To the Editor:
After some thought, I have decided to speak out on the subject of locally-held races of any stripe. I feel that some poorly controlled races are a disaster in the making.
On a Sunday – Sept. 22 – I was driving from my home in North Aurora, north on Route 31, to meet a friend for breakfast at Egg Harbor Cafe in Geneva. The chaos I encountered north of Fabyan Parkway left me very concerned for the safety of marathoners.
From the entrance to Fabyan, off of Route 31, and on north to the entrance to the Kane County Government Center at the bottom of Third Street in Geneva, the curb-side northbound lane was coned off from the inside lane. This was done in an attempt to corral a host of runners, who were often so jam-packed into that narrow lane that many were overflowing into traffic, which, fortunately, was light. I observed runners, who were attempting to pass the herd, run out into my open lane, and one man attempted to leap over a cone, knocking it over and tripping. I fully expected him to fall into my lane, but he somehow managed to keep his feet, and sprinted ahead in my lane, finally returning to the lane meant for runners.
The difficulties for north-bound motorists were compounded by dozens of bicyclists pedaling south on the south-flowing lanes, impeding motorists heading south, and as these motorists attempted to bypass the bicycles, they often moved into my north-bound lane, forcing me to slow or stop to avoid a sideswipe, or a front-end collision. This was not unexpected, my observations being that few motorists seem inclined to respect the requirement of remaining in their lane.
I must admit I have never seen such a potential for disaster with any type of footrace. No amount of planning can foresee every instance of conflict, but hosting so many, in such a short space of time, surely must be avoided in the future. How anyone escaped injury, considering what I observed, is – in my view – an absolute miracle. And nowhere along that treacherous length did I observe any type of management, except for those cones, several of which were knocked down.