2020 Race Calendar 📅

Post Reply
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:55 pm

2020 Race Calendar 📅

Post by RunningMatters »

2020 hasn’t had much to write home about in terms of racing dates for the diary. Many events have been cancelled or postponed into next year.

We have seen some events run as virtual races. While this is novel it is unlikely to hold people’s attention or satisfy the need to meet and race people for long.
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:55 pm

September 27th: Comeragh Navigation Challenge

Post by RunningMatters »

From Cormac:
- thinking Sunday 27th September for a Comeragh Nav Training day as I don't want to overlap with MMM which is on next weekend. Teams of two will need to email me if they want to do it as coordinates will be emailed out the evening before. Each team will have 6 hours to locate 10 locations / summits and make it back to Car Park. All teams will need to get the Comeragh Mountains Map from Eastwest mapping. Obviously all teams need to have one person that can map-read and navigate with a compass, and full mountain trekking kit is recommended ( jacket, space blanket, over pants, buff,head torch, whistle, mobile phone in case, food and drinks)
Message below if you are up for it ?
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:55 pm

Re: September 27th: Comeragh Navigation Challenge

Post by RunningMatters »

Unfortunately this event has been postponed until (likely) November as Dublin is in Level 3 and other counties face restrictions.
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:55 pm

Mourne Skyline - cancelled 📅

Post by RunningMatters »

Quite a long and detailed explanation of why the event is being cancelled rather than deferred or postponed. Official notice was posted last night that the event was off and the reasoning was posted out to participants today:




(Thursday 15th October 2020)

We are absolutely gutted to inform you that our Mourne Skyline MTR 2020 has been CANCELLED.

This is due to circumstances beyond our control.

We appreciate that this decision will cause an enormous amount of frustration, but we politely request your patience as we use this statement to provide you with the rationale behind the decision.

Before reading this statement, it is important to note that as a race director, I must abide by Government regulations and consider the associated guidance in relation to COVID-19. I respect that many people have their own views on what the virus is, or is not, but I must work to Government regulations, which take into account specialist medical advice. This is what I would be judged upon should anything happen.

It is also important that you remember we are a not-for-profit event and as such, how we deal with things will naturally differ from a profit making event management company. In addition to this, because other events are still happening despite yesterdays updated regulations, it does not mean that they are right and we are wrong, or vice-versa. Each event will have their own rationale for their decision. We have made the decisions on our race based on the Government regulations and guidance I have mentioned above and with public safety at the heart of everything.

Our race day operations had begun earlier this week and had to be halted late last night, Wednesday 14th October 2020, after it became obvious that the new COVID-19 restrictions announced yesterday, and which come into play on Friday 16th October 2020, would have a major impact on our event.

In terms of the number of participants, which we would have expected to have been 180-200, our understanding (which we had asked for urgent clarification of) is that we could have went ahead with a permit, relevant risk assessments and associated COVID-19 measures in place; this is because our event is an outdoor non-contact outdoor sporting event.

However, the introduction of the ‘no unnecessary travelling’ guidance and ‘closure of hospitality’ restrictions caused a chain of circumstances, which cumulatively had a major impact.

Travelling to a (hobby) outdoor sporting event is not essential or necessary travel and by encouraging participants to do this is in breach of the guidance. This is something we looked at, sought advice / clarity on and considered ourselves and this was further re-enforced by concerns from a large number of athletes who could make it to the event but were anxious about going against this guidance.

In addition to this, the restriction around hospitality has led to some of our race team (and a number of participants) having their hotel / accommodation bookings cancelled. This raises concerns as without a full race team (should any have had to withdraw – through no fault of their own) we cannot deliver our event management plan, which includes dealing with an emergency situation.

Finally, from an organisational / legislative / restrictions perspective. As we dealt with the announcements from the NI Executive meeting, several of our race day permissions were withdrawn as the day progressed; this had a significant impact on our decision.

Now we look at what is right, or wrong, from a moral perspective; things we considered in our decision making process. If we look at what is currently happening in our hospitals and the overall reason for the new restrictions being introduced – alarmingly, yesterday (14/10/2020) there are 13 intensive care beds remaining in Northern Ireland, 13!

Hospital admissions have reached such a critical level that the Nightingale Hospital has re-opened and is being used.

The restrictions have been introduced as an ‘urgent intervention’ to protect our health services and to protect emergency services.

I believe that you would support me in saying that mountain running carries higher risks than other athletic sports and thus, the chances of an incident occurring which leads to a participant being transferred to hospital is very possible – over the years, we have had three persons transferred to hospital from the race and we have had to call out Mourne Mountain Rescue Team on one occasion.

Our event management plan relies on emergency service assistance and that is something I must consider. Is it right that we take emergency services resources away from the current critical situation they are dealing with, to help at an event? Is it right that we potentially (in the worst circumstances) take up one of those remaining ICU beds for an event which did not ‘need’ to happen?

In addition to this – over the years we have made many friends in the Newcastle area, good people who have supported our event in many ways. Some of those, this week, will see their businesses close, the places they work close and they face uncertainties about the future of their work? Despite the consequences of this, they comply with the regulations because they want to do their part in halting the spread of COVID-19 – then we bring 200 people into the town, against the ‘no unnecessary travel’ guidance. This does not sit well with me!

I also must also consider our amazing race team; the people who have made our race! I have no doubt that all of them would have run through a brick wall to help us deliver the event this weekend, even with some experiencing issues with accommodation, if we were in a position to proceed. However, I have a duty of care to them. Our COVID-19 measures would have ensured their safety from the virus, but asking them to travel to and from the event for one or two days (depending on their role), against the ‘no unnecessary travel’ is unfair. The excessive travelling after long days also raises welfare concerns for me.

In closing, these are the reasons behind the Mourne Skyline MTR 2020 being cancelled.

I understand and appreciate that there will be people who agree and disagree with our rationale. However, I would appreciate your understanding in what is an impossible situation – a situation we find ourselves in together, with none of us at fault.

Why was the event planning allowed to continue through the Pandemic? Why did you not cancel?

This is a question I have asked myself as I critically evaluate my own decision making. Looking at it, I honestly believe we did the right thing.

Planning for the event started in October 2019 and entries opened in November 2019, before COVID-19 raised its head. Through March 2020 – June 2020, we discussed the event on an almost daily basis, reviewing things and considering if a partial refund would be the best way to go.

Then as we approached the Summer, there was light at the end of the tunnel, restrictions were lifting, and races were starting again. We were getting LOADS of requests to get places in the race (which unfortunately we couldn’t allow). At that point, we saw our event as a real positive thing, something everyone could aim for later in the year – at that point we committed to delivering the Mourne Skyline MTR in 2020.

A month out from the event (early – mid September 2020) when we made final financial commitments (those that had not already been made), the situation was still particularly good (as good as it can be in a pandemic) in Northern Ireland.

I spoke to several members of another event race team who had pulled off an excellent event with strict COVID-19 measures in place and one of that team referenced our race as another positive which the participants were excited about.

Then earlier this month, just after we closed the transfer window, the Irish Government set new restrictions in the Republic of Ireland. From there, things seemed to escalate in Northern Ireland as well and then just this week, the NI Executive announced the urgent assembly meeting which took place yesterday. Interestingly, I heard Robin Swann (Health Minister for NI) say yesterday that 4 weeks ago cases were approximately 120 a month – now they are 1,200 a day (14/10/2020), which shows how quickly things escalated.

Whilst that meeting was taking place, we had a team on the course marking it – I was packing our hire van with equipment getting ready to leave home for race weekend today, whilst dealing with numerous meetings about the event.

Late last night, we looked at all of the information we had available and made the decision to cancel the race.

How do we move forward from here?

We have answered this question online many times, and albeit unpopular, it is impossible for us to offer a deferral to 2021 or a refund.

Why? As a not-for-profit event and a volunteer team, everything we bring in in terms of entries, go straight into making the event happen. Therefore, there is no margin for us to work with.

In addition to this, due to increased operating costs in the COVID-19 environment (inc PPE costs) and cancelled orders (due to COVID-19), the event has lost money in 2020.

We cancelled the race based on the increased NI Executive COVID-19 regulations three working days before it happened – the 2020 event is paid for; therefore, we have no way of re-imbursing any fees. No event insurance covers the effects of a global pandemic.

So, what are we going to do about it?

We genuinely want to do as much as we can – and this is the reason for offering our #MyMTR2020 virtual event.

In offering our virtual event, we are trying to take away from some of the frustration and anger around the restrictions causing people to miss the event - by offering up a focus, an alternative which allows them to get involved.

I've said it many times, I’m not a fan of virtual events, but what choice do we have? We can complain and blame each other for something that is not any of our fault, or we can try and make Saturday 17th October 2020 a day of mountain running fun, virtually!

In offering the virtual #MyMTR this will allow us to send out some of the items that your entry fee went towards – like your commemorative item, which this year is an exclusive Mourne Skyline MTR ‘buff’ which can be used as a face covering, a custom Mourne Skyline MTR 2020 medal, a some energy products.

In addition to this, if we have a t-shirt in your size, from a previous event, we will send one of these to you as well. Please note that the t-shirts will be distributed on a first come, first served basis (based on when we receive your email with #MyMTR stats).

Please visit the www.mourneskylinemtr.com/mymtr2020 for full details. It is important that you send us all of the information requested, to allow us to produce a ‘virtual finishers list’.

We will help those who need it…

As previously eluded to, we have purchased a substantial amount of PPE to deliver the Mourne Skyline MTR 2020 in a COVID-19 environment. We have no requirement for this and thus, it will be offered to local charitable organisations who can make use of it.

Perishable items, including water, will be offered to Food Banks or similar worthwhile causes.

The 2021 event and the future…

Honestly, after the substantial loses of 2020, we need to look at the viability of the event going forward. This year we have experienced the difficulty and stresses associated with organising a not-for-profit event. For that reason, I do not want to make empty promises – but I will give you several assurances.

On a personal level, I cannot help but feel that we have unfinished business here – we cannot leave things like this.

For that reason, you have my word that we will do everything in our power to make the 2021 event happen. If it does, ALL of you who supported us through this year and have suffered a loss like us, will be given priority entry for 2021. How we would see this working is that the entry system would open for you 48 hours before it goes live to everyone – we would send you the link via email - then you have the option of entering in that time. We will then release any remaining places to the wider running community.

We will put on an event which will make up for what you have had to deal with this year.

If there is anything above this we can do, we will look at it, but again, I do not want to make promises I may not be able to keep.

The end… (of this statement)

In closing, I want to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to every single person who has supported us through what has been an exceptionally stressful and worrying time. I do not want to list individual names as I would forget someone, but you know who you are.

Also, those who have shown support and understanding since last nights announcement, you have no idea how much that meant. I thank you for this!

Our race team – I have no words, really – to know that we have you behind us every step of the way means everything, absolutely everything. Thank you!

If I can ask one final thing of everyone, if I haven’t asked enough of you, please have a go at the #MyMTR Challenge and make Saturday 17th October 2020 a positive day!

Yours sincerely and with the kindest regards,

Ryan Maxwell

Mourne Skyline MTR – Race Director

Further contact: If you have any questions or queries around this statement or the event, please make contact with us via mourneskylinemtr@gmail.com
Post Reply