Date
23 July 2017
Thousands of runners are packed like sardines at the starting line. An unidentified participant posted photos of her injuries on Facebook (inset). Photos: Nike Running Hong Kong/Facebook
Thousands of runners are packed like sardines at the starting line. An unidentified participant posted photos of her injuries on Facebook (inset). Photos: Nike Running Hong Kong/Facebook

Nike faces backlash from chaotic women’s race

Nike has been forced to apologize after a women’s race under its auspices came under fire for chaos and overcrowding.

Sixty-two runners in the NRC Women’s 10-Kilometer Race were treated for various injuries linked to overcrowding, Apple Daily reports.

The event was held in Sha Tin Science Park on Saturday with more than 5,400 starters, double last year’s attendance.

Hundreds of participants took to social media on Sunday to denounce race officials for sloppy organization.

They complained about safety hazards, especially on part of the route that was just three meters wide, inadequate support for the runners and lack of public facilities.

Nike, which co-organized the race with the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, apologized and promised improved facilities and more stringent crowd control in the future.

Organizers said 62 runners were injured or fell ill. Six were hospitalized.

A runner, surnamed Yip, described the chaos as “like walking in a Lunar New Year night market”.

“It was a good thing there was no stampede,” she said, adding the starting and finish lines were overrun with spectators.

Yip, an experienced runner, said she wobbled and almost fainted when she checked into the narrow finish line with hundreds of other runners. 

“No staff was around. I was helped to me feet by another participant,” one injured participant said.

Photos of injured runners have been trending on social media.

Netizens said Nike and the athletic federation should learn from the Hong Kong Marathon, Hong Kong’s oldest and biggest foot race.

Some participants threatened to boycott next year’s event unless the route design is improved and strict safety measures are in place.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

BT/AC/RA

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