Run to the Beat organisers sorry after course cock-up

Woolwich Barracks photo from Terri Willis

If they’d listened to local people, who’ve consistently said that Run to the Beat’s circular course is a bad idea, then perhaps they wouldn’t be apologising.

But the controversial half-marathon’s organisers have been left red-faced this evening after runners found themselves stuck at bottlenecks on the 13.1-mile route, caused by their insistence on holding running a circular route through Greenwich, Blackheath, Charlton and Woolwich.

Runners used Twitter to complain about a hold-up at Woolwich Barracks, where the course wasn’t wide enough for runners to get through, and also showed them stuck at gates in Greenwich Park.

The delays meant many runners were either delayed, missing out on their target times, or were sent on a short cut, leaving them fearing their times were invalid.

Organisers have apologised, promising “a detailed review”.

One runner, Gavin, described his experience on his blog:

At mile 4, however, the part of the route which goes in and out of the Woolwich Barracks there was a bottleneck of about 10 minutes. This is because unlike previous years when you had the runners all running through the courtyard, you decided to have 20,000 runners run in AND OUT of a gate which was no bigger than 8 foot wide.

Mile 4 for me, and for many is ‘The Wall’, the part of run where you are struggling, but you power through. So having to stop immediately and stand still for 10 minutes often causes cramps. It can be avoided by continuing to move, however there was very limited space due to the sheer volume of runners. Many people climbed over the barriers and ran down the road, I refrained from doing this for fear of missing a ‘chip timer’ mat, which I figured would be in the courtyard. It wasn’t. By the time I got back to the gate to exit the courtyard, the marshals had in fact stopped runners entering and sending them straight down the road. At this point, the 2h30m marker was well in front of me.

Other complaints included the runners being given coconut water instead of sports drinks – the race was sponsored by a brand of coconut water – while there were grumbles about the last mile being uphill through Greenwich Park, particularly unhelpful for participants in wheelchairs (“It was so steep that their front wheels kept popping up,” one observer said).

As for locals, one Greenwich Millennium Village resident complained to this blog about organisers setting up portable buildings outside her home at 4.45am, while Peninsula ward councillor Mary Mills said the number of complaints she’d received was up this year. “I’ve had more complaints this year, and nastier ones,” she tweeted.

On the plus side, roads did seem to reopen earlier than planned, although it took a while for bus services to return to their normal routes.

A little sample of tweets:

https://twitter.com/Robster231/status/376683570859081730

https://twitter.com/Mog_king0/statuses/376707811377709056

The route was confirmed at fairly short notice this year, after an earlier version saw it cut off Sunday footballers in Charlton’s parks. But despite assurances from Greenwich Council cabinet member Maureen O’Mara, and claims made by the council to the Department of Transport, there has been no meaningful consultation with local residents.

Despite objections, organiser IMG still plans to return next year, doubling its contribution to Greenwich Council from £10,000 this year to £20,000.

I also understand Greenwich Council gets some more money out of the race thanks to an agreement to advertise race arrangements in its weekly newspaper, Greenwich Time – denying other newspapers revenue from those ads.

While many residents have lost patience with Run to the Beat years ago and would rather it went away, others do enjoy it – and it enjoyed ideal weather this morning. Perhaps now organisers and Greenwich Council will start to listen. IMG needs to make a meaningful donation to the community – perhaps by sponsoring a facility such as Maryon Wilson animal park – instead of the cash disappearing into the council’s coffers.

And it needs to create a route that’d be a proper Greenwich borough half-marathon – perhaps from Eltham to Greenwich – ending the charade of the circular route which causes grief to runners and locals alike.

Will any of this happen? I wouldn’t hold your breath…

If you’re a local with issues surrounding today’s race, let your local councillor know – and it’s also worth copying in Greenwich Council chief executive Mary Ney on the email (firstname.surname@royalgreenwich.gov.uk).

84 comments

  1. Steve

    Of course, the organisers won’t want to have a point-to-point course because it means the extra expense of two sets of infrastructure (start & finish) and baggage buses. Much better to let the residents put up with the inconvenience. In a way (as a non-participating resident) I’m glad that the runners are complaining this year (although sorry for the individuals concerned) as it will reduce an element of goodwill from them that the organisers have enjoyed in recent years.

  2. BobbyT

    Darryl, we all know you’ve got it in for this race. As a participant let me defend it again. The atmosphere was great, the Greenwich Park setting was great – that’s the whole point of a circular route so that you have a festival setting at the start and finish. Did you take a wander along to see how buzzing the park was? There was even a free Jessie J concert! (For those that like that kind of thing.) But yes, the organisers have cocked-up with the route. I didn’t see any bottlenecks (I was reasonably near the front I guess) but the hill at the end was a killer. That has to be sorted next year. I do wonder if the problems at the Barracks were because there was a lot of work going on in the parade ground. In previous years, the runners have gone in one gate and out the other – that looked impossible this year. But that aside, tens of thousands of people came and enjoyed what our borough has to offer. It’s a shame those constantly whinging about this run couldn’t do the same for one morning. Or even get on some running shoes. IF they sort that hill next year of course…

  3. BobbyT

    Darryl, don’t misrepresent what I was saying. As a fellow journo I have huge respect for you and this blog(your holding the council to account is exemplary) but when it comes to Run to the Beat you’re like something off of Fox News. I suggest blog readers try searching on twitter for the #rttb hashtag themselves and see how totally misrepresentative your small sample is. Talk about biased…

  4. Darryl

    Well, please don’t misrepresent what I’m saying, then – the post is about poor organisation, and makes a suggestion of how to fix it. I’d say for every seven happy tweets, there’s a pissed off tweet, and it has prompted an apology from organisers. And there are some very pissed off people there.

    And the problems with Run to the Beat are, in the main, caused by the problems we have with the council – an inability to listen to a community which has pointed out these issues with the course for years. The two issues are interlinked, and it’d be foolish to ignore what appears to be a significant number of people who ran the course and are very unhappy with what happened.

  5. Hannah

    The course was the main thing but there’s others things I found badly organised…getting bags back, cups of water for such a busy course (we’ve paid £50, at least get bottles of water which are quick to distribute and I would also then not have to stop at every water station just to get enough liquid) and expecting runners to bend down to untie shoelaces to get chips off….even my local 10k provides ties and people to cut the chips off your shoe at the end! The only good bit was the number of toilets. It’s totally put me off buying Nike stuff ever again.

  6. Sally Stevens

    I am very much decided on this one… Completely see it from both sides but I do enjoy supporting events such as these as we should feel proud that our borough and wards are respected and adored enough to be used.

    I live on Blackheath Standard and its always such a lovely atmosphere during such events, be it RTTB or TLM… I was very surprised that organisers feel to just clip the Standard though and where was this so called music??? The runners just looked bored?? It would have been a perfect mile point as the old mile point used to be just after the bridge on Charlton road but even that was a little dull due to no supporters being there… At least on the standard, there were plenty of families with the children of our sports future…Inspire them!

    The roads seem to be very well organised this year apart from the van with the signs could have been driving a little slower considering there were a lot of children dotted around and maybe both hands on the wheel or at least one and not constraint more on his phone call whilst hurtling past the standard pub!

    If its going to be going ahead next year then lets welcome a more fine tuned event!!!

  7. Sally Stevens

    Ps… Sorry about the typos…. It’s late! Also, the Park was buzzing! We went there to wastch and support the finish, makes perfect sense to start and finish there although, that hill must have been a rotter!!!!

  8. Paul

    I was watching RTTB today supporting my wife who was running her first half marathon. She ran and finished in a good time and was completely buzzing, being able to run a big event literally around where she lived and have her kids (and me) and friends cheer her on was brilliant. I ran it myself a few years back and I think having a smaller event than TLM that local people have a better chance of getting involved in is a brilliant thing.

    That said, the organisation both when I ran in RTTB’s first year and then again today is/was shocking. The bottleneck at Mile 4 is unforgivable, there is no way the organisers didn’t know that was going to be a problem, they just decided they would get away with it on the day.

    When I ran it the first year the music felt like a gimmick. Nothing has changed, it still is. I can only assume that the few quid they spend on the music is less then it would cost to rebrand the event from Run to the Beat.

    Clearly a half marathon in and around Greenwich is popular, IMG aren’t staging this event for the LOLZ. How about the powers that be at the council stop being in thrall to supposed ‘experts’ in these events – and IMG clearly are not – and instead see if someone else, or even the council themselves, can stage a half marathon for the people by the people. And give the proceeds to a worthy cause *cough* deer park *cough*.

  9. Kaja

    The good things from #RTTB: great warm up on stage, the T shirts looked great, perfect running weather, amazing supporters, coconut water and fab atmosphere. The not so good: no mile markers, the massive bottleneck at mile 4 and all those annoying loops. Even some one new to running could have told them this!

  10. Clare

    Spot on Paul. It’s perfectly possible to have run in the race and enjoyed it but recognise its failings at the same time (incidentally a friend of mine ran it this year and said much the same, she was buzzing from having completed it but thought the course was crap (that hill in the final mile for goodness sake) and the organisation particularly around water and bottlenecks was hopeless. I want to do a half marathon and this one would clearly be a good choice given how local it is, but the organisational failings and disregard for locals put me off. We shall see what happens next year…

  11. nick

    Come on guys, be fair. I ran this on Sunday and thought it was a great day out. You can’t complain about a hill in the last mile! That is part of the track & part of the fun / experience! I read some people were upset about not getting water bottles & only been given cups of water, but this is often the case at major city marathons (Boston & NY full marathon for example). As for the cost, again, £50 isn’t the end of the world compared with some of the full city marathons & one gets a concert in the park as well post the race thrown in. Sure, the music could have been louder, better spread across the track etc. but it is what it is. I queued for < 5minutes for the toilet (very clean) versus 30 minutes for a toilet at the Boston marathon & then the bag drop was all of what, less than 5 minutes? Just seems people want something for nothing often. The events cost money to put on, but are great fun. One could always just go to Richmond Park and knock out two laps for a half marathon over fantastic scenery if they wanted a cheaper option. Others have complained that the official timing was different to their own personal device. No question this can be infuriating but for what it is worth my garmin was spot on at the 6 mile mark and at the end was 13.12 versus the official 13.1. In all I was very happy with the organization and would love to run it again

  12. Neil Clasper

    I’m ambivalent about RTTB overall, but £10k really doesn’t seem like much money for an event of this size. It’d be interesting to know what expenses the council incurs on top of this as a result of the event, and how the local businesses do compared to a normal sunday.

  13. Chris

    There were a lot of aspects demonstrating the poor organization of RTTB this year, but the most worrying was the apparent lack of emergency exit routes from the main festival site: I saw one runner being moved out of the area for further medical treatment on a small transport vehicle. The exit path taken by the first aiders was against the stream of runners who were packed into the post-finish bottle neck. In medical emergencies speed is of the essence. Not having set up proper emergency access is irresponsible.

  14. Simon

    I ran the race yesterday and it was just a series of problems starting with a delayed start, then the farce at the artillery barracks, congestion again in woolwich and the decision to run along the narrow thames pathway before ending with the hill. I was on for a good time but that all vanished at the barracks so you knew that two thirds of the race were spoilt. I can’t disagree that there was a good atmosphere and many enjoyed it but I suspect a lot of those got through the barracks before the black and navy groups arrived and it became a serious bottleneck.
    I would run it again but that is safe in the knowledge that it is unlikely to be the same course and it cannot be as bad as this year.

  15. Gerlad

    It’s cheek that Bobby T jumps to the conclusion that those who don’t like the event are lazy, uncharitable old b****** who have never given running a try. In my army days I did more than my fair share and what this Geriatric Lad don’t like is a badly organised run that rips off the runners and hacks off the locals. Put in a decent course that starts and finishes in different places and you’d see a difference in attitude and if some proper money was put back into the area that would help.

  16. Maggy May

    I took the cowards route and took my holiday to avoid this annual fiasco. Looking at the comments no one is happy, not the runners, not the people. The needs of one group cuts right across the needs of the other.IMG gets a lot of money and wants to make a pile out of this so doesn’t want the expense of a linear route. Round and round in circles suits it fine.The only way to make both sides happy is for IMG to accept smaller profits and put in the logistics to give a good course without putting the locals in quad for the day.

  17. Bob

    Every year this event is a massive inconvenience and every year I give it the benefit of the doubt and believe that it will improve. But it doesn’t and it won’t. It’s not a charity affair like the London Marathon; it’s a money making venture which contributes zero to the local community. Trapped in my house from the early hours until late afternoon is wholly unacceptable and I have lost all patience. It’s enough. They can do one!

  18. Sally Stevens

    I’m afraid that’s not strictly true.. A good percentage do in fact run this half marathon in aid of good causes.

    Come on… Why must we be full of moaners and groaners… Look at places like Hampstead and other common areas that welcome these kind of events. We should be putting this area on the map a little more!

    Think I’m going to set up a friends of Greenwich Society rather than enemies of! Baaaa humbug you miserable lot! I witnessed a lady moaning that she couldn’t cross the road to get to church and ranted about how ugly all the runners looked in their uniform… I did have to laugh at the policeman’s response… “That’s not very Christian of you Madam, but would you like me to escort you across?”.

  19. Harvey

    The point is Sally that you have a choice to go out and join in or not as you want. Anyone trapped indoors in the nearby houses (no buses, no cars and no bikes allowed) listening to music you don’t like isn’t great. Think being forced to Run to the Opera yourself and you’ll get my drift.

  20. Paul

    I’d like it a lot better without the annoying music everywhere, especially in the Park where it is intrusive, but then it’d just be “Run” without the Beat I suppose. Round here we have to tolerate a lot of events, so I think it’s unfair when people have legitimate grievances and they are criticised for that by some who’ve chosen to take part and may not even be from the areas affected. I think the organisers and those who say people are just moaning need to think why no one complains about the London Marathon (which I support for many reasons) despite it being a massive event.

    There was a busy run in the Park in the summer without the music and you hardly knew it was going on until you got to the route itself – the runners looked just fine without the noise, and everyone else was able to enjoy a peaceful Park too. I agree about the “being forced to run to opera” comment above!

  21. Steve

    Sally – Do you really think that, if there were a Hampstead “Run To The Beat” which enclosed all of Hampstead and Highgate, the residents there would welcome it with open arms? There is no such race that affects them and I very much doubt that their reaction would be different to ours if there were.

  22. Paul

    I agree that the route should have been better. I wasn’t trapped at the barracks, but hopefully they’ll sort that out for next year. Overall though I must say the event was great. The buzz in the park, which anyone could have gone to, was amazing. Jessie J isnt everyone’s cup of tea but she is a big star at the moment. How often do you get to see a chart topper performing for free.
    It’s great to have an event where you can attend that is walkable to.
    I have tried every year to get in the London Marathon and never can, whereas with rttb i can.
    My neighbours were out along the route a gave a big cheer as i went past.
    Maybe rttb should do more to engage with the local community, like donate to a local charity or something like that, but i do enjoy the day and hope it comes back.

  23. Sally Stevens

    Two and a half hours and most of the roads were back open,It’s one day out of 365… I would hardly call it being penned in! Last year I was due to go out at 10:30 am by bus… The stewards let me cross the road over the course where I was able to catch a diverted bus… No problem. I think that there are definitely things worthy of moaning about and everyone has their own opinions. Seems to be a small minority that has issues with it though. I and most of my neighbours who live in the ‘Penned in’ area see little concern. I do respect your views though and the baa humbug comment was clearly in jest! Life would be pretty boring if we all agreed on everything wouldn’t it?

  24. Andrew Gambier

    Darryl

    Don’t you think your highly negative campaign might have had something to do with the poor course design? I agree that it was inevitable that there would be problems with the bottlenecks, but this reflected the organisers’ attempts to reduce road closures.

    Yes, they really should have involved local runners, who would have pointed this out to them much earlier. I hope they’ll start talking to local running clubs/volunteers straight away to produce a much better course next year.

  25. Steve

    Yeah, but it’s not one day out of 365. It’s the second day (the first being the London Marathon – a much more worthwhile and impeccably organised race).

  26. Bob

    Yeah, and it’s not two and a half hours. I went to take a bus at 2pm – when it was advertised to be back to normal. Not a chance, I had to return home. So, from ~6am to ~4pm, we’re actually talking 10 hours!

    By the time I could have taken a bus, it was too late to go to the supermarket for my weekly food shop – I was forced to eat out last night. And so on, domino effect… my day and my organisational planning for the coming working week was subsequently destroyed.

    Not everyone has the freedom to lark around doing as they please on a Sunday. Busy lives, busy schedules.

    That’s just skimming the surface. But I don’t see why I should have to explain this event’s massive inconvenience in any more detail. Suffice to say, there was more. It was and it always has been a massive cock-up and I’ve run out of patience. It provides nothing to the local community and makes a lot of money for a corporate entity that I (and you) care nothing for.

    Actually, being a corporate money making venture, we residents should probably be compensated. Although clearly not you, Sally – as it fits into your world very nicely thank you very much.

  27. Sally Stevens

    Sorry, I didn’t think anyone was complaining about the London Marathon??? Hence one day out of 365?! Also that is not a circular route.

  28. Bob

    You’re havering woman, nobody is complaining about the London Marathon. It’s a fine event, well organized and with minimal inconvenience.

  29. GORN

    Their information about road closures was wrong as well. Spite their assurances that Stratheden Road would be open all day from the Royal Standard to the A2, when I set off to pick up my mother to take her to the hospital at 10, Stratheden Road was closed by St John’s Park.
    I was also a bit pissed off to find that they occupied the Park on Saturday as well as Sunday.

  30. CMM

    At least the transport was better for supporters this year. 2 years ago I missed my boyfriend cross the line at his first half marathon because I got stuck in Greenwich with a lack of trains. He had to wait for 20 mins after finishing for me to get back to the O2.This year, thanks also to the revised timetable, I was able to take a photo at the start, in Charlton and the end of the race – all with plenty of time to spare. So in that sense the start and end point is good so you know your supporters can be there and also see you during the race. However, I was out of breath just walking up the hill, so really felt for all the runners having to get up it after 12 miles. Well done to everyone who made it!

  31. David Gardner

    I live on the course and am a regular runner so great to watch everyone passing through Charlton and nice to have quiet roads free of traffic. Music on Charlton not too loud, but two things struck me – firstly the large numbers of local people trying to use the non-existent buses or drive out to be turned back given the paltry information to residents and, secondly, how few charity runners there were – at best 5% while organisers (US secretive company IMG) claim it was a charity event.

    And despite all the promises as Charlton Society Chair was not consulted at all and as a resident on the route no leaflet at all through my door. Buses didn’t start again for hours.

    Next year, let’s have the run along the Thames Path or a Great Park run through all our wonderful parks up to and round Oxleas minimising disruption to buses. Let’s also lay down a challenge for open book accounting and all profits to be donated to charity.

  32. Clare

    Let’s have the run on the Thames Path? I’m not sure on what planet that would be considered a good idea. I cycled it last night and a good section of it is single file – no way you could get that many runners through.

  33. David Gardner

    A fair point, Claire, the Thames Path is a good run but narrow at a few points for the current volume – not impossible though. A Greenwich Parks run from Greenwich Park through Blackheath, Hornfair Park, Woolwich Common, Oxleas Wood and returning through Woolwich Common, Charlton Park, Maryon Wilson, Maryon, Thames Barrier, Thames Path around Peninsula and back to Greenwich Park would work quite well only crossing main roads not closing them for hours.

  34. Darryl

    19,000 runners down the Thames Path isn’t the best of ideas. If it was a smaller race, maybe, but it isn’t. And a few runners have complained about Sunday’s diversion down there. And as for a park run – this is an urban half-marathon, not a cross-country.

    The trouble is, Run to the Beat is hamstrung by

    1) a commercial need to save money by having a circular route, and
    2) a political desire to have it showcase a small part of the borough of Greenwich, for whatever reason.

    You might get a decent, flat-ish circular route if you (*horrors!*) broadened the route out into Lewisham borough, because a wider circle would mean road closures would be briefer. You might get a decent Greenwich borough route if you broke the circle and started in Eltham and wiggled back through Kidbrooke and Woolwich. But you’re not going to get both a decent circular route, and one which stays within the same political entity, without causing big problems for either residents, runners, or both.

    The close links between IMG and Greenwich Council seem to be the failing here, and if pointing that out is a “campaign”, so be it. If a commercial organisation and a supposedly accountable local authority are only telling each other what they want to hear – which is what seems to be going on – then eventually, things will go wrong.

  35. jimbo7070

    Hello Darryl –

    Ran this one with my wife on Sunday – her third, my second RTTB. It was an utter shambles from the start. It wasn’t clear where we were supposed to be lining up – just some dude shouting that we’d better get into place unless we wanted to miss the start, but no indication of where that might be.

    The pen got very crowded, not helped by a delay of at least 20 minutes, concerning which there was no information whatsoever. The first couple of miles were slow trots, so boxed in it was impossible to move without collision. People were crossing the course with bicycles and kids, tripping up runners, and treating US as if we were causing them a problem.

    The race was clearly way oversubscribed. It was not capable of handling half the number of runners.

    One expects a route to thin out after a few miles, this got no better, because the course narrowed to absurd levels – the barracks was unbelievable. Hot runners made to jostle and wait for several minutes both on the way in, and out. For whose benefit did we have to pass through the blasted barracks anyway??

    On my previous run we entered through the main gates and exited through gates at the top (which was bad enough then, as it had to be temporarily shared with an ambulance ferrying away a downed runner). This time hundreds of runners a minute were expected to run through a pair of narrow gates through which three people could not have passed abreast. In all seriousness, only one runner at a time could have gone through that silly gap.

    All 19,000 runners would have made it through there within an hour. Hmm. 19,000/3600 is over 5/ second, and it was obviously vastly heavier at peak times.

    It is incredible to think that anyone thought this through, and approved it. Or – alternatively – nobody bothered to think it through at all.

    Putting the final mile as the steepest part of the race was the decision of a complete idiot. About three quarters of the runners quit and walked (at best!) for this final leg.

    Not content with demoralising and defeating everybody – a powerful finish was out of the question – there followed three tedious loop-backs. Presumably, the same genius who thought a steep hill finish was a real knee-slapper wanted the crowd in the park to have plenty of opportunity to gawp at the struggling finishers.

    The welcome at the end was worth it. Not. “Keep moving – KEEP MOVING – hand in your tag, or you’ll get a £20 fine – and no, ONE BOTTLE OF WATER EACH ONLY!! Now get out!” Jeez.

    The coconut water was nice, I suppose, but not what any runner would be used to. The water stations were too heavily crowded, I had to miss two of them because it was impossible to get near. The road was too narrow at these points.

    All in all, it was a disaster. We did not find a single person who thought it was a well run event. We paid £54.40 each, and travelled 200 miles each way for this. No way in hell am I going to be suckered by this con again. Not happy in the slightest.

    ——————–

  36. Joan

    I work all week, ferry the kids about and do the shop on Saturday. Sunday is family day and includes gathering up all the old folk for an outing a good lunch and some company. LM Sunday we manage it. RTTB Sunday we don’t. And please don’t suggest a big dinner, as the old folk can’t take a big meal late in the day. Yes, we like our old folk. So I was very uncomfortable reading Sally’s gleeful account of a police officer mocking an old lady at the standard while Sally seemed to enjoy it.. Maybe the old lady did rant. Maybe she was rude. On the other hand she could have been anxious she was going to miss her one bit of company for the week at church.. If she had a road to cross with thousands of strapping runners dashing past maybe she was frightened of a fall and a broken fragile old bone. RTTB and its fans market the event for its good causes factor although it is pretty small compared to the LM. Perhaps a bit of compassion and concern for the many people who have to suffer so that the runners can do their thing wouldn’t go amiss.

  37. Louise MacK

    If the runners had a hard time getting through the gates at Greenwich Park (it happens at the Marathon too)and the Barracks were a problem AND the Thames Path I wonder what it would be like running up Shooters Hill to Oxleas Woods and trying to cram in to the other parks through equally narrow gates . . . You could have another Hillsborough like that.Think again DG!

  38. Bob

    You miss the point, Sally.

    You claimed that it’s 1 day out of 365. But as you know very well, it is 2 days out of 365. However, as far as I’m aware, nobody has any issues with the London Marathon because it’s immaculately organised, does what it says at the time it says that it’ll do it, and provides minimal inconvenience for local residents. And all this for charity and for a day that we can all be proud of.

    None of that applies to RTTB. It’s a corporate shambles and creates chaos for many residents on the day, that spills over into the rest of their week.

    Clearly some areas are affected more than others (you seem to be fairly unaffected up at Blackheath Standard where you say you have contingent services) but I can assure you, down on Trafalgar Road / Woolwich Road, we really are screwed until very late afternoon. It’s unacceptable.

    We don’t want this and we certainly don’t need it.

  39. Franklin

    David Gardner –

    You’re the Chair of the Greenwich and Woolwich Labour Party, but you come across as if you’re completely disassociated from this.

    Do you have ANY influence over what the Labour-run Council does? Or are you just there to rally the troops on election day – and weigh the vote afterwards?

  40. Paul

    Bob, I live on Trafalgar Road and I went to Tesco and bought my lunch at 1pm, no problem.
    I’m not sure why you couldnt do your shopping til 4pm
    It was also easy to get to the co-op.
    If you insist on going to Sainsbury’s on the Peninsular then maybe it would be an issue.
    But for one day to shop on Trafalgar road at the Tesco doesnt seem to be such an inconvenience

  41. Harvey

    Sally seems to miss a few points. It sounds as if the old lady at the even if we are young? Is taking a rise out of pensioners what this event is about. When I was in school it would have been called verbal bullying – unattractive and a far cry from the – we do it for charity- talk. They say charity begins at home. What about at the standard? And Franklin has probably got it right about influemce or lack of.

  42. Harvey

    Got a bit carried away and deleted myself. What I meant to say was that the old lady probably didn’t have a clue about what it all was and all those runners in the clone shirts must have been a shock. Come to think of it I don’t really understand what it is all about and I’m young.

  43. Bob

    Paul, I don’t go to Sainsbury’s for my lunch, I go there for my weekly shop and besides, I had lunch already prepared at home. WTF are we discussing our lunch buying habits?

    Apart from this being just one issue on Sunday, I don’t find it acceptable to use any particular supermarket at the insistence of the corporate organiser of RTTB.

  44. Sally Stevens

    As I said, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    We enjoyed it as a family as did 1000’s of other families.

    Clearly it annoyed many others that seem to be on Sunday missions…. Clearly more notice may be required.. Clearly many of us are not on the same page!

    Other major cities seems to run these sore events very well, even when things go wrong.

    I’m sure there are many things that you agree with that I wouldn’t so let’s just leave it there and carry on with our clearly busy lives!

  45. Steve

    Sally, I know that you’ve had your last word but this is not an issue with London not being able to organise great sporting events (do you remember the Olympics?). The London Marathon is great. RTTB is a shambles and an imposition on residents.

  46. Bob

    No, I can’t leave it there. I don’t want to have to go through what I go through every year with RTTB again. The event must change the way it’s organised or cease to exist.

    Clearly as it provides so much enjoyment, it is preferable to change the way it’s organised. If we could agree on that instead of poking fun at those that are unacceptably inconvenienced by the current RTTB, then we could move forward in a positive way and perhaps influence those changes.

    But the general tone is that we should simply put up with the way it is.

    Well you can do one, because that attitude sucks.

  47. Paul C

    Not sure how or why the comments section got so heated!

    There seems a clear split between people who think the whole idea of a corporate event (especially one that raises so little cash) is wrong and should be scrapped, and those who think it’s good to have a local sporting event of this kind but it needs better management. Who knows, perhaps somewhere a group of IMG employees are thinking the event went perfectly and nothing needs to change. If it is not a lot of work, I would be interested in seeing the results of a poll (like the Charlton Lido poll on Charlton Champion) that sought to gauge support for different options for the event (scrap, change route, charge IMG more, change IMG etc).

  48. Darryl

    I’ve deleted some of Sally’s trolling, and the responses to it. I’ve no idea if she’s in a minority or not, but please treat other commenters with respect.

  49. Harvey

    Read Runners World and you will see the runners felt short changed. 853 tells us that a lot of residents don’t like it. It is emotive on both sides. Getting in the face of IMG and hurting their pockets might help and pushing them to raise their game for both sides of this debatewould be the way forward. But IMG is a big boy that might not want to play.

  50. Jayjay

    Despite all the moaning and groaning I enjoyed the run and had a throughly wonderful day, despite having had to get up at 3.03 am in the morning. I hope you lot who have moaned and groaned feel soooo much better when you get your ten pouns back.

  51. Clare

    Well, clearly IMG are feeling a bit sorry, they’re refunding £10 of everyone’s entrance fee…

  52. Jason Denny

    Overall a good event. I was in one of the first groups through the barracks because at that stage I was 7 minute miling I give the event an. 7 out of 10. I would have expected glucose drinks every 5 miles The start time of 10.05 when I thought it was 9.45 was awkward. Moreover there was no mile markers between mile 7 and 12 . This meant I went too early and did not achieve target time. I was schocked by the mile marker at 12.1 as I thought it was only a few hundred yards left. The baggage collection took ages. That said I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully the course will not change again as I now know it. However a prettier less lap type course might be better. Dissapointing that locals complain about a once a year 3 hour event -they could lie in or leave the area. We have much more in Eastbourne. Regards Jason

  53. michael

    This was my first half marathon, and I really enjoyed it. I completed the course in under 2 hours and didn’t experience more than a few seconds wait at either the gates to the barracks or back into the park, but I can understand how frustrating it must have been if you had to wait for more than a couple of minutes.

    I agree that the music along the route was not loud enough, so I was glad I had my headphones. The final mile was a killer, though knowing the area I was expecting the long climb to the finish – but not the doubling back just when I thought I was close to the finish line.

    Jesse J not really my style, but I enjoyed her act and atmosphere was great at the finish. Until I received the email about the refund, I had no idea that there had been problems. All in all, a great event which i will definitely do next year.

  54. Chris

    “once a year 3 hour event.” – Oh dear, have a read of the thread old bean.

    Ah, Eastbourne, God’s waiting room. Never been the same since they moved the tram down to Sidford (look it up son).

  55. Paul

    Music along the route not loud enough?? Seriously?? It was pretty loud. Just wearing headphones would keep everyone happy, surely, without having to impose massive sound systems on the Park and everywhere around whether people like it or not.

  56. Brendan

    I agree that the course was shocking and it had more U-turns that the government. 4 U-turns in the last 2 miles and the hill that killed any rhythm in trying to finish in a decent time. Where’s the fun in running down a path (or cul-de-sac), slowing to a standing turn and then having to drive off to work against the inertia to come back . I agree the course planner clearly has never run a half marathon before. I was clocking 7 minute miles until that last 2 miles and the last 2 miles I clocked at 9 minutes, and could have broke 1hr 40mins but for the route!

  57. orangeblimp

    What a grot lot!

    Seriously… Just a few events a year and a select few have to come out and have a good winge about something… Anything! Just embrace our beautiful neighbourhood and welcome those that choose this location.

    Victor Meldrew springs to mind!!!

  58. Clare

    The company that runs Run to the Beat is the same company that runs the Blenheim triathlon, which this year had a huge cock-up on the course meaning that on the cycle part you had to get off your bike three times during the course. Blenheim costs £80+ to enter, and despite this they didn’t refund anyone any money at all, so for them to be giving back a quarter of the entrance fee RTTB must have gone really quite badly wrong somewhere down the line.

  59. BobbyT

    Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Darryl start a contest to devise a better course – one that suits both runners and residents – and then sends the organisers a selection. They obviously need SOMEONE to come up with a better plan. Websites like Gmaps makes it easy. Here’s my contribution. It utilises much more of Greenwich’s fantastic riverside, cuts down on the number of closed roads; keeps access to the A102 open at Woolwich Road meaning most people can go about there business; includes more of the borough’s landmarks; and does away with the majority of hairpins and hill finishes. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6078985

  60. Gerlad

    I suppose if you go out at the Standard the show goes by fairly quickly and it is fun. But spare a thought for those down the line. When the cockups multiply like on Sunday so does the length of the road closures and disruption and it seems to go on forever.

  61. Maggy May

    I am not a RTTB fan. Put my real opinions out there and Darryl’s trollometer would melt. However, let’s be fair some people like this event and there should be room for compromise.
    I would accept even more noise to gee up the runners if it didn’t go on as long. A decent amount of cash for proper local causes would sweeten a lot. Say fifty thousand. The Animal Park has been mentioned and there must be others.
    If the runners want a scenic course without hills then Greenwich is not the place to come. Parts of the borough are great to look at (remember the Olympics folks?) and others not. Get over it. There is not a lot that can be done to fight geography, so hills it is somewhere along the route. Get over it.
    There needs to be an outbreak of common sense with RBG and IMG. Difficult but not impossible. If they could only get it that the problem is the circular route around one bit of the borough and that the answer is money. Corporate profits come first so IMG are cheap and pay as little as possible for everything. RBG seems happy with that.
    I am not an expert on routes but surely it is not beyond possibility that the race could start in Greenwich Park and go out to Eltham or Plumstead to thin out the pack which might make the Thames Path a reasonable choice instead of a death trap. The race could have a proper finish at the bottom of the hill in Greenwich Park and if the runners were too knackered to walk up to baggage retrieval what about some of those cute little land trains to take them up? Ah yes, it would all cost money.

  62. Porterhouse

    RTTB used to operate by pissing off the least number of people by kettling them for as long as it took. People kicked off so this year’s crackpot route was an attempt at appeasement but seemed to piss off everybody. Quite an achievement of sorts. I wonder if IMG will try to get the old route back

  63. Bob

    Hurrah, a voice of reason! Glad you woke up, Maggy. ;p

    Another improvement that strikes me is if the start was in the lower park and ran along Trafalgar Road, Woolwich Road etc in the very initial stages. ie. in reverse of the current route. This would free up the main transport artery from North Greenwich after a very short time (say, 11am) and allow the buses to run through the borough within a planned system of diversions instead of the current system of no system at all.

  64. Andy

    Some people have Sunday Missions where they have no choice. Such as going to work. Shops, hospitals, fire stations and a load of other services in Greenwich and beyond have to go on day in and day out and with people needing to cross north to south to do them, this race is a nuisance. My neighbour is a new granny and has to keep picking up the pieces of disturbed nights. Not essential but as near a dammit. That’s her Sunday Mission. Then there are emergencies which no one can predict. Usually easier to go by car to A&E than try for an ambulance in many cases. And if you get a gas leak you want the man to come quickly so your house doesn’t blow up, not buggering about trying to get round the road closures. There are not a lot of real choices here are there?

    The runners choose to run in big groups. They are running for a hobby not for employment. They could just as easily run in small groups or alone, pounding along to music from their headphones. Most people have them these days. And for a really radical idea!. They could fund raise just as well in small groups or alone. There must be something that makes them want to take part in mass events . . .

  65. Maggy May

    I’m not getting into details over routes.I don’t know enough to make really informed suggestions. But there must be people out there who can. What I do know is that the event cannot go on as it is, causing a minor war every year and feelings getting really ugly. IMG have got to start to live up to the Management bit of their name, and to provide a quality product they have got to spend. It is up to everyone whether they like RTTB or not to put on the pressure so that the council and IMG get their act together and deliver the goods.

  66. Mark Ward

    I have run every one of the 6 RTTB event and am a resident of Greenwich so can speak from both sides of the coin, I had until now defended the race and like some said ‘stop moaning its only 1 day a year’ but it has become clear especially this year with the total shambles that was RTTB 2013 that IMG are just interested in profit and are not listening to anybody about the route or the organisation of the event.

    I have run events form small charity organised events right up to the Great North Run (the worlds largest half marathon) and can say without a doubt that this is one of the worst organised events and had gotten worse as the years have gone on. I only run it because it was my first ever event 6 years ago and as I have said is my home event, well that was until this year as I will not be paying IMG £50 (the most expensive normal half marathon in the country) next year for something a group of school kids could have organised better.

    Firstly they need to start bringing in the community in the planning and in the actual event, I am doing the Ealing Half this week, an event only in its second year but one that has such amazing organisation and they have worked with the local community who are 100% behind it, the local churches are even acting as water stations and everyone gets involved. They need to actually speak to residents, arrange some open days for residents and runners to speak and sport out route problems together, their can be a happy medium but profit has to take a back seat to some degree.

    They have to start discussing the actual event with runners and thinking about runners and not just profit profit profit like they have been, yes they have to make a profit but this year we had :

    No sports drinks only some sponsors coconut water (totally not acceptable to runners)
    Not enough water stations and some with no water when I arrived
    People filling water cups by dipping their whole hands in the containers (not hygienic) and runners want bottles
    Baggage racks that collapsed on people
    A hill right at the end that was just plain stupid given the number of first time runners, I stood waiting at the line for 15 minutes for another runner and witnessed over 12 people collapse, 1 carried over the line and one unfortunate lady fall yards form the line.

    Greenwich Park was great this year with the sunny day, what if it was pouring down, it would have been a mud bath and a wash out, did nobody think of that, their was no cover at all.

    I have tried for years asking them to get a group of runners say 20-25 and give them free entry, runners of all types, newbies & experienced and listen to their thoughts, fire questionnaires at them, throw all you ideas at them before the race and they can give you free advice so problems like this might not happen, also seeing the problems with residents, why not have a group of residents as well, doing exactly the same with the actual route ?, sadly IMG have ignored me every year and just ignore emails after promising to get back to you, after all this would cost a few pounds, a few pounds form their profits I guess ?

    Sadly I think its time to chuck in the towel after this year, RIP RTTB.

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