Grump To The Beat

Kate asks:

“Do you know anything about Run to the Beat? I had a less than clear letter as an East Greenwich Resident a couple of months ago which rang alarm bells that we might be stranded on Sunday 27th, and looking at the map on the website I think this may be true.

I’m feeling distinctly grumpy about not being able to get out – and the letter sent home was so waffley it masked that we will hemmed in again. I love marathon day, but am I the only one who feels we shouldn’t have to put up with piss-poor imitations of the London Marathon? RttB’s community engagement is terrible – the info for residents page on the website is “coming soon”. When??? – the event is 10 days away and I seem to recall there was terrible moaning about the lack of communication last year.”

The Phantom replies:

Sounds as though you’re one of the residents whose leaflet, which was supposed to go through everyone’s door, ended up as a deliverer’s afternoon off. Apparently a fair few of them got ‘posted’ in the bin.

As it stands, you’re not missing anything by not having the leaflet. I have dutifully kept mine, but apart from the fact that it actually exists, it’s not much more helpful than last year.

Last year is indelibly printed on my mind. Chez Phantom had had weekend visitors. Lovely visitors, who I love very much. I must impress how much I love these guys. But their little bundle of joy was two years old at the time and, frankly, I was ready for them to go home. Actually, they were ready to go home too. Trouble was, they were stuck. Endless cups of tea, everything packed, bored two year old. Eek. Eventually we pounded the streets and actually found an emergency exit.

I really thought that after all the fuss last year, Run To The Beat would have made a bit more effort. But looking at this leaflet, I can’t see that much has changed – save that now we KNOW we can’t get out. Some areas DO have an emergency exit, albeit not marked on the map, requiring you to know the actual road numbers (btw last year was counter-intuitive – we took so long to find the exit because it required us going the ‘wrong way’…)

But several ‘zones,’ according to the punishingly small print, are advised to park their cars on a side street outside the area the night before so they can leave by a little exit (presumably pedestrian – not much fun if you have a pram or a wheelchair.) None of the exits are marked on the very basic “local access” map.

As to the other part of your question – bands – they’re listed here but I can’t find any map as to where you hear them play. I know that the council (especially our very own Mary Mills) have been working hard to try to keep the bands away from sensitive spots, but frankly I don’t think the bands are for the benefit of those who actually have to listen to them. Even if you want to, you’d have to burn some serious shoeleather to find them.

The resident’s info page (not worth linking to) now has two ‘links’ – one to the map of closures, the other to a map for runners – both of which appear to be emergency cut-and-paste jobs from a different part of the website. No other information is proffered.

I actually don’t have anything against the event itself. Personally, I’m happy to do a bit of living and let-living. I don’t mind too much about noisy bands one day a year (well – okay two, if you count the real Marathon) on an occasional basis. I don’t even mind road closures as long as there’s a properly marked and flagged-up map, where people can get out if they need to.

What I do mind is that Run To The Beat just don’t give a damn about where they’re running or who they’re inconveniencing – even after such negative responses last year.

As I say – I personally am okay about being mildly inconvenienced occasionally. It’s not as good as the Marathon, but that’s not really a reason to refuse it permission to happen (though the amount of disruption on the buses and the non-operation of the Woolwich Ferry is a bummer I wouldn’t want happening too often…) But I do mind that the people doing the inconveniencing don’t even acknowledge they are, and make no real effort address residents’ concerns and prevent some possibly serious issues.

Even looking at the leaflet now, I can’t quite work out how the hell I’d get out of my bit of ‘zone’.


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