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Line up (virtually) alongside England's finest

Championship medals will be awarded in national 5K race

With no entry standards and free entry, there is a wonderful opportunity for many runners to gain their first experience of national competition this weekend. The England Athletics Virtual 5K Championships takes place between 11-13 July and is open exclusively to runners who are registered with England Athletics via an affiliated club.

To rub shoulders (virtually) with the elite, runners must sign up using the OpenTrack virtual running platform and will then be required to evidence their run post-race using GPS data. England Athletics and OpenTrack have created new rules for the Championships to help make racing as fair as possible.

Among those playing field levelling rules are: no more than three complete laps (no track runs); no more than 10m elevation loss; no digital manipulation of GPS data and officials may impose time penalties or disqualification of any runs with 'significant unfair advantage'.

This technical oversight means that meaningful awards can be made and – in a major change from the standard format – will be extended to multiple age-groups from under-17 to 90-plus! As well as full Championship medals for the top three men and women overall, there will be 16 age-category gold medals plus a club team competition based on cumulative times. 

Participants must complete their runs between 00:01 Saturday 11 July and 11:59 (am) Monday 13 July. Evidence of the run must then be uploaded by 23:59 Monday 13 July, with official results announced after validation on Tuesday 14 July. runABC will be taking a close interest and reporting on this significant event next week. 

With the original 5K Championships cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, England Athletics has provided a worthy virtual substitute for 2020, to enable runners nationwide to compete at a time when so many road race events are on hold.

The defending 2019 champions, on a sunny May evening at Ipswich quayside, were pre-race favourites Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers, 13:34) and Laura Weightman (Morpeth Harriers, 15:22). Leeds City dominated both gender team races and there were 606 finishers in 49:17.  

Full race information is available at England Athletics here

Entry can be be made now at OpenTrack via this link

Image courtesy Pixabay

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