After the rain…

by de

I know that it is not entirely necessary, but I do feel as though I would like to address some of the comments made after this blog was posted on an Intraining Facebook page and I have come under reasonable scrutiny, totally expected.

What I would like to point out is that I am not blaming Intraining. Of course, they did not cause the storm. Of course it has caused them untold grief and despair. I do understand that intraining is a Mum & Dad business and I have personally met both Steve and Margot. I’m not on a crusade. I would hate to imagine the gaping hole left in the Brisbane running community should there be no more Intraining. That said, they are a business, not a benevolent society. A business has to make money. Period.

All I am doing is questioning what their weather management plan was. I think I am well within my rights to do so, I paid them money to enter an event, things went wrong, of course I am within my rights to question what the weather management policy is? I am hearing reports on social media about how Steve Manning himself was running down the road with a phone that had ‘died’ from water damage, yelling that the race was cancelled and other staff bemoaning that their radios did not work. If that was the wet weather management plan, then so be it. I am simply asking *what* it was.. Surely a little transparency is not too much to ask? I was actually on the course when the storm hit, I know what it looked like from where I was running and organised on any level, it was not.

I am well aware that all parts of life involve risk. I am a marathon runner with ITB issues, I drive a car, I’ve given birth, my work involves many, many high risk components and I am licensed to operate high-risk machinery. I am well aware of the risks involving running a 10km fun run, this was not my first rodeo and will most certainly not be my last. So the many rants and raves about my (and the rest of the field) taking such a ‘risk’ are lost on me, yes, I was aware that I was taking a risk. Every single morning when my eyes open, before my feet hit the ground, yes, I am aware. To live is to risk dying. I once said, You know the biggest thing about taking a risk? it’s not taking the risk.

Secondly, I am really tired of this being described as a ‘freak’ accident.. Sorry people,  it’s the end of summer in SE Qld.. nothing freakish about a storm in the afternoon, I would actually go as far as to say that they are commonplace. As for someone being struck by a flying branch in the middle of a thunderstorm in SE Qld at the end of summer? Sorry, no that’s not a ‘freak’ accident… If you are stuck out in a storm the chances of being struck by flying debris are high enough to not be a ‘freak’ accident. Yes, the storm seemed to come out of nowhere and we all have 20/20 in hindsight. I’m not ‘blaming’ intraining for the fact that I was out there, I choose to be out there as did each and every other participant.

So with that in mind, knowing that this event will be ran in the dark lets explore the fact that there was no emergency lighting on the course. At all. Lets couple that with the fact that the witches hats used to mark out the course did not have reflective tape on them and were difficult to see in the dark. Then, add to that the fact that the marshals had no waterproof communication and it was very difficult to distinguish a marshal/official/volunteer from another runner, some wore yellow shirts, some looked like the other runners, no hi-vis vests?  Why is that? This is QLD, it rains a hell of a lot here. We already knew that the event would be held in the dark, yet no emergency lighting, no hi-vis witches hats, no way of telling a volunteer apart from anyone else… I have friends coming in at times ranging from 50min to 1.40, every one of them has a different story. One friend coming in at 1.40 wasn’t even aware that the race had been called off.

Another little gem I keep hearing from people that obviously not there was that the entire field ‘should have sought shelter’. I don’t even know why I am addressing it because if you were actually there (ie. knew what the circumstances were like) you would not have asked the question, I was running as fast as I physically could to the nearest shelter, that I can promise you. Which is when I was absolutely amazed that they were sending people out for another lap when I got to the turnaround. Absolutely amazed. I ran as fast as I could to shelter. Why would you go back out in it? Saying that, I did see someone hurt and obviously that affects a person differently, maybe I would have been prepared to do another round had I not seen someone struck down.

Which brings me to another point. Intraining employees are claiming on Social Media that the race was called off before the man was struck by the tree. This is simply not true. I came in at 54 min and my friend came in at 58 min. I did not see the man hit, she did, and it was in the last 2km that he was hit. Doing a little bush maths with some help from my Garmin puts me at the 8km mark at around 5.50, puts my friend there at 5.55ish. The reports that I have heard state that the race was called off at 6.10pm, having been there waiting from friends in a tent right at the finish line, I would have thought that it was later than that, but I’m happy to call it 6.10. At any rate they were sending people back out at the turnaround when both myself and my friend came in.

No public comment made by management. Staff and followers ‘rallying’ social media name calling anyone that dares to question what happened and spreading information that simply is not true. This is not a witch hunt and I’m not here pushing an agenda. Quite simply I would like to know what the plan was. If there was no plan, fine! It’s probably information that I could have used before the race, but that’s the way it goes and I’ll keep that in mind in the future. Being set upon by loyal followers and employees when I put it out there how I was feeling after the race was  to be expected. ‘Put yourself in their shoes’, they say. God yes, I feel for them. These last few days must have been terribly difficult, as must have been the clean up, dealing with the media and of course the criticism from (what has been described as) the minority of participants. (yea, that’s me) I’m not going to shy away from it, I say it how I see it. Not everyone is going to see it like I do, but that’s the beauty of blog-land. This one is about me and how I feel, if you would like to express how you feel you can start one too.

Granted, my first blog on the subject was probably a bit harsh. I was coming from a place of abject fear. Sunday night was one of the scariest experiences of my life. Yep, I’m outspoken and bound to come out swinging. This blog has always been about me and what I think, I don’t think that I have pulled many punches in the past and I’m not about to start now. If saying it how I see it alienates me from 90% of the running community then I guess that I just have to accept that.

All of that finally said, this is the end of the road for discussion on the subject. It’s time to move on, forget about Sunday, send our thoughts and prayers to the man that was injured and his family, and keep on running.

If anything at all is to come out of Sunday night’s tragedy it is my sincere hope that events in the future take into consideration the events of Twilight 2103 and this leads to greater safety of events in the future.