Watch you don’t slip the light fantastic
ORGANISERS of the giant Speed of Light production on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh have been forced to tell runners they cannot wear wearing ordinary trainers, after concerns over participants’ safety.
Growing numbers of runners have posted messages on the event’s official Facebook page warning about the risks of slipping on the steep paths being used for the event unless specialist non-slip shoes are worn.
Speed of Light takes place after dark on Arthur’s Seat, with runners wearing special suits fitted with lights following a series of choreographed routes across the hill.
However, some of those who took part in rehearsals and the first performance on Thursday have warned that, without specialist fell-running shoes, participants are in danger of slipping or losing their footing, especially if the ground is wet.
The warnings have prompted NVA, the Glasgow-based arts organisation staging the event for the Edinburgh International Festival, to urge all runners to invest in specialist hill or trail shoes for their own safety.
That has caused confusion among some runners who claim they have been practising on the Arthur’s Seat route in trainers for several months.
However, NVA said it had been “strongly recommending” runners invest in special hill, trail or fell shoes in the various training packs and e-mails that have been issued.
Sports equipment stores across Edinburgh have reported a surge in purchases of gripped footwear.
Arpita Stott, an assistant at the Run and Become store in Queensferry Street, said: “We’ve had a lot of people coming in over the last couple of weeks looking for hill shoes. A lot of people who have signed up for the event seem to be either used to hill running or haven’t done any running at all before. We would definitely advise on getting proper hill shoes for anyone taking part in this.”
About 200 runners a night are taking part in Speed of Light, with an 800-strong audience holding light staffs being led up to the summit in groups of 100 at a time.
The event, which is expected to go on tour around the UK after its Edinburgh run, has been several years in the planning and is believed to be costing at least £1 million to stage.
One runner, Ciara Webb, posted a message on the Facebook site to say the messages for runners on what to wear had been “conflicting” and “confusing”. She wrote: “I already had trail shoes, however we were told at Monday’s technical rehearsal that those in regular shoes wouldn’t be allowed to run.
“Lots of chat that evening about it, as all training videos and information said trail or fell shoes were recommended but not compulsory.”
Another runner, Malcolm Campbell, said: “I did the Super Sunday event in ‘off road’ trainers – basically road shoes you can get wet. I fell three times, could easily have been hurt.”
Kirsty Ward said: “I was training in ‘normal’ running shoes on Arthur’s Seat up until a few weeks ago when I got a pair of fell runners. The difference was amazing, especially in the wet. If you wear regular running shoes and it is wet on the night you are up on those slopes trust me, it won’t be much fun. You’ll simply be concentrating on not sliding instead of the choreography.”
A spokeswoman for NVA said: “At the runner’s briefings, it was very strongly reiterated that we felt runners should wear off-road shoes to get the best experience on the hill, however, no one was turned away for wearing regular running shoes. Having said that, if we felt that a runner was unsuitably equipped to take part in the event, we would – for their safety and the safety of others – not allow them to participate.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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