Beverley Brook, Wimbledon Common

The race is on...?

“The race is on”, is not a phrase we have heard for quite a while around the draughty corridors at runABC South but perhaps the wind of change is finally on its way. The latest statement from England Athletics after the Government's partial relaxation of the lockdown in England on 10 May gives Wednesday, 1 July as the earliest possible date for any resumption of competition.

On Wednesday 13 May, the following statement was posted on the England Athletics website: “We are currently refining our guidance to our member clubs and registered athletes to take into account the government’s relaxation to restrictions which take effect today. There are many complex issues involved, including insurance, use of facilities and health & safety”.

Later the EA statement reads: “Our sport is currently suspended in formality through to the end of May with competition suspended until the end of June and we are keeping these dates in mind as we look to the future, always being guided by government directives in doing so”.

Clearly, this is far from giving a green light to any racing taking place in July and EA will be updating its guidance in due course: “ provide comprehensive advice with the safety and wellbeing of the athletics and wider community at its heart”.

Just in case Wednesday 1 July is on the cards, we dusted off the runABC South crystal ball to see which races might take place first. Of the six events listed, the Yateley 10K in Hampshire has been cancelled and Easy Runner Bitton 5K in Bristol has been postponed until the autumn.

This leaves four multi-terrain events still 'in the running'. Reigate Priory Summer Evening 10K is toying with the feasibility of a 'time-trial' event to enhance safety for competitors and this is due to start at 7:30pm. It could be that starting runners in smaller groups might comply with any restrictions that may be in force at the time – our crystal ball is working overtime here.

The race to be the first to start might be a dead heat between Good Run Guide's Wimbledon Trail Series 8-miler; Nice Work's Bedgebury Pinetum Summer 10K & 5K and AAT Events' Hard as Snails 15K, 10K & 5K at Shalford Park, near Guildford.

All the above are due to start at 7:00pm and all benefit from entirely off-road courses, with plenty of fresh air and space to exercise. But will any of them get the green light?

Take a look at runABC South's comprehensive race listing here for more crystal ball gazing!

Image of Beverley Brook, Wimbledon Common courtesy Good Run Guide

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