Be seen but don't herd...
Running etiquette advice during the pandemic from runABC coach Alan Newman
As we begin to pass through the eye of the storm of the all-pervading Omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic that has dominated our lives for two years, we can review our advice in April 2020 from resident coach/athlete/reporter Alan Newman – much of which is relevant today.
Despite eye-watering infection rates that currently average over 145,000 cases daily in the UK (over seven days) there are early signs that the peak is in sight and the Government has stuck to its Plan B restrictions, even easing some travel restrictions from next week, which will be good news for anyone planning to compete abroad in 2022.
The daily media reporting of harrowing statistics has added to the sense of fear experienced by some people and runners must be aware of the impact their presence can have, particularly when training in larger groups. England Athletics has not been required to update its coronavirus instructions following any revised Government COVID-19 guidance, although there are different situations in the devolved administrations for Scotland and Wales.
In his April 2020 advice, Alan listed his top five tips for acceptable running etiquette during the lockdown, when we were permitted to take: "one form of exercise a day...alone or with members of our household". Remember those severe restrictions? Things have considerably eased thanks to the brilliant vaccines that were developed and rolled out at a phenomenal pace and, it seems, due to a weakening in the severity of the most recent variant of COVID-19.
Alan recommends taking a refresher course on those tips and adds the following update:
Be seen but don't herd...
We have heard a lot about herd immunity, or hybrid immunity as the combination of both vaccination efficacy and natural immunity through COVID-19 infection is called. With no new coronavirus guidance necessary from England Athletics, runners can still train as normal in unlimited numbers. However, while there is still a highly transmissible virus around and understandable concerns among the public, we should train mindfully.
Alan's recommendations are to wear bright, preferably reflective, clothing and/or use torches at night to give adequate warning of our presence; avoid running in large groups that could be seen as threatening the public's safety, and keep noise to a minimum. We all love a shout of encouragement but maybe now is not the time to be scaring our fellow pedestrians!
So there we have it. runABCers everywhere are asked to be mindful and kind to themselves, each other, and the public in general and we will soon be enjoying travelling, training, racing, and life pretty much as it was before our microscopic enemy gripped the nation with fear.
Image by Markus Winkler on Unsplash