Indian Queens race director apologises after controversy
The start of the 2020 Indian Queens half marathon
10th March 2021
By Gareth Davies
Indian Queens half marathon race director Alison Beare has publicly apologised for criticism she received surrounding the staging of the event, which took place in December 2020.
However, in an apology sent to local Cornish running groups and subsequently seen by the Voice, Beare revealed that she did not break the law or flout any Government covid-19 guidelines.
After the event had taken place, fellow Cornish race director Davey Green spoke to the Voice and called the event ‘insane’ and ‘nonsensical’, whilst questioning if risk-assessments had been followed. He also revealed that the event had been reported to Devon and Cornwall Police as a mass gathering due to the way the race had started.
Now, some ten weeks after the race, Beare has had her say.
“Many of you will be aware of the bad publicity surrounding the race,” her passionate response began. “I didn’t make much comment at the time as I didn’t want to get into a media battle and make things worse so now I would like to explain what happened and apologise to all concerned.
“I submitted the (race) application to UK Athletics and Cornwall Council at the end of April (2020). This included my covid risk assessment for the day, having studied reams of guidance from the Government, Sport England and England Athletics (EA). The race was promoted as a mass start from day one, it wasn’t something I sneaked in last minute.
“Shortly after the race, I was contacted by another race director asking why I had allowed a mass start and releasing video footage provided by a friend who took part to the press and social media. He sent a screen shot of an EA rule which was half way down a page of frequently asked questions banning mass starts. I had looked at the main principles for staging a road race and general covid guidelines but had not seen that. I was devastated.
“Hundreds of people would have seen the Facebook page, risk assessment and covid advice for participants and would have known the intention but nobody contacted me to say that I would be breaking an EA ruling.”
She went on to add: “Over the Christmas period I was subjected to a very public kicking and humiliation which some may say I deserved. What was not deserved was the criticism of Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police as both parties did what was required of them.
“It has been a long time since the police have had the manpower to attend every community event and it has been confirmed that I did not break the law or contravene any Government guidelines.
“I hope you can now understand how the situation evolved and we can all move on.”
Meanwhile, in response to the furore surrounding the race, a competitor who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Voice to back Beare’s decision to go ahead with the event.
The unnamed runner said: “I actually felt safer on that start line than I did in the supermarkets in the run up to Christmas or, if I am honest, I do running round my local area with all the walkers that are out and about at the moment. I don’t think the backlash that the race director got following the race was fair at all - all they wanted to do was put on a race in a covid safe way which is what I feel happened.”
Finally, Beare revealed that plans are already afoot for the race in August 2021 – subject to local authority approval, although it is hoped that by then, all covid-19 restrictions will have been lifted.
She added: “It is time to think about this year’s race due to take place on Sunday, August 1, subject to the covid situation by then and whether I can get a licence. I hope everyone who can will continue to support it as it raises money for local causes.”