St Albans pancake racer tries to clear his name after national media attacks

PUBLISHED: 19:01 27 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:56 06 May 2010

A PANCAKE Day racer has flipped after quotes attributed to him appeared in several national newspapers last week over a running ban on race day. David Emery, 34, and the rest of his Hertfordshire NHS Partnership Trust team were disqualified from the race

A PANCAKE Day racer has flipped after quotes attributed to him appeared in several national newspapers last week over a running ban on race day.

David Emery, 34, and the rest of his Hertfordshire NHS Partnership Trust team were disqualified from the race on Shrove Tuesday because he ran over the finishing line instead of sticking to the new walking rule, which was imposed by St Albans District Council in light of the rain and slippery conditions.

David said that he was approached by a man at the end of the race who asked him whether he thought the running ban, which saw several teams disqualified, was health and safety "gone mad".

David, who replied that he thought it was "a bit funny", was consequently quoted in several national newspapers last week including The Daily Mail which said he was "mad" about it, The Daily Telegraph which said he "poured scorn" and The Mirror which reported his "groans" about the running ban.

David, who lives in Hertford, said that he was shocked by the response: "I think my reply to that man was taken way out of context and it bore no reflection on what the atmosphere was like at all. It was a positive event that was unfortunately turned into a negative one by certain national newspapers."

He added: "As a result of this misrepresentation, I have been quoted on Conservative Party blogs, GMTV and even a Californian newspaper, which according to a friend has apparently run a story on how health and safety regulations are ruining the Western world!"

David is one of many Pancake Day racers who have criticised the national newspaper response to the running ban, including winners on the day Strutt & Parker, who said that the ban "did not detract from the mood of the day at all".

Last week, St Albans council's head of culture and community development Richard Shwe explained that the ban was imposed "to take account of the weather conditions" and that there was only some "playful and friendly banter" from the crowd when the rule change was announced and not the booing that some newspapers suggested.


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