Race start courtesy Pixabay

Bang! And we're up and running again – 5

As grassroots sport resumes after Lockdown 3.0, England Athletics takes the brakes off training and racing for runners

Who would have thought a year ago that our series of guidance notes on the resumption of group training and competition would have run to Bang – 5; the fifth iteration of our summary of England Athletics and RunBritain's return to athletics and running advice for athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and race organisers.

In accordance with PM Boris Johnson's announcement of the UK Government's: “roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions” in England, formally organised sports can resume from today (Monday 29 March) and outdoor sports facilities, including athletics tracks, can reopen. 

There has been extensive discussion with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Sport England to arrive at the launch pad for resuming sport in general and running in particular. 

This will be music to the ears of many hard-pressed race organisers after the race licence application process had resumed on 15 March. Following an uncertain period, we now know the Easter road and multi-terrain race programme can proceed as planned. 

A key change is that the national gathering limits will not apply to organised sports when they resume. The full text in the Government's roadmap reads: “Formally organised outdoor sports – for adults and under 18s – can also restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies”. This means there will be no numerical limits imposed on running groups and athletics clubs for training, however informal (non-coached) running activity will still have to adhere to the rule of six.       

Despite these new freedoms, it is anticipated that event organisers will again adopt a similarly cautious approach and we can expect social-distancing and enhanced hygiene measures to be part of the road and multi-terrain race landscape for the foreseeable future.

One of the first of the larger organisers to comment was Nice Work who posted on Facebook: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce that races have been given the green light to proceed from the 29th March. They will be held under our tried and tested Covid-safety measures that you saw in operation between August and October last year. We are so excited to bring you this news. It feels like a very long time since we have seen you. We are grateful to you all for sticking in there with us and the team is looking forward to getting back to a real-life start line!”  

So, it's time for a huge sigh of relief and to leisurely peruse the many exciting opportunities in runABC's comprehensive race listing 

Let's just hope there will never be a need for a 'Bang – 6' story!      

Image: Race start by Tim Tersluisen on Pixabay

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