A few times last week, I had been on the Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll website filling in the entry form, but always closing the tab before comitting because I’m planning on selling my flat in the near future, and I seem to remember last year that this was one of those ‘send out race packs’ kind of races; basically I didn’t want to have to deal with getting in touch with organizers/setting up a forwarding address/hassle. I also knew that I would have plenty of time to sign up, because Rock ‘n’ Roll races generally have a large capacity for runners, unlike some local races that sell out in a matter of hours.
2014 would have marked the third year that the Rock ‘n’ Roll half went ahead in Edinburgh – or at least everyone who had been signing up was expecting that. Until Monday afternoon, when event organizers announced that they had pulled the plug on the event, offering refunds or a place in another of their races for those who had already signed up.
A refund is all well and good, but due to the popularity of these events, and the fact that (in order to fleece you for more cash) they offer ‘World Rocker’ medals to people who complete their races internationally, there is now a sizeable group of people who have non-refundable accomodation and flights, but no race to run. Several of these have been leaving comments on the R’n’R Edinburgh facebook page, bemoaning their financial loss thanks to a big name brand happily accepting cash without fully securing the race they were shilling. One couple even complained that they had included the race as part of their honeymoon!
While not quite as bad, I have several friends who had already entered, and many are now trying to see what they can get back from pre-paid hotel rooms and non-refundable travel arrangements. I realize this is no wide scale disaster – nobody died, the event wasn’t scheduled to take place for another few months, etc. – but that doesn’t make it right for a company to accept money and allow people to make arrangements to compete in one of their events knowing that there was a chance they wouldn’t be able to follow through. Why would anyone even do that?
I mean, they even changed the date from April to June after the weather last year made the run a horrible experience for many, though everyone understood that the weather was out of their control. But the date change is a whole other can of worms: I mean, yes, Scottish weather is unpredicatble at the best of times, but the chances of a repeat of last year’s conditions? Remote (did I mention how utterly loathsome the weather was? Because it was shit).
Anyway, I’ll leave the weather alone, because I have serious beef with Scottish weather even when I’m not running, and my focus here is on the sloppy organization of a not-very-cheap race by a company that clearly values making bank over providing a quality product.
It’s a real shame, as well, because the course really did (at times) go through the heart of the city. The EMF Edinburgh marathon and half marathon start off in the city centre, graze by Holyrood Park, but then the course veers to the outskirts of the city and along the coast to Musselburgh. On the plus side, they don’t up and cancel a race that people have already paid for.
To the people who had planned an international trip around this event, I can imagine your frustration. But if you’ve travelled hundreds (or thousands) of miles for a race, what’re a few more? While perhaps not the glitz and glamour you would expect as part of the ‘world’s largest running series’, there are other races near (and not so near) around the same time to consider:
Sunday, June 22nd:
- Nairnshire Challenge – a 30 mile duathlon.
- The Bannockburn 700 10k – in Stirling, not far from Edinburgh.
- Seven Hills of Edinburgh Race and Challenge – Join me!
Saturday, June 28th:
- Dollar Hill Race – website shows details for last year’s race.
- Kelty Coal Race – brought to my attention by a reader. I’ll admit, I am tempted.
Sunday, June 29th:
Saturday, July 5th:
- Isle of Harris half marathon – OK, a bit of a trek for this one…
Sunday, July 6th: