Portsmouth Pretty Muddy runners told - you can’t use the park-and-ride if you’re dirty

Competitors in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy event Picture: Lee Hellwing
Competitors in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy event Picture: Lee Hellwing

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CANCER charity runners taking part in a muddy obstacle course on Southsea Common have been told – you can’t get the bus home if you’re too dirty.

Fundraisers gearing up for Race for Life’s Portsmouth Pretty Muddy 5k have been told by park-and-ride bosses they won’t be allowed a ride back to the Tipner transport hub if they’re covered in mud.

We want the day to be fun and don’t want someone to have to bring down the mood. It’s a muddy event; no-one is going to be squeaky clean.

Gayle Samson

Operator First Bus says it will be down to individual drivers to decide whether to allow runners on after the Cancer Research event – and participants are being urged to bring a change of clothes so they are not left in the lurch.

But runners are disgusted that strict rules are being imposed.

Gayle Samson, 43, of Stamshaw, is due to take part with eight other runners.

She found out about the park-and-ride rules after one of the group called up to check when buses would be running from the common.

Gayle, whose team have raised £650 taking part in the event, said: ‘I was shocked, because this is about raising money for a cancer charity.

‘There will be people coming from afar to raise money and they will need transport.

‘I don’t understand why the bus company can’t keep at least one bus aside for the runners. There’s no compromise.

‘It’s terrible. The bus drivers will just say no. We don’t want to try and get on to a bus and cause a dispute.

‘We want the day to be fun and don’t want someone to have to bring down the mood. It’s a muddy event – no-one is going to be squeaky clean.

‘We have gone to a lot of effort to raise money.’

Organisers say that runners will be able to keep bags with spare clothes in a lorry near the course.

A Race for Life spokeswoman said: ‘We encourage people to bring a change of clothes – you will get muddy and wet. There will be toilets on site where people can get changed.

‘We just want people to have a great time.’

A First Bus spokeswoman confirmed drivers would be using their ‘discretion’ to decide who will be allowed on, saying muddy passengers could potentially cause buses to be put out service to be cleaned.

Despite the message, the city council is encouraging people to use the park-and-ride.

Alan Cufley, the council’s director for transport, said: ‘We want to encourage as many people as possible to use park-and-ride.

‘Our frequent services take people directly to the city centre and The Hard Interchange, which is home to the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.

‘People taking part in Race for Life events this weekend should be aware that it will take about 25 minutes to walk to the start line for this event.

‘There are plenty of pay-and-display parking spaces at the seafront which will be much more convenient.’

Parking will not be available on Southsea Common and people are being advised to park in Southsea or in the city centre car parks.