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Discussion Forum - Events - Event Disqualifications

Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Sun 8th Jun 2014, 8:11
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Yes Memory Map do OS 1:25000. Here in East Yorks, if we have routes on Challenge Events necessitating multiple OS 1:25K, we allow Landranger as an alternative. By the way, in the experience of those of you who do many Challenge events and on those Events which do kit checks, is it allowed to use a GPS as an alternative to maps?
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Sat 7th Jun 2014, 18:02
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
Some great ideas. Thanks. Saves a fortune I bet!
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Fri 6th Jun 2014, 23:15
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
This is topic drift ....
Author: Mark Garratt
Posted: Fri 6th Jun 2014, 21:44
Joined: 2016
Local Group: Heart of England
Personally you can't beat proper os 1.25.000" maps do memory map run in this format I always thought it was 1.50.0000
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Fri 6th Jun 2014, 21:10
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Probably cheaper and less hassle to get Memory Map or Tracklogs for your pc and print a route off them. Who wants to go to the library, borrow maps copy etc then take them back
Author: Mark Garratt
Posted: Fri 6th Jun 2014, 10:41
Joined: 2016
Local Group: Heart of England
Rebecca this is what I do . if I need an OS Explorer map that I now im not going to use again I borrow them from the library. then I photograph each section of the route ( come out very clear with the new smartphones ) then print of each section (6X4 to save weight ) mark the route on them and laminate or put in a waterproof pouch depending how severe the forcast is . Very cheap and very effective which ive used on the camel teign 100 ,sussex stride, run to the castle ultra and the severn path ultra . thought id share my idea
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Thu 5th Jun 2014, 8:50
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Rebecca, I subscribe to OS Getamap at about £15 year. Print off as many pages of a route as you want. It isn't perfect but a far cheaper option - presuming you now the route before the start.
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Thu 5th Jun 2014, 8:09
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
another question! I often complete events with my partner. Some events require 4 maps. We always stick together, but as there is a kit check on some of them I have ended up having to buy a set of maps for me and a set of maps for him which is frustrating given that he wouldn't carry on on his own if I pulled out. At up to £7.99 per map, this means I have had to spend an extra £31.96 just to comply with the kit check and ensure we both have a map, and I am then left with 2 copies of the maps to store at home. Should kit checks be more flexible if you are walking as part of a group?
Author: Nic Arb
Posted: Wed 4th Jun 2014, 19:55
Joined: 2005
Local Group: Kent
To Michael Jones
>> Nic - yes, that was indeed the event I was referring to. Were you at the checkpoint? <<
I was and we must have shared the same rescue car. See Strider
Author: Mark Garratt
Posted: Wed 4th Jun 2014, 19:54
Joined: 2016
Local Group: Heart of England
Rules are rules but to be fair the 100 kit requirements can be carried in a small backpack and if you choose kit wisely they can be quite light . I managed to fit everthing into a 10 litre ultra lite rucksack last year at the camel Teign . I did an 100k ultra last weekend and it was a nice day but you had to carry the required kit or you would be not allowed to start
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Wed 4th Jun 2014, 12:47
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Playing Devils's Advocate here, some thoughts.

If there is a compulsory kit check, then there has to be minimum kit, who sets this list?

Should the LDWA have a set minimum kit that covers everything, taking into account the diversity of events and entrants, is this feasible, counter productive (put people of entering), or very necessary?

If the RO (registered organiser) sets the kit list for his event is he then personally responsible for any mishaps that are later shown to have been caused by lack of kit.
For Instance: Mr X died on the 100 from hypothermia, but would have been saved on time if he had a hat and gloves with him, which was not mentioned on the kit list supplied by the RO, therefore is David personally culpable rather than the LDWA organisation?

Protection of RO's against any claims of negligence has to be paramount to the organisation, otherwise who wants to be an RO with even the outside chance of a claim against them (it has happened in running events).

Is there another way forward whereby the individual is solely responsible for whatever kit they carry, but the event still complies with its "Duty of Care"?

I should add that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in this subject and am quite happy to do my own thing, but the next generation need to be up to speed on it all and feel secure in organising events for the future of the LDWA. I'm sure Graham will be reading your thoughts with interest and recognise some of the points I've made. Matt.
Author: Michael Jones
Posted: Wed 4th Jun 2014, 0:28
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Heart of England
Nic - yes, that was indeed the event I was referring to. Were you at the checkpoint?

As to kit - I was surprised on one event to have someone comment on the size of my backpack, wondering how I could still walk carrying all that! I take a 35 litre pack as standard on challenge walks, because I find that's the minimum necessary to hold all the kit listed. I've seen entrants on some challenges (not the Three Rings of Shap!) with nothing more than a small waist pack - probably runners aiming to carry as little as possible to keep their time down. Even allowing for the fact that an event which can be completed entirely within daylight hours will require less kit than one which involves at least one full night's walking, that amount seems inadequate for any sort of emergency situation and would fail even the most cursory check. Wearing shorts and T-shirt and carrying no extra clothing shows a level of trust in British weather that it does not always deserve!

I have never been asked to undergo a kit check on an event, but would be happy to do so if the organisers felt it necessary.
Author: Richard Plumley
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 21:58
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Bristol & West
The reason I asked David Morgan about kit check on 19 may was it to be normal LDWA type or Brecon Mountain Rescue full kit check is if any of you have done any of the mountain rescue organised walks in this area you are subjected to a full kit check before you pick up your tally card and if found without any kit later instant dismissal no ifs no buts,if anybody needed to be rescued from coity mountain it would have been Brecon Mountain Rescue people and I am sure they would not have been very impressed to find the flagship LDWA event with parcipitants without the right safety kit on their mountains ,
Author: Ian Sykes
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 19:35
Joined: 1986
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Re mushed up route description, replacements where available at checkpoint 9a from around 5am Sunday.

Reading this and with words like "my lawyer, police, firing line, court, coroner" must be a little upsetting to the hundred or so volunteers from all over the country who turn up and help the host group each year. When I first heard about the disqualifications in the early hours of Sunday morning my first thoughts where "thank god a group finally had the balls to do it". But this is not the first time a LDWA event have done this. Who can forget the Wheeldale Tandem when around 15 failed the kit check at 18 miles and where pulled out. There was another one in Yorkshire many years ago but best not go into that one. I won't even mention The Fellsmen Kitchecks.

Who on here can honestly say that they have not broken the odd rule or two, but the Hundred is different. Only experienced walkers/runners can enter and should be trusted to carry all the kit stated. I'm sure 99% do just that, it's the 1% who spoils it for the rest of us like always.

I'm only to pleased to have done my challenge walking when it was still fun and words like "risk assessment" was unheard of. After all I'm a adult doing something I enjoy and I can do my own risk assessment thankyou very much.
Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 18:19
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
Simon P,
interesting points & stories from the event.
Range of equipment was very large: from the latest gear to an old hoodless golfing coat which was obviously not at all waterproof (with a very wet wearer).
Have a think about my point of 'one failed piece of kit checked may expose a whole raft of other failures'. I think a full check would soon expose good reasons for not allowing continuation. Think 'mushed up route description', alone.
John Pennifold
Author: Simon Pipe
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 16:22
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Heart of England
Please could contributors moderate their descriptions of the people who were disqualified? I personally have no grounds at all for assuming they were cheating. In particular, I am clear that it is wrong to call people thieves for accepting food that they have paid for.

John P lists four entirely sound reasons why people might have failed the kit check, including inexperience. I'd like to suggest a fifth: experience. People who have done quite a few hundreds might easily have assumed the kit was the same as in previous years. Yes, that's a failure to read the rules carefully enough, but a key point of health and safety is trying to understand what genuine mistakes and oversights might arise. If one were to say there was a 1% risk of someone not noticing the kit list had changed, that would translate as five people who were going to make a mistake.

Contributors might say the warnings were clear. They weren't clear to me: I must have read them, but they failed to register amid the welter of other information that came through (I was also completing work on a postgrad qualification in the days before the event). In future, please, could any unusual instructions or rules that might result in disqualification be the subject of their own alerts, not bundled up with other information?

I did have a survival bag, but that was partly because my inexperience (this was my second hundred) meant that I was nervously, stressfully obsessive in my preparation. But what actually alerted me to my initial failure to spot the rule was a forum post that queried it. To the person who posted it: thank you, thank you, thank you. I heard no announcement at the start, by the way.

Disqualification for a serious but genuine mistake might well be very upsetting for a walker who might have put in a lot of time and money, and mental preparation, getting ready for a highlight of the year. I can imagine they might be devastated. I'm sure the LDWA would wish to take action to avoid anyone suffering that, if it simply meant making warnings as clear as possible.

And as for the suggestion that disqualification might show up in the results, for the rest of us to gloat at in perpetuity… I am certain the LDWA has more humanity than that.

I was very glad to read David Morgan's contribution to this debate. It was utterly reasonable, and he made his points without the need to cause further hurt to fellow walkers who might well have been pretty upset about the situation. And I'm quite clear it would have been safer to give food and shelter to disqualified walkers than to deny it to them, and run the risk of them succumbing to entirely different dangers. I think some coroners might well take a dim view of anyone who withheld food THAT HAD BEEN PAID FOR in such conditions. But other points about safety and liability are well made.

A compromise might be to say, in future, that people without a survival bag should only be allowed to continue if another walker was willing to accompany them. Probably unworkable - but food for thought? And if it meant two people sharing a survival bag - isn't that actually good practice, for hypothermia? (I should explain that I'm 5'3" and weigh less than 8.5 stone… you can get three of me in a survival bag).

I was mildly surprised by the lack of kit checks when I came to the LDWA, but reasoned that the organisers of major events would assume that entrants would be experienced walkers who knew what they were doing. This year's hundred showed me that I was wrong in this. One walker I met was cold and wet and had no dry clothes to change into, because his spare jumper (T shirt, actually), wasn't in a dry bag. He hoped the night would be warm. There were good reasons why he might not have understood what conditions would be like, and he acknowledged his inexperience. I suggest that lack of warm, dry clothing would be at least as big a safety issue as lack of a survival bag.
Author: Nic Arb
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 11:12
Joined: 2005
Local Group: Kent
>> On another challenge <<
Would it be the 3 Rings of Shap 2012, by any chance?
Author: Michael Jones
Posted: Tue 3rd Jun 2014, 0:24
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Heart of England
Perhaps I can throw in my thoughts, as someone who once continued a challenge event after being disqualified - in my case it was not for inadequate kit, but for arriving at a checkpoint after the stipulated closing time. The marshal warned me and the other walker who was with me that if we chose to continue, it would be at our own risk and the organisers would not be responsible for any accident. Given the circumstances (we were intending to stick together; we were both feeling fine physically; it was only 9 miles to the finish, with no hills or other major obstacles; it was still daylight, and would not get dark until we were close to the finish; the weather was fine etc.), we judged that the risk involved in continuing independently was minimal, although at our current rate we wouldn't finish until an hour after the official end of the event, by which time everyone would have packed up and gone home. As it happened, we knocked off the last few miles much faster than anticipated and reached the finish only 20 minutes after the cut-off, at which time the organisers were still clearing up; since we'd got there in one piece there were no concerns over liability and they were happy to give us certificates, for which we were duly grateful.

Being a rather slow walker, I'm often very close to checkpoint cut-off times, and there have been two other occasions when I've been disqualified for overstepping a time limit. In contrast to the first instance, those were both in the middle of the night and I was by myself, so continuing independently would have been a major risk and I was more than happy to accept the lift back to the start instead. On another challenge, when I had made my own decision to retire after injuring an ankle, there was another walker at the checkpoint who had hypothermia. She had initially also decided to retire, but after a hot drink she claimed to be feeling much better and wanted to continue. It was six miles to the next checkpoint, cold and raining heavily, and it took all the marshals' and my own efforts to convince her that she would be running a very serious risk of killing herself by carrying on in those conditions when she was already hypothermic. Fortunately she relented.

So whatever the reason for disqualification - inadequate kit, slowness or being physically unfit to continue - organisers cannot actually restrain any individual from walking wherever it's legal to do so, but can certainly make it clear to him/her that he/she is no longer part of the event and is solely liable for his/her own actions if he/she chooses to continue, and I'd imagine that by so doing they would absolve themselves of any responsibility if an accident were to occur. It would be easy enough to insert such a disclaimer into the event rules. Further thought: some challenge events cross land which is not normally a public right of way, but to which access is granted solely for the day of the event; such access is presumably granted by the landowner directly to the LDWA, to apply to event participants only - so anyone who enters such land after being disqualified could potentially be committing trespass.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 22:37
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
I'm glad that this topic has arisen, since it's been clear, in my relatively limited experience of LDWA challenge events compared to many others, that *some* participants could not have been carrying all of the kit stated to be compulsory in the event rules. Even given the advent of very lightweight and compact gear (my new waterproof overtrousers come with a 15cm-square bag and weigh less than 300gm), it just isn't possible to get all of this year's (the same as or very similar to the last three's) hundred kit list into a rucksack as small as *some* which I have seen.

Let's remind ourselves of what was on the South Wales hundred list:

* Route Description [visible, carried by hand].
* Maps as specified below [on the main-event-rules webpage].
* A full set of waterproofs [most people wore the top half, at least].
* Sweater/fleece [I carried mine and wore the goretex].
* Trousers to be carried if shorts are worn [I carried mine, wore shorts with overtrousers].
* Compass and whistle [I always have both; one of the disqualified six had no compass].
* A working torch with spare batteries and bulb if not an LED device [headtorch always visible at night].
* Adequate survival bag. Space blankets are NOT accepted [mine lives at the bottom of my rucksack].
* First Aid kit, which at a minimum must include plasters, adhesive dressing, antiseptic wipes, fixation tape and low adherent dressing [I was out of wipes but had the rest].
* A cup or mug (none will be provided on route) [usually visible].
* Emergency food and drink [in my case, dried fruit and protein bars plus half a flask and/or platypus].
* Suitable footwear in good condition to be worn [mine were dry on the inside till I fell in a stream!]
* Reflective clothing or reflective markers on rucksacks/backpacks. These must be visible when walking at night [my rucksack's waterproof outer is visible but I had it over my reflective bands]
* Money/Debit/Credit card or mobile phone for emergency use [my money got wet, mobile was in zip-bag]

It appears that most of the six disqualified didn't have an adequate survival bag, and one had no compass. Though, in the awful conditions of this year's hundred, most people were wearing rather than carrying their waterproofs, it's doubtful (to say the least) that *some* of the participants were carrying *all* of the above - it's more than most of us take on day walks.

This year's kit checks were publicised beforehand and announced on the day, and the above list was on the event website. It's the first time in the five challenge events that I've done that there has been even a partial check (here for compass and survival bag), the others relying on a signed declaration at registration. If that's been the pattern in prior years, then this is a wake-up call for challenge event organisers to start carrying out full kit checks. Whether they are universal or spot-checks, at or during the event, and which items are deemed to result in disqualification, may be open to discussion; but it is clear, in my view, that proper checks need to be done at *some* point for every challenge event.

In that respect, the LDWA approach to compulsory kit is lacking compared to the one charity endurance walk event which I fully support, the Oxfam's Trailtrekker 100Km. On that event (the sixth of which took place just two days ago), there have always been kit checks, in later years at the first checkpoint before dark rather than at registration; it's also a team event in which singletons or pairs are not allowed. It's what got me into hundreds.

It's an open question as to how many others in the South Wales hundred would have been disqualified had full kit checks been done. Yes they would take more time and resources (mine was under an umbrella; I hear that later it moved to the checkpoint tent). But please let's do them *and* make it clear that disqualification means more than just being allowed to continue without a certificate - retirerers and those timed-out are transported off the route, so - at least - should that happen for those who put their own safety and that of others at risk.

If the result of full kit checks is a drop in income due to fewer participants, that's a shame, but in my view it's a price worth paying to make LDWA hundreds into the best in the country. At the moment, they're only second best.

Author: Graham Breeze
Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 19:36
Joined: 2009
Local Group: West Yorkshire
It has been noted below that the Fell Runners Association has recently been re-addressing the issue of “kit”, prompted in part by the death of a runner from hypothermia in a race in 2012.

There are many differences between LDWA and FRA events. The most obvious is that FRA events are races (up to around 30 miles) and so runners naturally wish to carry the minimum extra weight.

However I was surprised to read David Morgan’s “We took advice on what we should do should someone fail the kit check and were advised that we cannot physically remove someone from the event”. Under FRA Rules for Race Organisers the miscreant would not have been allowed to start. If an entrant disregarded any such instruction the FRA would apply its disciplinary process, almost certainly leading to a ban from all FRA events for, say, 6-12 months; and their name would be published on the FRA website and in its journal.

This firm stance is taken not only to sanction the miscreant but also to send a message to the rest of the fell running community that “carrying the specified kit matters”, although I should make it clear that “kit” was NOT an issue in the case of the 2012 fatality.

I recognise that such a hard line may not be appropriate for LDWA events but nothing concentrates the mind so much as appearing on the witness stand before a Coroner defending one’s organisation whilst facing the bereaved family of a dead competitor.

In the case of the Valleys 100, had one of the miscreants died, a Coroner might have concluded that the only distinction the Valleys 100 organisers made between those who complied with the kit requirement and those who did not was a paper certificate.

I shall follow the debate with interest.
Author: Andrew Todd
Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 18:43
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Wiltshire
I would take the view that there is only one reason why entrants carry a mandatory level of emergency kit. The risk assessment for the event has identified a risk which requires mitigating. The kit is the mitigation.

Why was a kit check undertaken. Because the risk assessment concluded that a significant number of entrants may not be mitigating the risk by not carrying the necessary minimum kit,. The mitigation for this was I guess 1) to say there will be a kit check 2) to do a kit check

If someone failed that risk mitigation then the mitigation is no longer in existence. The question is then what to do at that point, the obvious option is to remove the risk by disqualification/retirement. The mitigation here for the risk is to STOP, removing the risk from the event.

One option would be to allow (as was done) an entrant to continue, but not to recognize their achievement. The question at this point would be what would be the legal implications on the organizers of such a decision. The risk is still there, the assessment concluded it needed mitigating, the mitigation is not met.

I would suggest that if the organizers facilitate such a person then any harm that occurred would be a reasonable foreseeable result of the organizers conduct. I would also assert that facilitating would include supplying food/water/checkpoints/etc when means that the person could get themselves into a situation which they would not do without that facilitation. It is also well established in law that someone cannot sign away their rights.

Of course at no point can the organizers force anyone to stop doing a legal activity. The entrant could continue, but without facilitation I would suggest that liability to the organizers would be minimal. Yes there would still be a residual liability. What would be the impact of such a person entering a checkpoint and taking food - theft)

Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 13:18
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
My six penneth! I agree with David that you could not physically remove them from the event, and to deny them food and water at the checkpoints would be petty given that they have paid their entry to include the sustainance, and also dangerous. I think the embarrassment of being disqualified (did this show on the results?) the lack of a certificate and general shame would be punishment enough. It was made very clear that there would be kit checks so to not have the essential kit was an unecessary risk.
I must admit (I have made this point before) I am not a fan of kit checks prefering to sign a declaration at the start to say that I am carrying all the kit, and working in the NHS I am fed up with health and safety overload which takes any responsibility away from the individual. I know signing a declaration doesn't mean people will be honest, but a kit check makes me feel about 10 years old and I can't help my hackles rising when I am asked to rifle though my rucksack to find items to 'prove' I am not a liar, but having said that, I signed up to this 100 knowing there would be a kit check and made the effort to source a lightweight emergency bag, and all the other items on the essential list and there was no real excuse for people not to have the correct stuff.
Author: David Morgan
Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 9:20
Joined: 1994
Local Group: South Wales
As event organiser I will take responsibility for the decision that was made with regards to the disqualification of some entrants for failing the kit check, but then being allowed to continue. I am posting, not because I am trying to justify my decision, but because I think that there are issues to address and this is the place to debate the pertinent issues.

We took advice on what we should do should someone fail the kit check and were advised that we cannot physically remove someone from the event. Because some people (not all) decided to continue, what do we do as organisers?
We removed the entrants' tallies and told them that they were now disqualified from the event. They were told that they would not receive a certificate and that if they continued, they did so at their own risk.

Now, if a person knows they've been disqualified and continues to walk the event, what do we do as organisers. Do we employ 'bouncers' to stop them going into checkpoints? Do we continue to tell them they're disqualified?

Well, we did the latter, but as they're still walking our route, and if something were to happen to them, could we as human beings live with ourselves should they come to harm. As stated above, they were told that the organisers no longer had any responsibility for them, but we allowed them to have food as we didn't want them to become a statistic. It seems that this is the area of contention, and I fully appreciate the observations that have been outlined.

The issues you raise are completely pertinent and I think the NEC need to review the scenario that developed based on advice given to us. To be perfectly frank, the kit check has become a non entity in recent years. I've been on events where a kit check is required at the start (Reservoir Roundabout) and seen entrants then go back to their cars and off load the heavy stuff knowing they won't be checked.
At least we had a kit check and asked for the two most sensible items that would
A. Save your life.
B. Get you off the hill.

Now, what happens in the future of our wonderful event will be someone else's decision, but one thing is for sure. Clear guidelines on what organisers should do is required as if the organisation is to be legally liable for entrants after their disqualification as outlined below, then what is the point of disqualifying someone?

And, these decisions need to be included in the event rules so that all taking part are fully aware of what might happen should they fail the kit check.

One thing is for sure, I am pleased that this debate has commenced, as kit checks and subsequent disqualification appears to have been side stepped in recent years. Because our event was the first for a long time to have been a mountainous route that was exposed to and did suffer from horrendous weather, we knew we had to ask the question of entrants. The aftermath was always unclear as tighter guidance is needed.

David Morgan
Valleys 100
Author: Nick Ford
Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 23:51
Joined: 1996
Local Group: The Irregulars
Over many years & many events, I have often come across individuals, where it is obvious that they are not carrying the kit required for the event. I am always uneasy with this. Not just because, should something happens to them, they do not have the kit to help themselves, but someone then has to use the kit that they are carrying, which puts them at risk as well. Not wearing/carrying appropriate clothing, food, water, equipment to get you safely around the event is stupid & selfish. Disqualified, as its meaning denotes: eliminated, barred, prohibited, should have meant 'your out'.
Author: Andrew Todd
Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 21:13
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Wiltshire
The answer to the question in the end is down to how you would justify the decision in a coroners court and/or a crown court.

If the decision is to disqualify someone because they are not carrying the minimum kit then I would suggest that it would be difficult for an event organizer to justify in a court continuing to support them. I do not believe that a court would see any difference between official and unofficial support, and may take a far more dim view of unofficial support.

I would suggest that the minimum that would be expected by a court, when reviewing the decision to continue to support someone without the minimum kit, would be an entrant specific risk assessment. That risk assessment would need to be documented, and I would suggest specific to the individual entrant.

Even if an incident occurred with a compliant entrant, I would suggest that lawyers may well use the handling of entrants without the minimum kit as evidence of the risk management within the event,
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 13:55
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Any thoughts on safety and kit are opening a big can of worms, the fell running community are currently undergoing some major angst on how to proceed. This is a link to their website and a safety discussion, if you fancy reading through 500 argumentative posts!!

After disqualification you can't really stop anyone walking on, so it depends what they were told. "You are disqualified, we are taking your card but if you chose to continue it's up to you", would seem the most likely. Whether the checkpoints don't let them through the door or continue to feed and water them unofficially is another matter.
Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 12:31
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
I notice with interest that six people were disqualified from The Valleys Hundred for not carrying survival bags yet were allowed to continue
"with the permission of the Organisers". This seems a little bizarre to me, not least because allowing continuation would seem to move responsibility
and liability from the individuals to the organisers.
It seems to me that event rules are implicitly intended to protect individuals from themselves and the organisers from the participants. After all,
the biggest risk to a person is themselves, not external influences. By having an obligatory kit list, the organisers are extending a duty of care
to participants because it's implicitly acknowledged that participants aren't able to plan for themselves. By so doing, the organisers are
protecting themselves because they can demonstate that they understand the shortcomings of participants. It's all a matter of 'risk'.
So the kit list is a minimum amount of equipment designed to protect me as a participant, from myself for lack of preparation, training, walking
skills and integrity. Should I set off on an event without some of the equipment, what does that say about me? I'm either forgetful, naive, inexperienced
or deceitful.
So what is the purpose of a kit check and what should be the consequences of failing one? First guess would be that it's designed to catch those
who are trying to cut corners by deliberately carrying less weight. Second guess would be to catch the forgetful or inexperienced. There are probably
others. Having been caught without some mandatory kit, what should be the consequences? Anybody's who's seen 'Police Interceptors' and such, will
know that the first misdemeanour is often a marker for a much more serious one. So maybe one failure should lead to a full check.
A failed kit check exposes my lack of preparation, training, walking skills and possibly my integrity. As it's impossible to judge which is the the case
it would seem to me that disqualification is completely appropriate. To protect me from myself, I should be removed from the event and not allowed to
continue. Likewise, my removal demonstrates the organisers' duty of care to me as a participant.
However, in the above case (and others that I heard of), such people were allowed to continue with the only tarif being that they don't receive a
certificate at the end. I could understand it if such particiants were to be given whatever equipment that they lack before they continue, but to
allow them on their way in the knowledge that they are potentially at risk suddenly destroys that duty of care. Suddenly the organisers or maybe just
the marshal in question, are now in the firing line should a mishap occur.
Suppose that I have been disqualified but am allowed to continue, and I lack survival bag, map and route description. Suppose that an hour later I
get lost and die huddled against a fence in the storm. First question my lawyer will ask is "Who allowed this man, knowing that he lacked basic survival
equipment, to continue on the walk?" Need I say more? Views anybody?

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