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The Road Takes its Toll

Last Minute Changes to Bali Half Marathon Changes Location, Shortens Routes and Disappoints Many. Debate Ensues Between Organizers and Toll Operators.

(11/17/2013) The Bali International Highway Half-Marathon originally scheduled to take place on Bali’s new Mandala Toll Road on Sunday night, November 17, 2013. was removed at the last minute from the elevated highway, shortened to 16-kilometers and moved to a new location largely within the Nusa Dua Complex.

The State News Agency Antara reports that the change of venue and route for the race took place one day before the race when the organizers were unable to obtain the required recommendation from the toll road’s operators.

Andreas Kansil, representing the organizing committee of the “International Highway Half-Marathon,” told the press on the morning of the race, “We originally planned to hold the race on the Bali Mandara Toll Road, but as the race date neared there was no confirmation given allowing us to use the road compelling us to change the route.”

A Case of Implied Consent?

He said the organizers were originally emboldened to announce the marathon on the toll road based on written and verbal conversations held with PT Jasa Marga Bali Tol.

“Because on the evening of the event there was no final confirmation from the toll roads management, we were forced to change the route to be run by thousands of participants,” explained Kansil.

He explained that the running route would still see the “start” and “finish” take place in front of the BTDC Peninsula, but the new route would now head toward the Geger Temple and surrounding area.

Although Kansil told Antara that the distances would be unchanged, the half-marathon was, in fact, shortened to just 16-kilometers.

Andreas admitted that the change of route and terrain would also have an effect on the winning finishing times for the race.

From an original 13,000 participants orignally targeted on the event's Facebook Page and 3,000 projected on the event's official website, organizers reported approximately only 1,000 had signed up for the race in the remaining days before the event.

While the committe was offering full refunds to those disappointed with the last-minute changes in the race, it is not clear how many took up that option or if any of the elite international athletes withdrew from the race.

Among the world caliber runners expected to appear were Kenyans Mike Keter and Joseph Dennis and Ethiopian Willy Tani.

Toll Operators Responds

Meanwhile, Jaringnews.com carried a strong rebuttal from PT Jasa Marga Bali Tol who claims they never received a formal request to use the road from the organizers.

Drajad Hari Suseno, spokesman for the Toll Road told Jaringnews.com by telephone on the day of the race: “There was none (application). If I am not wrong, the marathon was not there (the toll road). We were asked a couple of times about this, but I don’t understand. There’s no committee or anything on the toll road. I was not involved. It’s strange."

Responding to claims that a series of written and verbal communications had taken place between the race organizers and Jasa Marga Bali Tol, Drajad commented: “Don’t let us (the toll operators) be accused of being in the wrong. Also let’s not over-dramatize this depicting the toll road as cancelling the event. This is just not the case. Did the organizers obtain the necessary permit from the Minister of Public Works?”

Drajad explained that a temporary closure of the toll road could take place for a number of reasons, including emergencies or a state of war. He said the toll road could be use for other purposes, such as the marathon, if there is permission from the Minister of Public Works in accordance with Law No. 38 of 2009. He underlined that PT Jasa Marga Bali Tol does not have the authority to close the road on its own initiative.

Antara reported that comments collected from participants at the race venue suggested the "organizers were ineffective," giving the impression that the execution of the night marathon was being done under some pressure.

The Bali International Highway Half-Marathon was endorsed by the recently formed Bali Tourism Promotion Board and presented at the first official BaliSporti Event.

Among the companies sponsoring the abbreviated race Garuda Indonesia, BIZNET Networks, WIR Global Beachwalk and 3V Fitness.