Round the Island Time Trial runners face e-mail threats

Event organisers warn racers of e-mail saying route markings may be tampered with

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 4:43am

The organisers of this Sunday's Round the Island Time Trial have warned of a "potentially life-threatening" risk to runners in the 65 kilometre race, after receiving an e-mail from a group who said they may sabotage the painted blue dots that mark the route.

"The e-mailed threats have come from someone using the name of [70s musician] 'Peter Frampton', which probably puts an age to him," said Dave Smith, the event organiser.

"It seems that the only complaint this group has is the marking of the course, but we always use water-soluble paint, which disappears after a few good rains."

Smith said the group leader had advised him that they had taken pictures of the blue dots and had reported the matter to the Hong Kong police. The group said they would initiate legal proceedings against the organising club, Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong.

According to Smith, the group has threatened to erase the markings, or to add others that could lead the runners off course, and into potential danger.

"I have explained to this group that by removing the blue dots or by adding others that might lead some runners to take the wrong route. It could be potentially life-threatening as some runners might then miss a feed station or a first aid point," added Smith.

"This is a physically demanding event, which has been staged every year for well over 20 years. We have received all necessary permits from departments to hold the event and we have stated on those documents that the route is marked with blue dots, so the police already know this.

"Apparently someone tampered with the markings on the trails of the Mountain Marathon Series through the winter months by removing marker flags which help the runners to stay on the correct course.

"Given the nature of the trails that we and other event organisers use, the potential for injury or even death if runners are led away from the correct route is all too real."