The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Thousands of runners stranded by floods

Posted by willd2 on October 28, 2008

Thousands of people had to be rescued in the Lake District by emergency services after torrential rain caused floods, which left them stranded overnight.

Competitors taking part in the annual Original Mountain Marathon (OMM), near Keswick in Cumbria on Friday, had to take shelter in farms, schools and even a former mine.

The BBC reported that over 1700 people were unaccounted for overnight after the race was abandoned by its organisers at around midday.

Race organiser, Jen Longbottom told the BBC‘People are thinking we are a bunch of amateurs who were taking school kids out on the hills’.

Longbottom went on to explain: ‘These are not school kids. A lot of them are in their 40s and 50s who are responsible people such as doctors and lawyers.’

‘Race should never have gone ahead’

All of the competitors were said to be experienced mountaineers and were carrying food and suitable equipment, which meant they could deal with the severe weather conditions.

However, organisers found it incredibly difficult to inform all of the entrants, who were scattered all over the course, that the race had been abandoned as many could not be contacted.

Honister Slate Mines manager, Mark Weir, who provided shelter for over 300 runners, told Radio 4, that the race should never have gone ahead.

‘Now we’ve got several hundred, into the thousands, stranded, cold, tired, some hypothermic.  We’ve overwhelmed the emergency services, there’s two mountain rescue out trying to find people on the side of the mountain in the dark. It’s just a bizarre day.’ – Mark Weir

A major rescue effort involving Cumbria Police and the RAF was mounted and all of the 2,500 participants were accounted for.

Thirteen competitors suffering from problems including hypothermia and head injuries were treated in local hospitals.

Race organisers have confirmed that the event will take place again next year.

A competitor’s video diary of events as they unfolded:

 

Will Drysdale – willdrysdale@hotmail.co.uk

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