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.
“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.”
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