Anyway - here you go! I will be responding again, and will post my response here later this evening.
I am enjoying hearing all your opinions both here and on Twitter. This has certainly divided opinion. The vast majority of messages I have had have been supportive though. You know you're creating waves when the CEO of parkrun starts following you! (I'm not being obsequious here - but parkrun have managed inclusivity brilliantly. It's possibly because of them that I have been minded to speak out.)
Thanks for that response.
We would like the event to become a good and inclusive running event for people both locally and afar. But in order to make it an event which works on a number of levels for runners, spectators and residents alike we feel that we have to set out some ground rules. One of these will be the 6 hour time limit before roads reopen.
You asked about the course passage. You may wish to bear the following things in mind but as we haven’t done the event before, it is difficult to be precise with all timings of when areas will be open/closed.
It is likely that for up to 30 minutes after the sweep vehicle/cyclists moving at 6 hour pace pass by, there will be marshals around the course. Given that your estimated finish time is 6 hours 30, I would like to think they will be still be around and supporting you as they progressively stand down. Our sweep marshals will also make us aware of any post time limit runners.
Should you fall behind the sweep vehicle, until Sirius Academy (Mile 21) the course will be open i.e. you would be able to run on the pavements. Beyond the 6 hour cut off i.e. around 13.45 we can’t guarantee that the school might not close its gates and in particular the passage through the school itself. Equally, I imagine that there will be an additional 30 minutes beyond the time limit while the relay station packs up etc.
You can then follow the route until ABP’s Albert Dock at mile 24. Because this is a commercial operation i.e. a company which has kindly let us use their site for the period of the marathon, I imagine that the gates to the dock will be closed fairly shortly after the 6 hour cut off (around 14.45) to enable them to continue with their normal operations. There is however a footpath which runs around the dock and then along English Street to Commercial Road. This runs parallel to the course route. We could look to have a marshal here to direct you and any others.
The rest of the route to the end can be navigated via pavements.
In short, as you can see, I can’t guarantee that you will run the exact route as the other runners if you fall behind the sweep vehicles, but one that will be approximately equal in length. You will be able to get to the end and cross the line having done a marathon distance. No-one is getting disqualified. However Claire, I think it likely that given you have put down 6 hours 30 as your finishing time, you will reach many of these points fairly shortly after the sweep system and that there will still be people around.
Website: As mentioned, the 6 hour time limit has been on the website in the Runners Information ever since we launched. I recognise though that this wasn’t in our Terms and Conditions which we hadn’t properly expanded upon on the site and will be aiming to rectify this in the coming days as we do appreciate your point that it’s important to make these things as visible as possible.
We have contacted those 8 people who have put a finish time of over 6 hours on their entry forms. 2 have currently got back to me and both are understanding of the limit.
I note your point about 18 weeks of training but would also ask you to understand the over 18 months of work that has gone into this event from both myself and my team of volunteers, who are not counting the opportunity costs of their substantial involvement.
This is currently a very busy period for us as a team as we get to the critical stages of organising the event but I have taken the time to respond as I appreciate the efforts you are putting in to get to the starting line. We will do our best to support you to get over the finish line and I’m sure it will be a great experience but we will be doing so under the rules and guidelines we have established and been working to for the last 2 years.