x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Zayed Half Marathon marred by disorganisation

I refer to the sport article Race running on empty (January 8). As a regular runner on the Corniche and having run a half marathon, I was excited about the race, but what I saw made me deeply disappointed and upset.

Readers complain that runners in the Zayed Half Marathon had to compete with moving vehicles and pedestrians on the Corniche.
Readers complain that runners in the Zayed Half Marathon had to compete with moving vehicles and pedestrians on the Corniche.

I refer to the sport article Race running on empty (January 8). As a regular runner on the Corniche and having run a half marathon, I was excited about the race, but what I saw made me deeply disappointed and upset. I'd like to applaud The National for highlighting the poor organisation and its impact on the runners. I was watching the race from the spot where the photograph on the Sport's front page was taken and was shocked to see the traffic reopened so quickly even though runners were still coming through.

This meant they had to dodge the traffic and bewildered drivers or switch to running along the pedestrian-unfriendly pavement. My anger rose as I watched the marshal struggle to stop people from crossing the runners' path and wondered how these people could be so inconsiderate. Many of them could see the runners coming but crossed the road in front of them anyway instead of waiting for a lull. Some probably didn't know there was a race on. It would have been fairer to everyone to hold the race early on a Friday morning to avoid traffic and thoughtless pedestrians. The event organisers should bring in advisers before taking another step. Daksha Bulsara, Abu Dhabi

The organisation of the running event was without doubt dreadful. You had marshals determining when events would start on the day. You had the "running of the bulls" when schoolchildren ran like hoodlums out across the roundabout clambering over fences and knocking over one another. At the 40 minute mark the police left the road and traffic commenced to flow, scaring participants with their reckless attitude. Some participants took short cuts down at the end of the Corniche.

There was no medical support on track. I witnessed a lady in deep distress at the 19 kilometre mark with no one to help her from the time of her knee injury that occurred at the 15 kilometre mark. Finally if this is an international event why then was the website only in Arabic and why were entries only open to the public from December 23? Abu Dhabi should look at the management of the Dubai marathon and other major events. Even the Abu Dhabi Striders, which is an amateur event, is run with professionalism through the streets of Abu Dhabi with marshals who know what they are doing. Steve Watson, Abu Dhabi

In reference to Change in smoking law brings applause, and shrugs (December 7), it is clear that separation of smokers from non-smokers combined with air exchange technology is a complete solution to this largely artificial problem. All it takes is for the regulating authorities to set the standards for indoor air quality on passive smoke, and the technology does the rest.

As to the annoyance of smoking, a compromise between smokers and non-smokers can be reached, through setting a quality standard and the use of modern ventilation technology. Air ventilation can easily create a comfortable environment that removes not just passive smoke, but also potentially serious contaminants that are independent from smoking Thomas Laprade, Canada

We have to agree that the city bus service is top class. This is the age of instant information, but when you Google into the portal - Traffic & Road Travel of Abu Dhabi - what you get is outdated stuff, updated to December 2008. The web is widely used in the UAE. The department should make its website ultra modern, matching its fleet of buses.   For example, when you click the Number 11 bus route a clear map should appear with the latest route denoting the major stops. Without this backup for passengers we are simply lost and much time is wasted. The maps should be out on the website before the bus actually plies the route and should mention the date and time the service starts. Name Withheld by Request

The standard of driving in the UAE is appalling and enforcement is even worse. The budget for traffic police should be slashed by 50 per cent and the shortfall made up from penalties through enforcement. Every day while commuting to Dubai I see horrendous driving skills that often leave me totally speechless and I include the traffic police in this. Their philosophy appears to be reactionary and only to accidents. There are no preventive actions being taken. If there has been a drop in deaths caused by traffic accidents, it cannot be attributed to any supposed "crackdown"; it is more likely due to luck.

Name Withheld by Request