 24 hours earlier. Now given the conditions on Friday morning you would have always called it off...if those conditions remained for the next 48 hours...but they didn't. 24 hours later, at the time of the original planned inspection, the conditions around the country for travelling improved, and although I cannot comment on the course conditions I expect they were much better then, and they are even better now. (EDIT: Just looked on the BBC weather site - Luton looked to have stayed around freezing overnight, but some fog patches, although in my opinion this is weather you could expect this time of year anyway, and if there was a good thaw yesterday a zero degree night wouldn't have been too bad).

    Please don't think this is a criticism of anyone organising the event, more a criticism of the process they have had to follow. I wonder if the decision wasn't entirely theirs, and maybe the council / police etc may have had a say? Speculation on my part, but I'd expect them to be part of any safety consultation.

    On the subject of personal sacrifice by the organisers, again I totally understand that - having worked on a voluntary basis for a sporting organisation in the past I'm only too aware of how much time can be taken up just because you love and enjoy what you do. However, we runners too have also made sacrifices, both in time and money (I had a non-refundable hotel room booked in Luton, so I'm £44 down), and we were hoping that teh event would be given every chance to be run. In hindsight maybe leaving it until the original time of Saturday would have meant a different decision.

    But hindsight is something none of us have, so we have to accept the decision and get on with our running - as many have said a tough decision to make, and maybe one that had to be made at the time, but the real question many are asking is why that time?

    Again, thank you for doing your best to organise the race, and the effort it has took.

  • Taff Boy,

     Grow Up. There is no place on this thread for such childish posts.

  • I've been looking forward to this race for a few months.  I've had my best ever training coming into this week and was aiming along with a couple of friends to get London GFA times at Luton.  I'm not a seasoned marathoner (done three previously - one standalone and two in Ironman races) and was really looking forward to getting a PB under my belt.

    When the snow came down (I live in west London) on Wednesday night and looking at the ice rink we have for local roads/pavements I started to doubt very much that the race would take place.

    Although the forecast looked like it was going to warm up on Saturday I doubted very much that it would warm up enough to thaw the ice.  I slowly resigned myself to the fact that the organisers were bound to cancel - and make the right decision at that.

    So, Friday morning and decision made.  I said to myself 'good call' - it must be awful to make a decision like that but safety has to come first - even if we've all signed disclaimer stuff on our entry forms.  By the time the announcement was made mentally I was no longer ready to race on Sunday.

    Saturday morning came - our street was like an ice rink and I headed off to Bushy parkrun.  The place was the icyest and most dangerous I've ever seen it.  We had 330+ people who pretty much had to run on the grass beside the main path because it was so slippery.  Looking at this and thinking that if the conditions in Luton were 10% of what they were in Bushy Park then the cancellation was by far the right decision.

    Tough call but well done for making it.  I support the decision that was made, even though it messes up my marathon race plans for many months to come.  I don't hold any blame on the organisers.  As for whether I'd enter it next yet - quite possibly - the training for it has done wonders for my run fitness and has now set me up nicely for 2011 - without having to endure the pain of walking down stairs on Monday morning!

  • Billo, I'm sorry. Bit of a heated post. I really don't like people who moan but I accept everyone has the right to make a point. Please accept this apology.
  • Thank you, all of you.

     Yes, you have got every right to be upset, and disappointed, and angry. And you need to let that out. I'm definitely not asking anyone not to voice their criticisms, but the Luton Marathon is a personal project, and it is very difficult indeed to be objective.

    I wish the race could have taken place. I wish I was now sat in a rented Transit driving up and down the A6 and worrying if the plastic cups are going to run out. I would welcome all of that stress and work right now.

    We had to balance up the requirements of everyone who had entered, and when we made our call we were as sure as we could be that we wouldn't be able to put on a safe event. My own fear isn't getting sued, it's being responsible for an injury (or worse) to a fellow runner. Cancelling it when we did let us - and actually it was Elaine who took it all on - to try to contact everyone who had entered. 800 marathon runners and 140-ish relay teams, all who needed to be told, hopefully received an e-mail or a phone call. We had to weigh up what was best for everyone, and whilst that means some people will be more unhappy than others, I stand by our decision.

    Stephen, you're obviously also local, and I totally understand your calls for us to put the event back on. But I can only reiterate that when the decision was made, we were convinced that the race wasn't going to be possible, and  Saturday afternoon would not have given us the time to do everything that is needed to put the race on.

    Right now, everything is still pretty raw, and I for one am very upset. But I am really grateful to everyone who has sent messages of support, and who has backed us up here.

    Please keep an eye on the website, as we will be considering where we go from here over the next few days, and we will keep you posted.

  • Really feel for you Supershins, and for all the disappointed runners who'd trained so hard.

    Hindsight is always 20:20, and as organisers you took the best decision you could at the time, with the best of intentions.

  • Yes, thank you Supershins and all your team for having the guts to organise the race and make all those difficult decisions.  Running in a marathon is nothing by comparison to your efforts; all we have to do is get up, turn up and keep running forwards, which is really a no-brainer compared to the effort of organising the race.  The entry fee is nothing compared to the price of a pair of running shoes.  I doubt there will be few, if any, brave enough to stage a rival event.  We all know you wanted the event to succeed.  Let's hope we have more luck in 2011.
  • Thanks Supershins,

    Answers and your efforts organising are much appreciated.

    Would be great if it could be rescheduled, but I understand thats unlikely..

  • Just a note to say that I too appreciate the reasons for cancelling. Thanks for posting Supershins and thanks to you and everyone else for your efforts.
  • Thanks Supershins - I understand and as we would have had hefty travel and accom costs (were we still running) then agree with the Sat decision.

    I had already cancelled due to Mrs W injury - looking on the bright side perhaps if it is re-scheduled or entries deferred we may get chance to run yet !

    I also understand those people upset at missing a hard trained for run.

    Hey ho - life goes on and we are very lucky to be able to run.

    On a different topic - Wednesday morning I decided a foot of snow was too much for the car and ran the 9 miles to work, it took a little longer than normal.  I figured it was hard work but I could get the train back - unfortunately I only managed 3 miles on the train coming home due to cancellations and also needed a detour to buy 6 pints of milk which was quite heavy to carry for the last 3 miles.  Still it was a great challenge and the mile or so along the canal in glistening white was probably some of the most beautiful running I have ever done.  If I had still planned on running Sunday there was no way I would have done such a hard slog !

    Take pleasure where you find it image

  • I must say I am disappointed at not being able to run the Luton Marathon this year. For our club it is one of the highlights of the season and last year was one of the highlights of my whole year (I can still hear the club chearing as I ran throught transition!)
    But I must also thank the organisers for giving me an event to work towards and to push myself back to fitness after a car crash earlier this year. It has not been an easy 2010, but with the training I have dragged myself back to fitness and without it I would be in a much darker place.
    I have always said that the achievement is not running a marathon, it is the sweat and tears that go into the training and the event is purely a celebration of the determination that brings you to the start line.
    My celebration has been a day spent with my bf ('Alex!') and it was much appreciated! I hope everyone else has been able to celebrate the months of hard work.
    I very much look forward to next year.
  • Thanks Supershins. Damn shame, tough call, but the right one. Well done.

    I look forward to Luton 2011 and hope you apply the same criteria to whether or not the race can take place in the event of any adverse conditions, be it weather, traffic accidents or acts of God!! image

  • For a few of the people that were wondering about refunds, just thought I'd point out number 5 on the declaration you signed upon entering, didn't anyone ever tell you not to sign something unless you've read it first!

    (5) I understand that if I am unable to run or if the event is cancelled then no money will be refunded.

  • I was dissapointed that this didnt go ahead, I have run 3 of the last 4 (did Hastings the year it was cancelled by a stroke of luck).

    But, I can see why it was. A few months ago I was due to run a very small marathon organised by a friend. It was called off the night before due to unforseen circustances. I was very dissapointed and had already bought train tickets which of course are non refundable.

    So what I did, was go out the following day, and run 26.2 miles round the streets where I live. I did loops so my porch could be my drinks station. There was no medal, t shirt or goody bag. But I had run a marathon and had plenty of time to think about why I am so glad people choose to give up their time to put them on image

  • The Luton marathon organisers may choose to stick to the terms of the entry or they may choose to make a gesture to their customers who may feel a bit let down.

    My own suggestion would be to issue a money off voucher for next year's race. A year is a long time and circumstances change, so in practice this will not cost them a great deal.

    Taff boy,
    Apology accepted.

  • We all know it was right to cancel.Take a look at our web site main page that was a training session at 8.30am Saturday morning at Luton.I took the photo all the people in the photo had entered the marathon.
  • I went down to Luton for the weekend anyway as I had train tickets and I have friend there and went out for a run on Sunday, only about 6 miles but didn't see any snow at all Dave but if that photo was taken anywhere on the route then I feel much better.

    I agree with the comment above, appreciate we all signed up to a 'no refund clause' but a roll over till next year place would be appreciated, I don't claim to know anything about the costs of putting on a marathon though so am not sure if this is possible or to what extent all of the funds will be been spent regardless of it going ahead or not.

    Anyway - onwards and upwards. Liverbirds on NYE it looks like it will be for me!

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