NO BRIBES will be accepted from runners looking to shorten their race time in the Great Limerick Run, the organisers have warned.
Director of the race, John Cleary, said each year up to 40 people approach him asking if he can access the online system of running times and change their result.
Mr Cleary said he has been offered money to change a person’s running time, but it has not been “a substantial sum”.
“We seem to have about 30 to 40 requests every year to change a person’s time, but obviously we’ve never done this.
“It could be because there’s a bet on in a workplace, or there’s competition between a husband and wife, or friends who have been running together for a while, and one of them wants to do that little bit better than the other,” he explained.
He continued: “That’s 100% true. I can guarantee it will happen again this year. Some people start off by ringing up and saying ‘There must be something wrong with my running chip. I was definitely going faster than that.’ Then at times we have gone through the records and thousands of photos at the finishing line, and we say to people ‘Well, there’s a clock over your head in this picture and it has the same time’. Then they tell you the real reason,” he said, with a laugh.
In most cases, he said people offer to “buy you a pint”, rather than offering cash.
“It is funny. Most of the people who come forward I wouldn’t know at all. For a lot of people it’s just a but tongue in cheek, and usually they just want to make their time a little bit faster. Though we had one man who rang up asking about his time, and he didn’t finish the race at all, which we found out after going through thousands of pictures,” he said.
Over 4,000 people have now entered the Great Limerick Run on Sunday, May 6, with a maximum of 8,000 people expected to take part in the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Mr Cleary said the organising team and An Garda Siochana will also be clamping down on people who enter the race without paying to do so and wrongly pass the finishing line to claim a medal.
“We have never tried to stop it before, but this year we will be taking people off the road. This is an issue with every race and hundreds of people do it. Unfortunately we have to remove them from the race.
“The message we want to send out is that anyone trying to run without a number will be removed from the course. People say to themselves ‘I’ll run it, get a medal and not pay for it’, but other people then lose out on their medal at the finishing line. We have lots of photos of people crossing the finishing line with no race numbers,” he said.
Mr Cleary said last year 1,500 people signed up for the race at the Expo in the days leading up to the race, but warned people to enter early to avoid disappointment as the race has been capped at 8,000 people this year. There has been huge interest, he said, in a new addition to the third annual walk - a walkers’ marathon.