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February 1, 2013

On the Run: Are runners a menace to society?

Of course runners aren’t a menace to society, but sometimes it can sure seem that way, especially when it comes to attitudes toward runners on the road. Which is why it’s a great thing indeed when cooler heads prevail.

A few weeks ago, running was on the agenda at a meeting of the Danvers Board of Selectmen. Specifically, the selectmen discussed complaints they said they had received about the Danvers 5K Fun Run (D5K). The D5K isn’t a race but rather an informal group of about 40 runners that heads out every Wednesday evening for a 3.1-mile run.

Now in its fifth year, the D5K has been happily congregating under the radar to run in the sun, rain or snow on the same route through Danvers. But town selectmen called D5K organizer Adam Prentiss in to raise safety concerns about the D5K runners, who they say sometimes run two or three abreast through already crowded streets and busy intersections. In addition, the board asked the runners to wear more reflective gear so drivers could better see them on the road.

As a result, Prentiss posted on the D5K website (www.danvers5k.com) that the group would institute some immediate changes designed to address the concerns raised by the town. The start of the run on Pine Street near McKinnon’s involves runners going through the busy intersection of Pine and Holten, so D5K runners are asked to exercise caution and cross the street in the least disruptive way possible. All runners must wear reflective gear that drivers can see from the front and back. And runners should use common sense when running on crowded streets and not run two abreast so as not to hold up traffic; when on wider, less crowded roads, running side by side is acceptable.

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