Four-step plan announced by England Athletics
As we begin to ease out of Lockdown 3.0, England Athletics updates its advice and guidance to runners and coaches
The Prime Minister's four-step plan to ease us out of Lockdown 3.0 was announced on 22 February and the first significant changes affecting our sport are expected on Monday 29 March 2021, although any activities that are based in an educational setting, including afterschool clubs, can start as schools return in England from Monday (8 March).
Looking ahead towards the end of the month, running groups and clubs can start training together and outdoor facilities, such as running tracks, can reopen. At this point the 'Stay at Home' order will end, expected to be replaced by a 'Stay Local' instruction, which means that travelling a reasonable distance for coaching will once again be allowed.
England Athletics (EA) has summarised the forthcoming changes in a four-step roadmap, with the key dates identified, that explains how athletics and running training, and competition, will resume.
One key element is the distinction between formal organised outdoor running – that is to say any coached activity – and outdoor unorganised activity (non-coached). runABC's coach and reporter Alan Newman has confirmed with EA that in a COVID-secure environment with a coach:athlete ratio of 1:12, multiple groups can be coached as long as they stay apart. Non-coached activity will be restricted to the 'Rule of Six' outdoors that forms part of the national easing of restrictions from 29 March.
Many readers will be pleased to hear that they can meet informally in groups of not more than six for a run from 29 March, so get the date in the diary and get ready to enjoy some company on those sessions – safely and socially-distanced, of course.
Also announced by EA is that athletics (track and field) licensing reopens from 15 March, while road race organisers can apply for licences now, although the final details of what type of races will be permitted and when are still subject of detailed discussions with the government.
All of this is extremely positive news for every level of athletics and running, from unaffiliated beginners to club athletes and on to elite performers, while administrators, facility operators, competition providers, licencing bodies, and race promoters are working hard to facilitate the safe and progressive return to activity.
In a message on their website, EA thanks everyone involved in the sport: “for their continued support, patience and understanding whilst adhering to the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic”. EA added this important message: “The physical and mental health and wellbeing of all our members and their loved ones remain the priority throughout this challenging period, so it is vital everyone adheres to the UK Government’s national COVID-19 restrictions, thus ensuring its four-step roadmap can be achieved successfully”.
EA has also updated its FAQ to take the latest changes into account. Click here to read FAQs
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