MB runner ticketed; will athletes now run away from Grand Strand?

A Myrtle Beach man got a ticket last week for running on a road and he may have to pay a $150 fine. The citation has led local runners to wonder what effect the case will have on them and other runners who visit the area.

Brad Hafey, who got the ticket, told NewsChannel 15 it could hurt his case if he talked about it on camera. But he did tell us he was wearing reflective clothing when he was ticketed and had run the same route for 15 years without getting stopped.

Last week, Daniel Brass opened Black Dog Running Co., a Myrtle Beach store catering to runners. Brass is planning a group run next week for his grand opening, but he said he's had to rethink the route for that run, now that Hafey received a ticket for being a Pedestrian on the Highway.

"I could understand if somebody was running down the middle of a busy highway or it was causing a safety issue, but as far as a runner down the side of the road, I've never heard of that," Brass said.

Brass said the Grand Strand, with its many running events and push toward sports tourism, is gaining a reputation as being runner-friendly, but that could change.

"It could hurt the image of Myrtle Beach if somebody is visiting from another state and they come down for a run from their hotel and they get cited for a ticket," he said.

There is a sidewalk on Fantasy Harbour Blvd. and state code, Section 56-5-3160 states, "Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway."

But the president of the Grand Strand Running Club said there needs to be more biking and running lanes along area streets, because running on a sidewalk isn't always safe.

"The sidewalks are uneven, there's lots of cracks, there's holes, there's manhole covers and things like that, the sidewalks are uneven," said Richard Lanigan.

Lanigan said if there is a silver lining to Hafey's case, it's that it will help raise awareness that more runners are in the area now, with a local triathletes club, a running club and a biking club, and they need more room to run.