The organiser of an Angus half marathon has hit out at Police Scotland over the number of costly road closures for small and medium-sized race events
Earlier this year the Ceres 8 race in Fife was cancelled by organisers after they were informed that four roads would have to be closed in the village.
Now Alan Lawson, the event organiser of Sunday’s Barry Buddon half marathon, has claimed that several other races are now under threat.
He said Scottish Athletics are in talks with Police Scotland over the issue.
Mr Lawson said: “One of the good things about the Barry Buddon half marathon is that there’s no traffic since it is held on Ministry of Defence roads rather than public roads.
“This is a topical issue in the Scottish running community as the police have been getting a bit heavy handed with some races and demanding road closures – which can be ruinously expensive to operate.
“This issue caused the recent cancellation of the long-running Ceres eight-mile road race, with other events also threatened.
“I have encouraged the top man of Scottish Athletics, Mark Munro, to get involved and hold talks with the police to try and get a more common sense approach for small/medium events.
“Indeed I was joking with him that Barry Buddon could be the last road race left in Scotland if over the top officialdom got out of control.”
Scottish Athletics said discussions were “on-going on this issue at an appropriate level”.
The spokesman added: “It is a concern for the Road Running and Cross Country Commission and they are involved, as are Scottish Athletics and Police Scotland.”
However, Police Scotland said their approach to road closures had not changed since the formation of Police Scotland in April 2013.
A police spokesperson said: “Police Scotland works closely with event organisers and other relevant partners to help them assess and plan a safe event.
“The safety of people attending an event is the responsibility of the organisers – police and other partners will work with them to suggest ways to ensure the safest possible event.
“This may include alternative routes which are safer and may not require road closures, or using appropriate stewards to implement traffic management plans.
“If road closures are required, temporary traffic restriction orders are applied for and administered by the local authority.
“If police attendance is necessary, we are required by the Scottish Police Authority to calculate the full cost recovery and will apply abatements if appropriate, for instance for charitable events.”
The Ceres 8 race, which was scheduled to be held on August 16, was called off by Fife Athletics Club last month after new rules meant the group was unable to afford the costs required to close local roads.
In a statement the club said: “New safety requirements from Fife Council and Police Scotland mean that the roads would have had to have been completely closed, involving significant costs for managing the closures on the day.
“There is uncertainty as to the extent to which other races will be affected in the future, given that many Fife AC races include some road component.”