Run Jurassic Update
by Lucy Culkin, Head of Operations
At this time of the year, our communications start to focus on the ‘Power of Nature’. In the October 2018 edition of Time to Inspire, I wrote an article which described how the dramatic storms, rockfalls and landslides witnessed on the Jurassic Coast shape natural erosion and make our coast the unique, rugged place of Outstanding Universal Value we experience today and ultimately, provides us with the designation of England’s only Natural World Heritage Site.
In this same article, I told our audiences about the real impact the Power of Nature can have on homes, local communities and businesses…and so one year later, this theory was proven when the Power of Nature put a halt on day two of the first Run Jurassic event.
In case you aren’t aware, ‘Run Jurassic’ is a new partnership between the Jurassic Coast Trust and White Star Running. We recognise that many people enjoy the coast for physical and mental well-being. This event was created for everyone of all abilities and ages to experience the adventure and freedom that comes with running and walking on this magnificent coast.
White Star Running, a Jurassic Coast Trust Business Partner, have a real passion and commitment to conservation of the coast. As part of our partnership with them, we were able to offer dedicated charity places to runners. In doing so, many participants donated and fundraised to support our ongoing protection, conservation and public engagement activities.
But firstly, let’s review the event that did go ahead: The Ultra and Marathon races, which launched the inaugural Run Jurassic weekend. Following months of meticulous planning, walking of routes, training of volunteers and marshals and liaising with multiple land-owners, White Star Running set off over 500 runners on either a 31 or 26.5-mile journey from Lulworth or Osmington Mills to Freshwater Beach Holiday Park. Participants ran across rolling hills, through woodland and over beach shingle. The atmosphere was electric with every runner excited to try out this new race and see what it had to offer.
I was lucky enough to run (and survive!) the marathon and was proud to represent the partnership between the Jurassic Coast Trust and White Star Running. As I was running in my solitude, I couldn’t help but recognise how the race metaphorically mirrored the World Heritage Site itself: Brutal, Beautiful, Technical and Tough.
And so, disappointingly, to me and over 800 runners, we awoke this morning to discover that the half marathon, 10km and children’s races had to be cancelled.
The team on site at Freshwater Holiday Park had been weather watching all night. The forecast had been that the storm would subside from 3am, however overnight, conditions became dangerous at West Bay with no sign of the storm weakening; not only did the Site infrastructure quite literally collapse, the wind was at such a strength that being at any height, and particularly on a coastal path, would have potentially been life threatening. It is for this reason; the Race Director took the decision to cancel; a decision that we at the Jurassic Coast Trust wholeheartedly support and agree with.
The Jurassic Coast Trust team and I were on site early and saw first-hand the damage the storm had caused. With this information, the only decision that could be taken was in the interest of the runners’ safety.
So, on this occasion the Power of Nature won the day! However, we have already started to consider what will happen next year. For the runners who were part of team ‘JCT’ we have emailed you separately to provide options for completing your races and I know that Andy and his team at White Star Running will be doing the same in the coming days.
Thank you to all the runners who took part yesterday, we hope your legs are recovering well (that shingle!).
A very big thank you to our other business partners who helped to support the races out on the course and on site at Freshwater; and to those who couldn’t run today, we hope to see you very soon and thank you for your understanding.
For more information about our work and how you can help support us to protect the Jurassic Coast, please visit our Membership page.