New North Carolina Department of Transportation requirements for insurance and written support from the local government for road race events adds an extra step to the process of setting up the Ellerbe Marathon.
The Mangum Track Club requested that the county commissioners give written permission for two of its larger races in Richmond County — the 20th annual Boogie Races in June and the Ellerbe Marathon in March. The commissioners approved the race Monday at their public meeting.
The Ellerbe Marathon has not been insured at any point in the past 20-plus years, while the Boogie Races have always been insured according to a copy of an email from John Hutchinson, member of Mangum Track Club, that was provided to the commissioners.
The requirement for insurance and written permission is something new to the marathon, Hutchinson said. It only applies to special events that are held on North Carolina’s highway system.
“Interestingly enough I don’t believe it applies to trail races,” Hutchinson said.
The 24-hour race at Hinson Lake in Rockingham, conducted each September, will not need to comply with the new law, Hutchinson said. It’s not a state highway so it doesn’t need the approval unlike the Ellerbe Marathon.
“The city of Rockingham addressed it (the requirement from NCDOT) in late fall,” Hutchinson said. “It’s brand new. I don’t believe it affected any races last year, but it certainly does this year.”
The Ellerbe Marathon has been going on for 23 years, said Mark Long, director of the Ellerbe Marathon. This will be the first year it is required to obtain insurance.
Long believes it may hurt some small races, but it ultimately the Ellerbe Marathon has not be affected. This is contrary to what Long posted on the running club’s Facebook page in late December. There and then, Long wrote that the new requirement “greatly jeopardizes” future club events.
“We are going to see a lot of small local events like ours fade away,” Long wrote. “At this point in time, the Ellerbe Marathon is on the brink of being cancelled for 2014.”
That appears to no longer be the case. Instead, it seems that staging the events on public roadways will simply cost more.
“Cost-wise it was just an additional couple of hundred dollars for the day,” Long said.
Long has obtained insurance for the Ellerbe Marathon through USA Track and Field. The insurance protection covers only the race and not the club as a whole, Hutchinson said.
“The race will continue on like it always has,” Long said. “There are just some extra steps added to the process.”
Mangum Track Club wanted to be sure to go through all the proper steps for the races. In the past the organization has had a great working relationship with law enforcement officials and local officials.
“The races are along the lines of what the county is trying to promote,” Hutchinson said. “Outdoor activity to pull people into the county.”