Metropolitan League: Sat, 16 January - race cancelled.

Click above for explanation.
Dear All

It is with regret that I inform you that we have had to cancel this fixture.

I have not taken this decision lightly as I am not of the view that life is without risks but, having consulted the Park Manager and the League Secretary also having made my own risk assessment of the course (last evening) and looked at the 5-day weather forecast for the area, I do believe that it would be foolhardy to continue to make arrangements for the races. I would like to share with you my reasons for this decision, which are:

Although the roads leading to Fairlands Valley Park and some of the roads in the Park are ok, only a handful of car parking spaces are clear of snow and the others, mainly on a slope, are covered in hard packed snow and very slippery. With over 600 competitors it would be chaos trying to find parking spaces and possibly dangerous.

All the paths in the Park, including those leading to the South Field and the Toilets/Changing are covered in hard packed snow and are very slippery. This would make access difficult not only for competitors but for course markers etc.

Every inch of the course, even the paths through the woods, is covered in a layer of snow, as is the start/finish area. For approximately half of its length, this has become hard packed, is uneven and slippery. Thus, whilst I was able to negotiate the course on my own, during a race there is considerable risk (above the norm for cross country running) that someone will fall and/or turn their ankle. Should this occur and someone breaks a limb, it would be extremely difficult to get first aid or if necessary an ambulance to them. During this time they would be lying in the snow getting extremely cold.

Although the weather forecast on BBC last evening suggested that there might be an improvement towards the end of the week, it is currently snowing and the 5-day forecast for the Stevenage area does not indicate that temperatures will rise sufficiently to start a thaw (in fact below zero temperatures are still expected on Thursday evening). Furthermore, it indicates that the wind will be stronger on Saturday, which would make conditions very unpleasant for the helpers/officials who would be out from early morning until the evening.

I need to consider not only the senior athletes but both the young athletes and older helpers/officials/first aiders.

I have not got the luxury of waiting to see what happens by Friday as I need to give you all time to contact your team members.

Again, I regret cancelling the fixture, but hope that you understand my reasoning.

Best regards

Richard Bloom - Chairman Herts Phoenix AC

Submitted: 21 December 2009