Tuesday, 11 December 2012
We at Edinburgh have had the very good fortune to only have had the need to postpone events four times in just over three years. Three times for bad weather and once for some caravan gig that pitched up at the far end of the course leaving the regular route too restricted to safely run through.
However, most UK events have a frequent visitor that plays havoc with our courses. Sometimes it starts a few days before and sometimes only a number of hours before but on every occasion it leaves RD’s with logistical nightmares and some tough decisions. I have witnessed the damage having been done, seriously done, and only by the grace of the good Lord himself has it been turned around with only an hour or so before the gun. I’ve also known our course to have been devastated for many days and Friday comes along and good order is restored. Other times it’s just a hopeless case and the towel is chucked well and truly in.
It’s the unpredictability of our visitor, and he’s a sole male visitor apparently and spawned by the mightiest matriach you'll ever meet, that makes creates the nightmare and when he’s in town, any town, everyone gets to know about it. From the minute you poke your toe from under the duvet you’ll know. From that first peek through tight drawn curtains you’ll know. Worse still, when you step out from the warmth of your cave and tippy toe to your car you’ll definitely know and that, my parkchums, is when you ask yourself ‘should I stay or should I go?’
You go! What? Of course you go but in the back of your mind you’re hopeful that your RD isn’t being faced with the same sight that had just befallen you else it could be game over before it’s even begun. And that’s when you’ll wish you had stayed in bed. Local authorities often recognise their home events and occasionally they may offer support to rid the area of the problem and all is well but there are some courses, particularly the multi terrain fellows, where the damage caused is so severe that it cannot be feasibly resolved.
So who are this parent and son combo? She’s Mother Nature and he’s Jack Frost and both are the scourge of every parkrun. She’s one massive mamma who, although slightly predictable, cannot be controlled and he’s her chilly chum who brings his Jackstravaganza, a Jackattack even a Jacktacular Jackfest of Frost.
Course inspection completed but the Jackfather still hangs around. Maybe patchy, maybe all over, maybe black, maybe white but it’s a goer. The troops are in place and the flag is up but how confident are you in doing battle with Jackmaster Frost and the Ice Queen? Well, it’s like this, only you will know. If you don’t fancy it then don’t do it. If it’s a risk too much then withdraw your labour and run another day as let’s face it, there’s not an RD in the country that will risk the health and safety of their parkmates. Ultimately the decision is yours to take and anyway, you only ever participate at your own risk. And hey, there’s always next week.