This is a good old honest post from Andy, Race Director
I have always been a bit of commie, much against my red principles WSR is a business, we couldn’t organise the huge amount of events and other stuff if it was a side line.
Even now in a world full of race companies we get stick for being good at what we do, well we aren’t “money grabbing bastards” if we were I would be doing something else. We usually get called something like “Mickey Mouse events” usually from middle age elitist tosspots sat on twitter preaching about how running should be for fast people on roads. We like to cut our own path and cobblers to anyone else.
That said but we do have bills to pay. So we are a reluctant business. We have employees, we support as best we can local businesses, Medics, food suppliers, breweries, printers, most of the goody bags and all the venues are Dorset…except the ones in Hants…and Wilts…anyway. We do local.
Back in April I did an interview for BBR podcast about Covid-19 and how it had hit us and the circles we move in.
At the time I said we have survived but its a struggle. But no one knew how it would be game changing. Covid-19 has changed the way we live.
We have survived by being honest with ourselves, we have used our reserve of cash and we are glad we have the shop and virtual’s and once again thanks for entering those, I know the running world is full of virtual’s.
So as Nicola said 2 years of bills one year of income….
“Well just use all the entry for next year what’s the problem?”
We are about 6000 race entries down on what we expected for 2020….that’s a lot of cash, add on to that the loss of income from not having a shop or camping its big bucks.
Confidence. Some races have filled like GHM, Moreton Frolic and Cider frolic, so those entries are safe. But we are still way short of our entry target for the year, new races like Cranborne races, The Crafty Fox races and Moreton Marathon and 10 mile have had virtually no entry, purely because people had no confidence to enter them, people didn’t want to spend hard earned cash on something that may not happen and potentially WSR might not be here in 2021 (we will be don’t panic)
…..think back to the end of March no one knew what would happen.
Many people have lost their jobs and the economy could be a bit a of a mess for a while. So we shut it all down.
Things are easing, lockdown is being lifted
We had looked at putting on an event at the end of August at the Myncen farm. A frolic style event, with all the safety measures in place to make it work. But we realised that it wouldn’t work.
Frolics are big jolly races were runners and families are mingling and have a good time with camping.
In Covid-19 secure world we realise that a “Time Trial” type of event wouldn’t work for us, it would work for a long race like Centurion with 200 runners going in one direction for 100 miles….but a short loop even a half marathon distance isn’t far enough to thin out the runners, in my opinion.
This may be an unpopular opinion and I know some of my RD friends will disagree, but I think the rush for race organisers to return to some sort of normality is a risk. I see why they are doing it, cash is one and that’s fair, and for some its because they feel they can do it well and try and get back to reality post lockdown.
To put on an event this far into a global pandemic despite easing of lockdown is risky with a capital R.
To expand that a bit. Runners are travelling from all over the country, potentially from hot spots to mix, no matter how safe you procedures are….its a risk
“People are going to pubs, Bournemouth beach and there’s riots and demos and parliament and I have a mask and I am invincible I’m a runner” etc etc
However…..if I brought a load of people together for a big event and there was a cluster or outbreak because of this, could I live with that? Would you be happy with that? We could be the cleanest races on earth but Covid-19 is pretty easy to catch I gather and I would be pretty dis-chuffed to pass it on to a shielding relative or friend
So for the moment we will err on the side of caution, we want to reopen, not only to help with the finances
….but I miss the races. I missed my GHM fix and my Ox fun and the pop up Gin bar at Moreton.
But I want our races to be as safe as they can be, we could create a pop up marathon, half and 10k right now…but we are in no rush
We have new races planned for next year new Larmer stuff, new Invader and loads more
We will be back but when the time is right
Thanks for reading