The perils of wearing hi-vis: 10K race descends in to chaos as runners follow wrong cyclist

Runners in Newcastle race follow cyclist in mistake for race official

by Simon_MacMichael   November 13, 2012  

Hi-Viz cyclist © Simon MacMichael.jpg

Chaos engulfed a 10k race in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Sunday when hundreds of runners went the wrong way after following an unwitting cyclist who they assumed was one of the race officials.

Heaton Harriers, organisers of the Town Moor Memorial 10k, which had to be restarted as a result of the confusion, said in a statement published on its website after Sunday’s event:

As runners at todays event will be aware the race had to be restarted due to the lead runners taking an incorrect route as they approached the lake, as a result most athletes ran around 800m before they were called back to start the race again.

This was due to a member of the public entering the course on a bicycle just before the starting gun was sounded. The cyclist was dressed in fluorescent clothing and as the leading group of runners ran closer to him they mistook him to be a race official and mistakenly followed him to the right instead of carrying straight on.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will take steps in future events to ensure this does not happen again.

Race winner Ian Hudspith, aged 42 and from Morpeth told Chronicle Live afterwards: “I had not ran the race before so I just followed the leaders and lo and behold we were told by a marshall we were going the wrong way.

“When we eventually got back on track I was in about 50th place and well down on the leaders who had gone the right way.

"It was shortly after that it was decided to halt the race and start all over again, which was the sensible thing to do and I as far as I could gather everyone accepted the decision.

“It is quite a difficult course with all the twists and turns in Exhibition Park and I would rather they just ran two circuits of the Moor. If they did I do not think there would be any problems with competitors going the wrong way.”

The unknown cyclist was not available for comment so we shall never know how he or she felt about being followed by hundreds of runners on the Town Moor (which also has a well used permissive cycle path across it) on a Sunday morning.


20 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

This news item has already appeared on other site but due to bad journalism, have a go at a cyclist jingoism, etc, etc... it appears under various headlines, the best(?) of which reads "cyclist caused havoc" Angry


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [733 posts]
13th November 2012 - 13:34


Hilarious. I used to wear a yellow hi vis jacket but a few times people came up to me on the platform asking questions about trains as if I knew more than they did just because I wore hi vis. After I saw an article describing hi vis as wearing a banana I bought a red hi vis jacket instead. Since then I haven't been asked questions in the same way.

yarrump's picture

posted by yarrump [15 posts]
13th November 2012 - 13:47


perhaps the course should have been better signposted?

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
13th November 2012 - 13:54


I have found hi vis's top to be very useful at events or in crowds. You can push past everyone going "excuse me", they move straight out of the way.
They're fairly useless for improving your visibility when cycling though.


posted by rich22222 [153 posts]
13th November 2012 - 14:03


So many people (railway staff, Police, construction workers, AA men, Builders, Schoolchildren in walking trains) wear high-viz that it has lost most of it's effectiveness in making you stand out.

When I use to race (running) more on road and cross-country I would always check the course well before the start to avoid this kind of thing.

posted by thereverent [354 posts]
13th November 2012 - 15:16


I really feel like hi vis clothing is talked about way to much in relation to cycling safety. Bike lanes really remove the need for hi vis clothing completely.

new-to-cycling's picture

posted by new-to-cycling [47 posts]
13th November 2012 - 15:17


I just loved this one, still chuckling as I write.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
13th November 2012 - 16:04


new-to-cycling wrote:
I really feel like hi vis clothing is talked about way to much in relation to cycling safety. Bike lanes really remove the need for hi vis clothing completely.

Really?? ridden on a cycle superhighway much? but as a cyclist and a driver, I think it makes a real difference (especially that altura night-vision stuff - can spot anyone a mile off in that)

posted by chris75018 [101 posts]
13th November 2012 - 17:44


Whoever it was needs to get some turbo time in over winter - followed by lowly runners for 800k? For shame, I'd be too embarrassed to admit to that too, no wonder he hasn't come forward.

posted by Nick T [906 posts]
13th November 2012 - 23:14


I'm just curious how they'll stop this happening again. Taser perhaps?

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
14th November 2012 - 0:21


'lights really remove the need for hi vis clothing completely.'

posted by andyp [1371 posts]
14th November 2012 - 10:40


Nick T wrote:
Whoever it was needs to get some turbo time in over winter - followed by lowly runners for 800k? For shame, I'd be too embarrassed to admit to that too, no wonder he hasn't come forward.

Naah. Your average Geordie considers a 500 mile run to be a loosening up exercise.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
14th November 2012 - 13:25


I was out running on the hill at night and passed a load of Hash House Harriers. They all started following me - took me ages to get rid of them, some of them just wouldn't take no for an answer Smile

posted by stever [64 posts]
14th November 2012 - 14:26


Love it !!! Got to say I would be very upset if I could not burn a few runners off !

posted by Mixk40 [20 posts]
14th November 2012 - 16:12


Theyd not be the first competitors to rely completely on officials to lead the route....cyclists being the biggest group imho.

I ride as a marshall at races and yes, they follow you on diversions or when you need to pull off the route for some reason...blaming you on their not knowing where they are supposed to go.

I know of riders following colleagues who pulled off route for a nature break....which was just hilarious.

Sportives must have loads of this happening, signage not up to scratch and riders following riders...who live round the corner.

posted by Farky [186 posts]
14th November 2012 - 16:20


Pretty sure there's been cases of riders set to contest finale of big races (Grand Tour stage?) following motos off course at the deviation and missing out on the win... we've been scratching our heads here to try and remember an actual example... anyone?


Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9485 posts]
14th November 2012 - 16:53


Simon, I cannot remember precisely, but I am certain Robert Millar was done out of a mountain stage win for that very reason - can't remember which Grand Tour it was, though.

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [232 posts]
14th November 2012 - 17:17


1988 Tour De France Stage 14 to Guzet Neige.
Millar and Bouvatier followed a gendarme's signal a few hundred metres from the finish that was intended to signal the following team cars to divert prior to the finish. Ghirotto, some way behind, went the correct way and took the stage. It's all in the excellent book 'In Search of Robert Millar'.

posted by pwake [365 posts]
14th November 2012 - 23:15


Just shows hi viz works, sorry guys. If you want to be treated like tarmac, wear clothes that match it. Simples.

posted by pedalo [3 posts]
15th November 2012 - 8:46


In what way does this show hi vis "works"? I doubt they followed the cyclist because he or she was the only thing they could see.

posted by Nick T [906 posts]
15th November 2012 - 10:28