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Collaborating in Leicestershire and Rutland to ensure the safety of all involved in road running events.

Hosting running races on roads, which remain partially open to traffic, are a challenge for race organisers to ensure the safety of all concerned with the race as well as those, such as other road users, who are not party to the event writes John Skevington of the runbritain Technical Group - Representing Clubs.

 

Leicestershire and Rutland have a thriving road running programme mostly organised by what is recognised as Britain biggest road running league (LRRL) with 13 races under its umbrella.

 

Three years ago, for various reasons, but mostly to do with insufficient risk assessment, two county races were forced to be cancelled which led the league to undertake high level discussions with the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) where agreement surrounding working together to apply for road closures, often only for a few minutes to ensure a safe start, and correct signage procedures, was ironed out. The system, which was to have one designated person to look after one overriding Temporary Traffic Road Order (TTRO) and to be the liaison between the SAG and the race organisers has proved to be working to everyone’s satisfaction. It was though considered by the LRRL that now the basic procedures had been put in place it was now the time to drive the collaboration forward further and work more closely with the other organisations and agencies that may well be impacted by the events taking place on the roads.

 

Therefore a meeting was arranged to which all LRRL race directors were invited as well as some who were not in the LRRL fold but hosted high profile events within the county. Meeting with these delegates were representatives from SAG, Police, Fire, Ambulance as well as the emergency planning agencies. The SAG brought to the table a standard form which would be submitted by all events and which would be scored depending upon the information supplied and the likely impact that the event may have on the local community and facilities. So for example a road race which was of under 500 run on quiet country roads and which had supplied all the requisite paperwork including TTRO, sign schedule, risk assessment, full event management plan, traffic management plan and medical risk assessment would be scored “low” and would therefore be passed through without further reference to the race director. At the other end of the scale a higher impacting race with many more competitors and more road closures, or a small race without the requisite paperwork would be asked to make further submissions or meet in person with the SAG.

 

The meeting outcomes were well received by all and certainly those races that were able to demonstrate good practice by being able to submit the required documents were further contented in the knowledge that the SAG found their event to be safe and secure for future years. Races that perhaps hadn’t the higher level of organisation, although needing some extra, work soon discovered that by meeting the best practice that their race organisation itself became easier to handle.

 

The league and associated agencies all agreed that a collaborative way of working together to protect all parties needs and statutory requirements was certainly the way forward and from a runbritain point of view it is hoped that this meeting could become a blueprint that can be replicated across the country to safeguard events for the foreseeable future.