Safety concerns behind running festival guidelines, organisers say

Safety concerns behind running festival guidelines, organisers say

Apr 18, 2017

The Australian Running Festival’s elite wheelchair category requires entrants to be able to complete the course in under 60 minutes.

Wheelchair Sports NSW manager of sports, programs and events Kathleen Nicholls said the race guidelines were appropriate for the safety of entrants with disabilities and other entrants.

“We are comfortable with the time restrictions for the elite wheelchair section for this 2017 event, because of the safety concerns,” she said.

Mr Croker was told he would not be able to enter the race’s elite category because he wasn’t able to complete the course under the required time.

While organisers told him he could enter the general field category in a day chair, Mr Croker said entrants with disabilities would not want to do that.

“You might be able to do it but you’d be there half the day, but what would be the point of doing it?” he said.

Fairfax Events head of sport Sarah Young said it had been in discussion with Mr Croker about participating in this weekend’s Australian Running Festival.

“We are well aware that he is aggrieved about not being able to use his race chair,” she said.

Fairfax Events – part of The Canberra Times’ owner Fairfax Media – developed a safety plan for the race by consulting relevant authorities and Wheelchair Sports NSW, Ms Young said.

“The safety of all race participants was and is our absolute priority,” she said.

“The unequivocal advice we received was that for the safety of all participants, those competing in the elite wheelchair category using race chairs need to be able to complete the course in under 60 minutes in order to avoid potential collisions with others.

“Regrettably Mr Croker’s indicative race time was outside of these safety parameters.”

Read more: Safety concerns behind running festival guidelines, organisers say

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