Fun run 'accident waiting to happen'

01:08, Jan 23 2013
tdn fun run stand
Competitors race off on the Nexans/Olex fun run/walk on Upper Egmont Rd

Serious safety concerns have been raised over Inglewood's annual fun run and walk by a concerned resident who says it is an accident waiting to happen.

Paul Austen said he was concerned about the organisation, the safety precautions taken and the behaviour of competitors.

But a spokesman for the event has dismissed the concerns, saying their plans were approved by the council and the event is no different from hundreds of others across the country.

Mr Austen, whose Lepper Rd property is on the course, said competitors took up half the road, giving drivers no option but to cross the centre-line to get past.

"The safety aspect is shocking.

"I'm worried one day someone will pull out to pass them and someone will be coming the other way, and smack," Mr Austen said.


He said Lepper and Egmont roads were 100kmh zones and should be treated the same as State Highway 3, which had cones laid out for the event.

"They're narrow. At least on the main road there's a proper shoulder that's sealed."

He said a flier put in the letterboxes of residents who lived along the course stipulated competitors had to run or walk two abreast.

But race marshals stood with their hands in their pockets and failed to enforce this, he said.

Mr Austen said the organisers needed to apply for road closure and ensure competitors and marshals were briefed properly before the event.

A spokesman for the event, Steven Dickson, said the organisers submitted a road plan which was approved by the council.

The plan outlined safety requirements, including fliers distributed to affected residents, cones laid out on main roads and a certain number of marshals on the course.

There might be some congestion at the start but competitors soon spread out as the race progressed, Mr Dickson said.

He said competitors were told to remain two abreast but it was difficult to manage across the whole course.

"You can't control what everyone does."

Mr Dickson said he could not understand the complaints.

"It's no different from any other course," he said.

"It's an annual event, it's once a year, what's his problem?"

Mr Austen said the other downsides to being close to the race course included people using his land as a toilet and leaving their rubbish behind.

During last year's event, his wife, Karen, received a rude response when she asked marshals if they could move the refreshment station out of her driveway.

"My wife went out and politely told them to move and a guy told her to f... off," Mr Austen said.

He said he would be fine with the event if the organisers asked permission to use the space before the event rather than simply dropping a flier.

"There's no decency."

Mr Dickson said it was impossible to contact every resident by phone before the event and fliers were a much more practical option.

"We don't know who lives in the properties. Sometimes people might be away, or properties are rented."

Taranaki Daily News