We have had a number of people come forward (both in and outside of the club) seeking clarity on the laws and rules surrounding our training nights and group runs, so we felt it a good idea to update everyone.
As you’re all no doubt aware, social gatherings of more than 6 people are currently banned in England. Within that there are some exemptions and organised sport is one them. That is the crux of the law as it stands.
The chain of command goes:
The Government > Sport England > England Athletics > Running Clubs & Event Organisers
We are taking our guidance from England Athletics and are operating in accordance with that. That can all be found here if anyone is struggling to sleep at night. We will continue to monitor the guidance and implement any changes as we receive them.
For us to be classified as ‘Organised Sport’ we must operate in what is termed a ‘Covid Secure Environment’. That is a bit of a red herring as the word ‘environment’ suggests a venue such as a gym or stadium where everything is sanitised and there are defined entry/exit procedures.
However, a ‘Covid Secure Environment’ can be anywhere and roads and parks are specifically named in the guidance. What ‘Covid Secure’ really means is that:
A covid coordinator is in place providing oversight to the activities
We develop a covid action plan and risk assessments
Everyone attending completes a pre activity health questionnaire (to confirm no symptoms) and we keep those details for 21 days for track and trace.
Coaches and leaders ensure everyone maintains good hygiene standards.
All of the requirements above have been met by the club and we’ve worked extremely hard and meticulously with all of our officers and run leaders who are all happy to operate under those conditions. We must ensure we can all maintain a social distance of course, but we feel that is achievable on public footpaths. Beyond that, we currently have no limits placed on us in terms of group size from a Covid perspective.
Our only group size limits are a 12:1 ratio of athletes to leaders which is a non covid, generic health and safety rule. As we have two leaders within every group, we can operate with 24 runners.
As a club committee, we have taken an overriding view that (provided we are operating within the law) the benefits of returning to group training outweigh the negatives and the risk of transmission is low enough that we are comfortable offering that provision. To some of our members, group activity and exercise is a vital release and we have a duty to consider that.
Of course, we appreciate that people have opinions and that they may differ from ours. That is fine and we will never think bad of anyone who does not agree with us or offers us feedback provided it is done in a way that is respectful. We are all grown-ups and, more importantly, friends and we can disagree and remain such. These are crazy times and we must all help each other along.
It is up to individual members to make a considered choice as to whether they are comfortable taking up our training offer. Some of you may be shielding for a particular reason or consider yourselves vulnerable and those people have our total support as a community. We would encourage you to seek out our smaller group offerings and draw upon the fantastic community we have at DRC to find company and training partners with which you are happy sharing some miles. Our door is always open to anyone who wants to discuss the above or has any concerns or queries.