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[Sep. 3rd, 2008|02:55 pm]

The Editor,
Today - Voices

I read with interest the letter by reader Pan Qingyan (Voices, September 3, 2008).

While I commend the spirit of the writer in wanting to take part in the race for charity, as well as her enthusiasm for maintaining a healthy life style through active participation in running events, I cannot help but disagree with her viewpoint.

Essentially the Nike+ Human Race was an organised race. Registered participants in the race had to pay a fee - which went to charity - in order to be privy to the event. In return, these participants were given the opportunity to run in a specially demarcated and cordoned off area, to ensure their safety and ease of running. Also, on the course itself were several waterpoints, as well as a host of route marshals to ensure that runners were kept on course, and to look out for any casualties. For these to happen, there were licenses to be applied and paid for, in addition to other costs, such as those for the employment of barricades along the course. All these were arranged for based on the number of runners who have registered.

As such, the writer should understand that the organisers have a responsibility to the various stakeholders, paying participants included, not to allow those who are essentially gatecrashers on the course to participate. To allow so would be sending a negative message to the larger community, and would be unfair to those who paid to join.

Whilst i emphathise with the writer on the embarassment felt from being pulled off the course, I note that they were firmly, but politely asked to leave. Being running enthusiasts, the writer and her friend should also be aware that this is consistent with most, if not all of organised races throughout the world. Also, from the perspective of a race, not pulling out gatecrashers would mean potentially distracting the race leaders, and in bigger races, this could equate to a substantial monetary concern in terms of prize money, as well as sponsorship opportunities.

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