Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Anger as Tough Mudder race leave London park ‘looking like the Somme’

Locals in north London are upset after the Tough Mudder race left the city’s one of best-known parks looking like a “First World War battlefield”. The race has left grassland churned into sludge and nesting birds disturbed during the weekend obstacle course.

Tough Mudder describes itself as “the world’s best obstacle course and mud run” with races of 5km and 10km in the park and at other venues.

The race has been described as having a “cult-like following” among middle-class professionals who consider it more challenging than traditional marathons.

Furious with the damage, Haringey Council, which leased the park for the event, said that it would not be used for Tough Mudder races in future.

Mike Hakata, the deputy leader responsible for the environment, said: “Tough Mudder events have taken place successfully for four years now, enabling thousands of people young and old to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing, at the same time as raising significant funds for charitable causes.

“The impact of the event this year has caused several weeks’ worth of damage to the park and as a result we have had to rethink our approach.

“To prevent the risk of this [being repeated], we have decided that this event will not be held in Finsbury Park going forward.”

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary and MP for Tottenham, described the damage as “utterly appalling” having visited the park on Sunday.

“I have nothing against @Toughmudder but Finsbury Park is an inner city urban park and the damage done is an environmental disgrace,” he Tweeted.

“There are serious questions about how and why this licence was granted, enforced and policed.”

Some of the critics believed that the damage highlights the harm caused to public parks across the country as local authorities let them out for commercial events.

Some of the social media users compared the sea of mud in Finsbury Park with “the Somme”.

Tom Graham, co-chairman of the Friends of Finsbury Park, said 7,500 runners each day had taken part in the events at the weekend, the first Tough Mudder of 2023.

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He said the “considerable” damage covered most of the park, a feature of north London since 1869.

Tough Mudder said it had worked closely with Haringey Council.

It said: “Together, we recognise the damage to the park and the impact it has had on the surrounding community.

“We are working with all relevant stakeholders to restore and repair the damaged areas of the park.”

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