As most fellrunners will know, Brian Belfield of Staffs Moorlands died in the Buttermere Sailbeck race on 29th April. He was found at 9:45 the next morning, off the course on steep ground, and although I've not heard officially, my guess is he died of hypothermia as conditions were horrible in the night. The alarm was only raised after 8pm, meaning there was little chance of finding him in failing light with a 10 mile route to cover. The organisers had thought that all runners were home and dry, and it was only hours later that Brian's wife called police when he failed to return.
The Buttermere Sailbeck race is about the same length as the Fan y Big Horseshoe, which also crosses the area where Carol Matthews died in a relay race in 1991; but the same could happen in almost any race that crosses high ground when conditions are poor. So this has made us re-examine our plans for the Brecon Fans races. The key lesson is to be absolutely certain whether there are still any runners out on the course, i.e. that every race number that crossed the start line also crosses the finish line, or is otherwise accounted for.
We'll try to make the races as safe as possible without becoming too bureaucratic. But runners also need to play their part - be well prepared for the race (in fitness and knowledge of the route), carry the right kit, report to marshals if anything is wrong, read and listen to race instructions. Oh, and please don't cross the finish line more than once while having a warm-down!
Our thoughts go out to Brian Befield and his family, but also to the organisers of the race, who must be going through a difficult time.