2017-letter

21.3.17

Dear Runners
I want to reach out to you and explain the marshalling error just after WS2.
As the old saying goes, ‘You are only as good as your last race’. This is as applicable to Race Directors as it is to you, the runner. After an extremely successful 2017 Worthing Half in Feb I feel very flat today and disappointed with Richmond, especially as this marshal point was such a simple point to execute.
With 4 years of successful Richmond Half events under our belt we had an error on the simplest of turns, with the resulting front packs heading straight on instead of left up Old Palace Lane, losing several hundred metres.
I had placed 2 signs up for MP19 knowing the wind may play havoc with the larger sign (which is why you may have noticed more small yellow signage on the course this year).
Unfortunately, human error was to blame with around 8-10% of the field affected. I can only apologise for this and make up to you for 2018 with a free entry for those affected.  Once notified of the error I was quick to respond and rectify the problem.
I am still to research the exact time when things got corrected and appreciate any assistance from your data etc. that can tally with start times, pacing and phone logs.

Further to this point, I spread the start out by 50% time and this confused stewarding staff on the return with more than usual on the joint race line before the 2nd split point.
I am having a full review of stewarding for this event and things will be changing in 2018.
In conclusion, closer to the 2018 Richmond event all those affected will get a free code to use for entry (this will have a strict cut off date and be for the runner affected only and be applicable to the 2018 Richmond event only). This code will not go out immediately but later in 2017.

On another note, I am concerned with some of the verbal abuse the stewards and a few Vineyard Community Project volunteers received. Some of those volunteers have had a really tough few years with homelessness and resultant mental health issues. I was extremely pleased they wanted to get involved and support you running. I understand your adrenaline is running high but please consider they are people with feelings, often self-negative and need our support to get their lives back together.  

Lastly, a short note on social media platforms and my RD development. Over the last few years I have noticed that when an event does not go to plan quite often a Race Director gives it a week then simply deletes all your comments or reviews or just posts up complete rubbish to cover their back. Comments can be deleted at a click of a button and nobody is any the wiser. I have no interest in such sharp practice and I ask you, the running public to consider the integrity of an event, the claims they make and the people behind them.
Quite often, the real success of an event is not the pretty FB posts (while deleting the negatives!) but the deeper management of an event (medical, valuables, layout, runner safety, comms etc.) The measure of these attributes can only be assessed when things don’t go to plan. I feel we did very well here to correct our error.
Like all jobs we develop and take the odd hit. I'm sure you have all been there in your careers. II accept my failings as a RD as much as I accept my successes and only through error can improvements be made and make my work better.
I am probably one of the most accommodating RD’s in the industry as many of you have been grateful for. Deferrals, injuries, name changes, late entries all take admin time (and cost) for me but I welcome you with open arms 90% of the time. The customer is King (or Queen) and I want to keep my customers happy.
We are one of the only companies that run the mini mile for children on a non-profit basis as I feel it’s important to provide back to the sport along with all my other offerings over the years to the sport and local clubs. Very few RD have any interest at all in the development of the nations children, unless there is a big £ at the end of it. 

The most disappointed person today is probably me. I feel I have let 10% of you down after 4 great years.
Richard Xerri