Harriers forced to cancel borough’s biggest road race

Off track: the Croydon 10K field crossing the tram tracks soon after the start of the 2022 race. There will be no event in 2023

The Croydon 10K, the borough’s biggest annual road race, has been forced to cancel due to safety concerns over the course raised by Transport for London, causing doubts about whether it can ever be staged again.

It is the second of the borough’s two road running events to be cancelled in 2023. The Croydon Half-marathon, usually staged by Striders of Croydon each March as a build-up race before the London Marathon, was also cancelled this year due to similar issues with the transport authorities.

Both events used courses based on a hilly road loop around Lloyd Park which involves the whole field crossing tram tracks. TfL’s objections, raised now after many stagings of the running races without incident, are forcing the event organisers, Croydon Harriers, to seek a route elsewhere for future years.

But some fear it could be the end of the road altogether for the Croydon 10K, an event which was first staged in 1987 and at its peak attracted more than 1,000 runners.

Many road races which were established in the years of the “running boom” after the first London Marathon in 1981 quickly folded when organisers were confronted with meeting policing costs and bills for road closures. Even long-established road races, such as the Belgrave 20 or the Southern Road Relays at Wimbledon, were forced off the roads due to increasing traffic.

The 2023 Croydon 10K was due to take place on Sunday, October 22. Last year’s event, with more than 200 competitors crossing the finish line on Lloyd Park Avenue, was the first to be held for three years because of the covid pandemic.

Croydon Harriers have not published any statement on the club’s own website, but on Facebook they say, “It is with great sadness that we have been forced to cancel the Croydon 10K for 2023.

“We’ve been met with two major issues with regards to this year’s event. The first being that Croydon Tramlink has reviewed its policy of allowing runners to cross the tram tracks even if manned, which we have done over the last two decades.

Final run-in: Croydon Harriers have been forced to look for an alternative road race course. Pics: CH

“This means runners won’t be allowed to cross the tram tracks, which is an integral part of the course (runners cross the tracks three times during the race).

“The second issue is that Croydon Council won’t approve the road closure of Lloyd Park Avenue or Oaks Road due to tram engineering works taking place on the same day and both roads being used as road diversions.

“We are therefore left with no choice but to cancel the event. The Croydon Half-marathon, which uses a very similar course, has faced the same issues, and have also cancelled their race.

“We fully respect the decisions made by Croydon Tramlink and Croydon Council. Safety is paramount for all participants and we fully understand why these decisions have been taken. We also thank them for their support with this event over the years.”

Anyone who had already entered the race have been promised a full refund of their fees.

“With regards to the future, we will be forming a working group as soon as possible to investigate new courses in the borough.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Athletics, Croydon Harriers, Sport, Striders of Croydon, TfL, Tramlink and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Harriers forced to cancel borough’s biggest road race

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    There are issues with crossing tram lines and railway line. There always were.

    But they are not insurmountable and seeking guidance from the ORR and working the solution (with a good safety case) early should not be an issue for TfL?
    Tram engineering is a more difficult problem as the times that can take place are limited and moving them can be costly and disruptive to both passangers, other traffic and of detriment for a time to pedestrians and residents with increased pollution from excess traffic aloong with some un called for behaviours through frustration.

    I am sure with a bit of positivity and brainstorming from TfL and support from the Mayor Khan this can be returned again next year with slight route variations if required.

  2. Dave West says:

    There is clearly more to this. Tramlink regularly closes sections of the line for engineering works for weeks on end, yet after all these years it has decided that there are safety issues with suspending one small section for a maximum of 90 minutes twice a year (there are buses that will take people to Croydon during that period). I also struggle to see how Lloyd Park Avenue can be a road diversion for Tram works as it’s a cul-de-sac and goes nowhere! Unfortunately, it is another example of Croydon being out of step. Many boroughs now welcome events that encourage fitness and bring out the best in local residents up for a challenge. Even central London, once only closed for the London Marathon, now has numerous running and cycling events. On one of the rare days that he works for us rather than his own company, maybe our mayor could bring pressure to bear to either find a solution or offer an alternative? I won’t hold my breath!

  3. Hazel swain says:

    just tinker with the route … TFL spoiling the lives of the electorate AGAIN!!!!

  4. Phil Coales says:

    This is a huge shame for the borough.

    Both running clubs mentioned (Harriers and Striders) use the funds and publicity generated by these races to support loads of people in the area with coached sessions, competitions, and social running. Both events have the borough’s name in the title, and are comparatively cheap as running events, and well organised.

    Both clubs/events are more than capable of looking after the tram crossing aspect of the respective routes, and it seems sad that the Tramlink works/associated road diversions can’t be rescheduled, revised, or even slightly altered for a mere three hours on a Sunday morning…

    Anyway, hope a new route is found that doesn’t involve a tram crossing, and best of luck to the volunteers who will be trying to find them, on top of all the other efforts put in to run events like these.

Leave a Reply