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Insurance Costs Sink Sack Race

February 12, 2007

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Is a sack race too dangerous for kids? A community in the United Kingdom certainly thinks so.

The organizers of a community festival in Hartlepool, Cleveland, have eliminated the sack race from its annual Friends of Ward Jackson Park festival because of concerns that any injuries resulting from the race would result in lawsuits by the injured children's parents.

In the past seven years, the sack race has been one of the festival's most popular events, some years attracting more than 2,000 contestants. No more. Insurance payments have taken over. The community must already pay 600 pounds ($1,182) in insurance for the event, and that doesn't include such active pursuits as the sack race and the three-legged dash.

Festival organizers say that they have been told that the amount of money required to purchase insurance for the festival if it included those "active" events would be double what it is already having to pay. The festival is a fund-raiser for local organizations, and paying that kind of money in insurance costs would leave little left over at the end of the day.

So this year, the children of Hartlepool will have to go without their beloved sack race, at least at the annual festival. Whether they conduct such sack races at birthday parties, church picnics, and other fun gatherings is up to them—and their parents.

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