The Marathon Racing Committee would like to reassure the marathon racing community that next Sunday’s Hasler Final and upcoming races will take place as planned, following the withdrawal of the Hasler Race Management (HRM) system.
The HRM system has been developed over many years mainly through volunteer help, and combines both programming expertise in software, and the efforts of many people who have compiled the rules and data. It was developed independently of British Canoeing head office, through volunteer effort. We have always been hugely grateful for the expert and regular software development work undertaken, for which the MRC has proactively asked to pay during development periods, and provided the modest sums requested.
There has been no dispute between the software developer and the MRC, and there remains great gratitude, but we were informed late last week that access to the software would be withdrawn within a month due to separate and unassociated concerns around a British Canoeing safeguarding enquiry. Whilst it may be difficult to define who owns what, there was brief discussion around potential purchase of Intellectual Property in the code of the system. The software developer has however decided to request we stop using it with immediate effect.
The MRC has had no previous involvement with the safeguarding case or the decisions delivered by the BC panel; nor were we offered the chance to provide any information or involvement. We greatly regret now being used as a lever against it. Whatever we may feel as individuals, as an elected committee representing marathon within our sport, it would not be proper for us to seek to alter what was an independent process. Nevertheless you can be assured that we will do what we can to minimise the damage done to our sport and community, as if we focus on this, nothing is irreconcilable.
Furthermore the MRC are very aware that there has been suggestion that marathon is not, or has not been supported by BC. Support in recent times has increased hugely and there are frank and trusted relationships with those at a high level within BC. Whilst Friday’s negotiations were by the MRC on behalf the marathon community, BC have been kept fully informed and have been very supportive throughout. Marathon is considered by British Canoeing to be a highly important discipline to the sport as a whole.
The MRC is working very hard behind the scenes to ensure the continued delivery of a race management system with minimal disruption. We expect to be in a position to be able to assist race organisers during the coming months to operate just as effectively, although it is accepted that this may require some additional volunteer time and possible teething problems, as new solutions are developed.
Stan Missen (Chair) and James Smythe (Secretary) on behalf of the MRC.