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Stay safe in 2020

It's more Tiers for London, the South & East of England

England Athletics amends its guidance for athletes and coaches as new Tier 4 measures are introduced

New advice has been issued by England Athletics and all race permits have been withdrawn in large areas of the south following the Government's latest announcements and tightening of control measures as the persistent coronavirus causes a fresh spike in COVID-19 infections.

Following the introduction of the new Tier 4: Stay at Home guidance by the Government on Saturday 19 December – effective from Sunday 20 December – the governing body for athletics and running has acted swiftly to implement the new instructions.

The new Tier 4 restrictions apply to 16.4 million people in England. The whole of London, Hertfordshire, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, most of Surrey, and much of Essex are elevated to the highest alert status. Also specifically included are Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, and the south coast areas of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings. These areas will be constantly reviewed and are likely to be extended.

The most important changes for runners to be aware of are that in the new Tier 4 areas, despite the overarching stay at home guidance, we can still take 'unlimited' exercise alone or in a public outdoor place with our household, support bubble, or one other person.

All organised outdoor and indoor sport for over-18s is not permitted under Tier 4 restrictions. This means there will be no races, training sessions or group runs until an area is moved back down to a lower tier. Naturally, this created a logistical nightmare for race organisers, athletic clubs and running groups as events and activities were cancelled overnight. 

Among the events cancelled on Sunday 20 December were Run Through's On London Half Marathon and Wimbledon Christmas 10K/5K; Nice Work's Kent Christmas Cracker and Saxons, Vikings and Norman's Usual Suspects Challenge at Gravesend Cyclopark.

In the case of the latter event, a special medal had been cast with all the competitors' names embossed – the 'usual suspects' – but this can still be earned virtually and as the organisers said on their Facebook page: “Really not how we wanted to end the running season 2020. The reality being that when the rules change at a few hours notice then things are serious...be safe, see you all in 2021”. 

The full Government guidance for Tier 4 areas is available here

The latest advice from England Athletics is here

Image: Sylwia Bartel on Unsplash

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