ORGANISERS of the Woodcote 10km are taking steps to avoid a repeat of the friction between villagers and runners seen at this year’s event.
Pangbourne Rotary Club, which has taken over the event from Goring and Woodcote’s defunct Lions Club, says the race could be rescheduled to take place when roads are less busy.
More than 400 people took part in the 33rd annual race, which was held on the morning of Sunday, January 10.
The runners started at the village hall in Reading Road and ran along streets and footpaths while marshals stopped and diverted drivers.
This prompted complaints from residents, several of whom were trying to get to the service at Christ the King Church in South Stoke Road.
One driver ignored the marshals and continued along Reading Road, sparking altercations with runners as he weaved around them.
James Lauder, of Exlade Street, Checkendon, was among the complainants.
He said: “When making a routine journey on a familiar route, it is rather disconcerting to be stopped by a complete stranger and told the road is closed.
“I will obey a uniformed police officer without hesitation but a stranger in a yellow jacket will, I am afraid, get less willing co-operation.”
Rotarian Dick Hoskins said the club and the Catholic church would discuss changing their timings in order to avoid a clash, as used to happen previously.
He said: “I would say that this year’s event was a success marred only by one incident.
“In all fairness, if I was going to church I wouldn’t particularly appreciate having to wait for some runners to pass.
“We realise there was a problem and hope it can be resolved.
“We want to continue, although it’s very much dependent on the parish council, who speak for the people of Woodcote.
“We don’t want to impose something that’s not wanted but I would point out that many surrounding villages have a 10km race. It is far from unusual.”
Mr Hoskins added that the village had been “festooned” with signs warning drivers about the race in advance.
He said he would seek permission for next year’s race from the parish council, which owns the village hall and green.
This year’s event raised £4,750 for various charities.