We’re so disappointed (as we know you all are) that we had to cancel The Dramathon 2023, and especially at such short notice. Apologies.

Thanks for your understanding in bearing with us whilst we sorted out the next steps. This message outlines your options, and needs a response using the link we sent to you via email before 21st November 2023 please.

We also feel we owe you some more details, and an explanation of both what happened, and the implications for The Dramathon…

We were well aware of the weather forecasts and weather warnings in the days before the event. In particular we were closely watching the situation in Angus and Tayside. It’s important to note that the Red Weather Warning applied to this specific area, and not the event location (c. 60km separated us). Areas outside the Red Zone were not subject to ‘do not travel’ advice.

The forecast for the race itself was acceptable. Wet and windy for sure, but not exceptionally so. This forecast remained static through the week. There were no weather or flood warnings at all in place for the race location, including on race day itself.

We knew that there were many people already in the area as either visitors, or local people that would have been very disappointed if we’d cancelled early, or cancelled despite the race area forecasts looking OK. Nearly 800 of you turned up for registration on the Friday afternoon.

At this stage there was no indication or reason for cancelling. Our role is to make events happen (safely) – the very last thing we want to do is cancel.

This changed when we received a call from Police Scotland around 4pm on Friday where they advised us to pull the race. They suggested that SEPA might be issuing a flood warning for the Aberlour/Craigellachie area at some point overnight – it was all a bit vague at this point. There was a concern that Police Scotland would not have the resources to respond to an incident at The Dramathon.

At 5:33pm, SEPA did indeed issue a wholly unexpected flood warning for our part of the Spey Valley. There was no decision to be made on our part – we had no choice but to cancel the race. As far as we’re aware, the river did not actually break its’ banks, but that’s not relevant – the SEPA warning was enough to mean we could not proceed.  We could not run a contingency course (or any event at all) due to the Police Scotland advice and their concerns about resources.

Cancelling an event at that very late stage has huge implications all round. Many of you had travelled already or were on your way.

From a Dramathon financial perspective, it’s pretty serious. Many of the costs associated with the 2023 event had already been incurred and there is no possibility of retrieving or avoiding them. This amounts to several tens of thousands. The Dramathon is not a huge corporation. It’s essentially 3 people (Jon, Ian and Paul) supported by a team of contractors and suppliers. Recovering from this will be a difficult and drawn-out process. We’re going to need support.


What are your options?

Before deciding on whether or not the event can go ahead in the coming years we need some data from you.

You can request a full refund for your entry (less Entry Central fees). Although our T&Cs only offer deferrals you are entitled to ask for a refund and we respect that.

You can defer your entry to the 2023 event so your entry will be rolled over to 2024.

You can choose to waive your deferred entry and thus your entry fee will help The Dramathon recover from this situation. This means you will be crowd-funding the race and to thank you we will offer priority entry to all future editions of The Dramathon Speyside event for anyone choosing this option. Details will be sent via email prior to the event opening for entries to the general public. Clearly this is our preferred option and when we get back on our feet we will find other ways to thank you.

If you live in the Angus/Tayside ‘Red Zone’ and had taken out the Booking Protect insurance, you may be able to claim on this for a refund due to disrupted travel.

For clarity, we would like to avoid direct refunds.  Should the event cease to exist it would obviously be a blow for us personally but would also have a negative impact on the local community that really benefits from an influx of visitors over the event weekend.

Please complete the form we emailed you before 21st November 2023.  After this deadline we will have to withdraw the offer of a deferral or refund and it will be assumed that you have chosen to waive your entry fee.

Assuming that we can go ahead financially speaking, the date for the 2024 race will be 19 October 2024.

We have a few questions that have been asked several times. Here are the answers:

Why did you leave it so late to cancel the event?

We don’t see it quite like that. We were watching the forecasts and warnings closely, and there was nothing alarming that would have caused us to cancel until the SEPA flood warning at 5:33pm on the Friday. We’re not in the business of cancelling stuff unnecessarily – we’re here to make things happen (up to the point where it’s not safe to proceed – the SEPA warning took us over that line even though the river did not actually breach). We did in fact offer anyone living in the ‘red areas’ a deferral even before we had to cancel.

Surely you can just claim off your event insurance?

The reality is that most events do not have cancellation insurance cover, including Dramathon. The reason for this is the cost of obtaining cover. Having cover would add c. £5 to each entry, and we judged (as most organisers do) that the benefits don’t outweigh the costs. Normally.

We’d like to thank a number of people for their amazing support over the last difficult few days: Our sponsors at Glenfarclas, Glenfiiddich, Arran Distillery, Glen Moray, Tamdhu, Chichibu, Cardhu, Cragganmore, The Highlander Inn, Whisky Auctioneer, Balvennie, Ballindalloch, Monkey Shoulder, The British Legion, and our amazing team of marshals, staff and contractors who have done all they could to try and help this event to go ahead.

Jon, Ian & Paul