Monday, September 07, 2015

Fair Play: Black Light run's black eye

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Sept. 7 edition)
THERE are fun runs and then there are runs that are fun and I wonder where the recent Black Light Run held at the South Road Properties would belong. For sure the organizers and participants will have a different assessment from those caught in traffic by the road closure last Saturday and for them, it wasn’t fun at all.

To be honest, I paid scant attention to the event as it was just one of the many scheduled for the weekend, but I did remember that it was quite a special case because for a 10K event, the organizers managed to have half the South Road Properties closed for a few hours.



But unlike other events that also required road closures like the Cebu Marathon or the Cobra Ironman, there were barely any public announcements made for motorists. And only those who read the stories in the news or were participants themselves knew the road was going to be closed, so it’s quite understandable why some vented their ire on social media when they were caught by surprise last Saturday night.

Broadcaster Leo Lastimosa posted about the hassle of getting caught in traffic, and a few agreed. One even replied, “Ambot ani nga run, wala gyud hinungdan. Wala gyud pulos nga event, makahasol pag motorista.”

And can you blame them if they were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on their lane, while the other lane was left wide open for runners who get showered by colors?

Perhaps it’s time for the Cebu City Traffic Office to set up some parameters for fun runs or have a set of minimum requirements before closing the roads for fun runs.

And closing the SRP for a 10-kilometer gimmick event should be not repeated. Yes, for me a 10-kilometer fun run at night is nothing but a gimmick event, an attempt to be different from the weekend fun runs held every Sunday morning. Throw in a dash of color and a party, and you get to wonder, do they want a fun run or a street party?

The next time an organizer applies for road closure the first thing CCTO should consider is the time of the event; if it’s on a Saturday night, or any night for that matter, they should reject it. Why hold it at night when you can have it early in the morning when there are less cars on the streets?

And if it’s only for a 10K, heck, CCTO should reject the application outright. You want a safe run but you’re only willing to go as far as a 10K? Then go run loops at the Cebu City Sports Center, where your runners will be totally safe from traffic.

And of course, organizers should be required to inform the public and not rely on reporters to inform the public that there would be road closures. In the weeks leading to the Cebu Marathon and the Cobra Ironman—which are well-known events already—there were numerous announcements about road closure. There was zero announcement in the Black Light Run.

The traffic office, once they get the application for road closure, should monitor for such announcements at least two weeks before the event. And if there are none, a week before the event they should inform the organizer that their application for road closure is rejected, giving them enough time to inform their participants should they decide to cancel their event or transfer it to the CCSC.

Running is no longer a novelty in Cebu and the running community has matured. It has witnessed all kinds of events—from midnight runs to full marathons—it doesn’t deserve to get a black eye from events like the black night run.

Events like that of last Saturday’s only make the life of the next organizer more difficult.

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