2011 Race Postponed
Last Post 9/16/2011 10:41 AM by BOB. 1 Replies.
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liffey
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8/24/2011 3:18 PM
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As you may know the 2011 Liffey Descent has been postponed.

I ask the question "why?". Is it really because of a severe lack of water or are there other reasons. In the past there have been many occasions when there was a severe shortage of water but the race managed to run successfully. The website of Canoeing Ireland tells us "... this has left the ICU with a difficult decision – to run the event on 10th September as originally planned but without a flood or to postpone it until early October when there will be a greater possibility of the traditional Liffey Descent flood. ...". Is this really the case and if so how can the WWKC Lower Liffey Marathon Race be run on the original Liffey Descent date. "The WWKC Lower Liffey Marathon Race will take place on Saturday the 10th Sept."

If the postponment is due to a lack of water can someone please tell me where the water is going to come from just one month later? Unless it starts raining now (mid August) and continues to rain until October the level of the lakes at Blessington will not increase by any significant amount. Will we then be faced with cancellation?

I feel that irreparable damage has been done. Over the years many hundreds, if not thousands, of paddlers have travelled from abroad to compete in the Liffey Descent. Many of these arranged their holidays to co-inside with the event, staying in Ireland for two weeks and more around the race date. Many of these involve families travelling with one or more competitiors. In most cases these bookings will have been made very early in the year. How easy is it for any such intending travellers to change their holiday and travel arrangements at such short notice?

The ICU statement is carefully worded to "cover all". Phrases such as "having taken into consideration as many factors as possible including, but not limited to ..." are designed to cover "all angles" but I wonder if those travelling competitors and their families were ever considered. I contend that it would have been better to run a "dry race" rather than lose the trust/confidence of those I refer to above. The Liffey Descent has an international reputation which should be protected. Postponing the race does not help.

BOB
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9/16/2011 10:41 AM
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Dear Liffey

If you havent see the pictures of Blessington lake I suugest you take a look - any reasonable perosn would realise that a severe shortage of water is the reason the event had to be postponed. However I really really doubt you are in fact a reasonable person, but nonetheless I will try reply to your queries in the hope that against my better judgement you do in fact want genuine answers to your queries.
As you know I have run the Lower Liffey for the last 4 or 5 years and the reason we can run it and not the Liffey is because of the ESB ability to hold water in Leixlip lake and then provide us with a small flood ( both smaller and muc shorter) than required for the Liffey Descent.
I must admit I saw small floods below Leixlip (at WWKC) for weeks before the Lower Liffey and asked the ESB to hold back the water but they couldnt for operational reasons - it makes you wonder alright but they obviously have their own operational requirements.
It appears once we enter October the ESB are permitted to hold lower levels in the late (presumably on the premise that the probability of rain in Oct Nov is much higher than Aug Sept. Thus they are more likely to release water for the event in October.
The decision to change the date was only taken after discussing and getting the agreement of the agent who has for DECADES organised the foregin paddlers (UK) and it was on his opinion better to have a Liffey with a flood in Oct than a dry Liffey. Also due to tough economic conditions in the UK the number of grroups who had already booked or shown intereste was greatly reduced (Before the date change annoiuncement). And due to the arrangement the UK agent has - they have full flexibilty to change bookings at no cost.
As for your last paragraph - our statement was not carefully worded - we are just volunteers with no other agenda than to run the race safely, enjoyably and successfully for all concerned.

PS The Liffey Descent always need volunteers to help out - are you available to help out - a little more work from some people and a little less moaning about decisions in the past might do more for the races reputation.

BOB


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