The Linlithgow 10K race is staring cancellation in the face despite a run of 19 successful years in the town.
Despite best efforts, Jim Brodie, president of the Linlithgow Athletics Club is pulling the plug on the 10K and the Fun Run after admin delays, grant cuts and extra costs.
He said: “We are a small club and this is our one big event of the year. But the police have not given the race the priority it should have so we don’t yet have a permit to run the race, and the council have hit us with an estimated £1500 in costs - which is the total amount of profit we made last year.”
Jim was told by West Lothian Council that £1500 was required to cover road closures, and his £300 grant application for the Fun Run that he had last year, has been rejected. With prices already fixed and forms printed, it is too late to make changes for the event planned for Sunday, September 25.
Race director for the past four years, Jim added: “We cannot put prices up at this late stage and we can’t manage these extras - it’s finished and we have to cancel.
“We’re cheesed off - volunteers work very hard to organise this race. The town will suffer - it makes more profit from the race than us as people come from outside Linlithgow and spend money in cafes and bars.”
Jim contacted the police months ago to iron out problems but it will be August before a decision is made - too late for the organisers.
Linlithgow Sergeant Roderick Gillies said that extra traffic volumes meant that few roads could cope with events, however praiseworthy, without closure. He said: “Police have already allocated resources for this event should West Lothian Council grant permission to hold the event.”
This would have been the 10K’s 20th year in the town and it is consistently oversubscribed every year, as contestants are limited to 600 due to health and safety.
The 10K costs £14, but there are a lot of costs to come off that fee. The club have secured a £250 grant from the town centre management group to cover the cost of cones, but this will not save the race.
Provost Tom Kerr said: “I don’t think that the police and West Lothian Council appreciate the planning for this event takes places many months in advance, as do many other activities in the town. To leave agreements to two or three months beforehand does not allow organisers to place orders for the event.
“I am very disappointed that this has not been able to be processed more quickly and I hope that a resolution can be found as the loss of the 10K race would be a big loss to the town.”
A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We consider it appropriate that the costs incurred for additional provision of cones, barriers or signs are recovered from the organisers. The council has estimated a cost of £1500 on a direct charge basis.
“Other groups in West Lothian are asked to cover the costs of events of this scale, particularly when the organisers are making a profit.
“We have a responsibility to treat all groups fairly and consistently, and ensure that large events take place with the health and safety of participants and members of the public being our number one priority.
“No final decision will be made until the Licensing Committee meets in August. We are looking at options which would help reduce costs and, until then, we will continue to work with the organisers to help ensure that the event goes ahead.”