Night races have been banned by the city of McMinnville. Restrictions have been added for races the city will allow.
“I’ve made no bones about the night races,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “I do not like them. I think they are dangerous. I’ve lead them before and they’ve just really bothered me. In Bryan Denton’s perfect world, they can just go away. Most places are getting away from the night runs.”
His wish was granted. Safety Committee members Mike Neal, chair, Everett Brock and Ryle Chastain approved prohibiting night races.
Denton also suggest other restrictions that were unanimously approved.
Evening races are permitted but they must start no later than one hour and 30 minutes prior to sundown and event organizers must follow tighter restrictions on making sure runners can be visible. By the policy, “Evening runs will require participants to have an approved form of illumination on their person above the waist line, visible front and back. Runners who cross start/finish line without the required illumination will be disqualified. Run organizers are responsible for providing the approved illumination to all participants.”
All runs must be attached to other city-sponsored events in an effort to help make them more financially successful.
“People see fun runs as a fundraiser but in our experience, that’s not been the case,” said Denton. “It will cost them between $200 and $300 to get the insurance policy we require. There’ll be a great cause that comes up and someone will come to me about hosting a fun run in about six weeks. I’ll tell them you probably aren’t going to be successful with that just because it’s spur of the moment and you’ve never done one before. When it’s all over, they lose money and they’re upset.”
Fun runs that do not have the appropriate number of volunteers for the course on race day will be shut down.
“This has happened before with volunteers,” said Denton. “They just don’t show. So, at the last minute we’re coordinating with event organizers where best to place the volunteers they do have. That’s really not a good thing to do because we’re leaving places uncovered. I’ll admit, I’ve been a little lax in that area, but not anymore.”
The city has identified eight courses that fun run organizers to choose. Denton says some organizers will take it upon themselves to change the course at the last minute and that will no longer be tolerated.
“I get there and there’s an extra loop in it,” he said. “I understand why they do that, but it just creates problems for us. We set these up from a safety standpoint. I think we’ve bent over backward working with the organizers for these. Currently, we have eight courses we have set up. We started with four and we expanded to eight. We’ll have to get tougher. These are the courses, pick one and that’s how it’s going to be. No changes.”
The committee put a temporary ban on approving night races in August 2015 until safety concerns could be addressed.