We are delighted that events have been able to return in these difficult times of COVID-19. This page is designed to help you to understand what we have put in place to make the events safe.
In March 2020, events were suspended in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. As the situation started to improve we began to look at what events might look like once we were able to return.
We began a process reviewing every aspect of our events, and put together a whole series of protocols and procedures to make things safe. As part of this we worked with England Athletics and runbritain, the Governing Bodies for the sport, and in turn Sport England. The protocols and procedures were collated and submitted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for sign off in July 2020. These were approved by the Government, which paved the way for participation sport to return, including running events.
We resumed events from August 2020, until the end of the year (except during lockdown 2.0 in November 2020, when events were suspended again). The UK Government gave the go ahead for running events in England to start from 29th March. This was included in Step 1 on the roadmap following the third national lockdown. These regulations were reviewed by all the statutory bodies to esnure they were still fit for purpose.
The following measures, procedures and protocols are those which have resulted directly from the approved documents.
Every event we have in our portfolio has been re-assessed. This includes every step of your journey with us from arrival at the event, to your passage through the event site, your run with us and what happens afterwards. The key points are as follows:
- A reduction in the overall capacity of each event - less runners!
- Fewer contact points throughout the event
- Increased and enhanced hygiene procedures for all event infrastructure and supplies
- Adjustments made to routes where necessary and the event site to allow for social distancing
- Queuing system implemented at the event sites
- Our staff and all marshals will be wearing face masks
- The requirement for you to wear a face mask in the event villages, but not whilst running
- The removal of water stations in events of 10 miles and under
- No bag drops are allowed due to the contact issues with handling bags
This is the number of times we interact directly with you and vice-versa. When you arrive at an event you will queue (socially distanced) to pick up your race pack. Inside this will be your timing chip, bib number, safety pins, cable ties and your medal. This means one contact for everything. You have to collect your pack in person with photo identification. This photo identification is required to comply with track and trace requirements.
Your timing chip is still removed at the end of your race in a socially distance area and sanitised.
This means only two direct contacts for the event. Therefore reducing the risk for all and making it safe.
With our waved, rolling starts, which are also staggered, we have immediately created a distance between runners. At the start of each wave, there is not hold sequence, you just walk through the start funnel when called forward and start running when you reach the timing mat - hence our term "rolling start". By ordering the waves by predicted finishing times (collected during registration), we have also reduced the number of times each runner would need to overtake another person. The feedback from the events has been really positive about this experience, with many telling us that it made them feel safe, but also that it still felt like a race.
To see this for yourself, have a look at the video below:
The number of runners we are taking at each event has also been reduced, therefore meaning less people on the route in total.
We have also introduced a rule of keeping left unless overtaking and if overtaking to think about a 2 metre bubble around the person - in front, to the side and behind. Just a bit of courtesy in reality. On some of the courses where there is a narrow spot, we have also introduced "no overtaking" zones, where overtaking is not permitted. These are short sections where you just need to wait before overtaking another runner. These are clearly signed and marshalled.
On ear or in ear headphones are not permitted so that no runners or marshals need to shout to get someone's attention. The only exception to this is bone conducting headphones which are permitted.
The finish is similar to normal. You can still sprint like Usain Bolt for the line and maybe grab a cheeky place or two! Once across the line we will keep you moving along. The finish funnel is much longer than normal to avoid any distancing issues. We remove your timing chip for santisation and it is all complete. At present we encourage you to move away from the Event Village and to meet friends and family away from the finish area. You will already have got your medal - a key part of any event. If you are speedy enough to have won a prize, these will be posted out to you after the event.
In the latest publication of protocols and procedures, published on 22nd March 2021, travel was permitted to training and competitions. This should be treated with a good amount of common sense too. Clearly travelling hours away for an event would not be appropriate.
At present from 12th April, the roadmap also allows for overnight stays in self-contained accommodation e.g. AirBnB, self catering and similar. From 17th May, hotels are also due to reopen.
In summary the events are now safe for you take part and enjoy running with us again. We have left no stone unturned in making everything as positive and enjoyable for you, but also looking after all the important COVID precautions.
Importantly, you can once again pick up your running bling and celebrate (at a distance) with us and your fellow runners and Sporting Buddies!
It's great to be back with you. So do come and join us - pick an event from the list at www.sportingeventsuk.com/enterevent and go for it!