Updated Statement

2022-08-08 16:00:00

Cardiff 10k/2k

A further statement from Front Runner Events

Following the announcement that the planned Cardiff 10k has changed to a virtual run, I need to clarify the position and explain further the rationale behind the decision so that all entrants understand how this decision was reached. More importantly, I want to confirm how we plan to resolve the situation.

Firstly, I want to apologise for not explaining the reasoning behind this decision as clearly as I would have liked in my earlier statement.

Secondly, I’m aware that there have been a number of rumours circulating regarding the event. One such rumour is that there were as many as 7000 entrants signed up for the race, prompting speculation that Front Runner Events was somehow ‘pocketing over £200,000’. This is simply not the case and, again, I hope the following will help to explain the position.

Unlike our other events that we own, Front Runner Events were the organiser for the 2022 Cardiff 10k under licence. We took over the event for 1 year in November 2021, when we reopened the entries to the event. At the point of taking over the event for 2022, the world was showing signs of reopening fully following the pandemic and we hoped that trend would continue.

During the spring of this year, it was apparent that entries were far slower than we had anticipated from previous races. At that stage, given our concerns about entry numbers, we explored the potential for cost-effective changes to the proposed city centre route.

One of the many options considered was to utilise a previous route, namely routes from 2016 and 2017. The 2016 route, as it closed fewer roads and would have retained a number of the city centre based elements the event is known for, would have been preferable but also proved to be too expensive based on the entry numbers and projections at that time.

Safety is at the forefront of all event and business decisions we make; the infrastructure and associated supporting personnel required for our events has to be in place regardless of the number of runners participating. Achieving the required safety standard, particularly at a city centre based event, is costly. As such, if an event does not attract a certain number of entrants and volunteers, then it will not be safe to proceed. We needed a far greater number of entrants than we received to simply cover the expense of staging this event safely.

In the following months, as the difficulties and realities of the situation became clearer, I met regularly with the relevant stakeholders to explore all possible options, up to and including cancelling and fully unwinding the event. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible for all concerned to agree on a course of action.

In the circumstances, we took the only action we could to deliver some form of event for those that had entered, hence the virtual option. We did that knowing that we were putting ourselves front and centre to protect others from any negativity. However, particularly given the wild speculation and baseless allegations that have been circulating following Friday’s announcement, it is important to us that you, the runners, the people that put faith in us to host safe events and trust us with your money, understand the reasons behind this decision.

Since Friday’s announcement, Front Runner Events, my team, and I have been subject to horrendous abuse and various allegations of unscrupulous conduct. None of these allegations are true. Contrary to many of the misinformed comments directed at us, Front Runner Events did not stand to benefit financially at runners’ expense by taking that decision.

To quell any suggestion of misconduct, Front Runner Events will work with Welsh Athletics (our governing body) in relation to this matter. I can confirm that we will share all necessary information in respect of this. matter and since we took over the event.

In view of the comments received from entrants following last week’s announcement, it is clear that there is no appetite to participate in the proposed virtual event. Therefore, we will no longer be staging a virtual event and the event will be cancelled in its entirety.

We will also begin the process of refunding all those runners who have entered the Cardiff 10k with us since November 2021.

Notwithstanding the cancellation of the race, I would urge all those who may have been fundraising as part of their intended participation in this event to ensure that their chosen charity receives the benefit of their efforts at the earliest opportunity.

Please note that Front Runner Events cannot, sadly, assist any runners whose entry was deferred from previous years as they will have entered with a different event organiser.

I can only apologise for the position that we have found ourselves in and for the anger, embarrassment and frustration that has been caused by this situation. That was never my or our intention. We are event organisers; we love creating running events. We simply tried to do the best we could for everyone in what have been very challenging circumstances.

Following the conclusion of this difficult and testing time, I hope that we can draw a line under this situation and get back to doing the great job we are known for; delivering safe and enjoyable mass participation race events.

Yours in sport

David Martin-Jewell